After what turned out to be a decent ODI series, Ireland conclude their tour of the Caribbean with three T20 matches against West Indies, the first of which comes in Grenada on Wednesday evening, with both sides continuing their World T20 preparations.
These two teams could easily end up facing each other if Ireland come through the opening stage. West Indies will head down under as the defending champions and will look to put up a good showing so this feels like a key series.
This format was tailor made for West Indies. Their batsmen don’t need to worry about pacing an innings and moving through the gears with the emphasis on making sure they use the full 50 overs. Instead they can pin their ears back and let the ball fly and that is exactly what they were made to do. They can also steam in with the ball knowing they only have to bowl four overs so it is not hard to see why they are the world champions.
There are occasions when it can go spectacularly wrong for West Indies, but in the main they are a tough side to beat. The other reason why they are so hard to beat in this format of the game is because they utilise the mystery bowling options they have open to them. That isn’t the case in all formats. When it comes together they can be special but they are not in the best form in T20 cricket. Since the start of 2019 they have lost 10 out of 12 matches.
The Irish don’t get to mix it too much with the big boys in this format of the game so they will be relishing the chance to get stuck into the West Indies, but at the same time there will be an air of caution about them because they know the size of the task they are up against. At times in the ODI series though, they were extremely competitive, especially with the ball in hand, so they shouldn’t give up all hope just yet.
It goes without saying that if Ireland are going to be competitive in any of the matches in this series, or even potentially pinch one or two of them, then they are going to have to score runs and do it better than they did in the ODIs. They are going to get outhit in this series but there are more than one way to skin a cat so they will need to box clever and try and inflict some kind of scoreboard pressure on their hosts.
The big news for West Indies fans for this series is that Dwayne Bravo is set to return to international cricket in this match. Keemo Paul will miss out through injury while Jason Holder continues to be rested so there is a chance for Rovman Powell.
Ireland are unlikely to differ too much from the side they used for the opening two ODIs although it could be that they adopt a different batting line up in this format of the game. We might see them adopt a pinch hitter too.
I’m going to see how the series starts off before I get majorly involved in proceedings. I expect West Indies to dominate events but I’d like to see just how competitive or otherwise the Irish are before I get stuck into the fancier bets. I want to see whether their batsmen can deliver the goods in particular but until then I will go with the one bet which comes in the player performance lines where Nicholas Pooran is my focus.
The line for his performance is 28.5 and I expect him to cover that and to do so with a fair bit in hand. He’ll be the wicket keeper for West Indies in this match so he could easily score plenty with the gloves here but he is one of the fast emerging talents in world cricket with the bat, and should bat at either four or five which will be perfect for him. He is a huge hitter but there is a bit of sensibility to his batting, as we saw when he recovered a bad position in the second ODI. Through bat and gloves I fancy Pooran to go beyond 28.5pts here.
Back N.Pooran’s Performance – Over 28.5pts for a 4/10 stake at 1.83 with Betway