Surely, Ireland is no more looked at as a team, which doesn`t possess the capability of upsetting a few Test playing nations. Irish victories against teams like Pakistan, England have made them no push-overs. Under the experienced captain William Porterfield, Ireland will enter the tournament as promising challengers. A good show at the ‘Emerald Isle’ would go a long way in providing belief and in winning a lot of admiration and admirers. Their victory in a warm up match against Zimbabwe, again highlights the fact that the Irish boys look stronger than before.
Strength: The experience in the batting department will be the key. Niall`O Brian, William Porterfield, Kevin `O Brian will be the names to watch out for. No one can ever forget the 57 ball 100 by Kevin O` Brian at the Eden Gardens. Opener Paul Stirling has been in a stellar form and comes into the tournament as the highest T20 run-getter of the current year. The fielding of the Irish boys have been a highlight. Boyd Rankin will be leading the bowling unit ably supported by the veteran Alex Cusack. And if things work according to plan, then Ireland have the potential and the machinery to advance in the tournament.
Weakness: Combining individual performances into team efforts and victory has been the problem. Apart from Kevin`O Brian, they do not have any out and out match winners. Lack of match winners will surely hurt them. Ireland also lack the self belief, to go the distance.
Opportunity: One big upset could see them advance to the next round .But the task is easier said than done as they have been pooled with giants Australia and home team Sri Lanka. If for example Kevin has a good day, that would be Irelands best bet of advancing.
Threats: Ireland should not get over-awed by the situation. They should feel they belong to this stage, because they would be facing monsters like Sri Lanka and Australia. They should feel comfortable about the stage.
MUST WATCH PLAYER: Kevin O` Brian
First Published: Saturday, September 15, 2012, 14:26