Ireland scent blood against depleted England

London: Ireland hope to take advantage of a weakened England side when the teams meet on Tuesday in a one-off one-day international match at Malahide.

With only four survivors from England`s last 50-over contest, the Champions Trophy final against India in June, Ireland will scent another upset and a repeat of their famous victory in Bangalore at the 2011 World Cup.

It will be a full-strength Ireland line-up, although they are likely to face two compatriots among the opposition.

One is a certainty because Eoin Morgan has been named as captain, in place of the rested Alastair Cook, for the second successive time against his native country and Boyd Rankin is expected to make his ODI debut as well.

To date, Rankin has played only two Twenty20 games in the Three Lions shirt after quitting the Ireland team last year to pursue his ambition of playing Test cricket for England.

He was left out of both games against Australia last week, but the 6ft 8in (2.03m) Warwickshire paceman seems likely to follow Ed Joyce as an Englishman who made his debut against the country of his birth.

It will not be the first time that Joyce and Rankin have been in direct opposition on the international field.

Six years ago, at the World Cup Super Eights in Guyana, Rankin, then of Ireland, bowled Joyce, then of England, with his first ball.

This week battle will be renewed with both players in the opposition ranks and Joyce, the Sussex captain, is likely to be key to an Ireland success.

The 34-year-old left-handed batsman is in the form of his life, averaging 72 in first-class cricket this season, and he has scored 455 runs in seven innings for Ireland this year, including 116 not out against Pakistan in the tied ODI in May.

He will be supported by the big-hitting Middlesex batsman Paul Stirling, Niall O`Brien, and his brother, Kevin, who has just returned from a successful time at the Caribbean Premier League and smashed a decisive 50-ball hundred against England in Bangalore.

It will be also be a special day for 39-year-old former Ireland captain Trent Johnston, who plays his last game before retiring from international cricket at the end of the year.

Ravi Bopara, Jos Buttler, James Tredwell and Morgan are the only players named in the 14-man England squad who played in the Champions League final, but their team-mates will all be out to impress ahead of the five-match series against Australia, which starts on Friday.

Those hoping to catch the eye include new faces Michael Carberry, Chris Jordan, Gary Ballance, Danny Briggs and 19 year-old Somerset all-rounder Jamie Overton.

They will also be desperate not to be party to another defeat by the ever-improving Ireland team, who have attracted 10,000 spectators to their new home international venue.


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