About the Match
It is an indication of the uncertainty associate nations face in getting fixtures that this short two-match ODI series against England is being hailed as historic for Ireland. Still, something is better than nothing we guess and the Irish fans would be hoping that their players are inspired enough to pull off what would be one of the most remarkable upsets in recent history.
The 2015 World Cup was when the English team and management decided to revamp their entire approach to limited overs cricket and bring it in sync with the rest of the world. To say that the change has been a success would be an understatement. The English team now holds the record for the highest ODI total in history, consistently makes scores over 350 and has breached 400 multiple times as well.
They possess one of the most fearsome batting lineups in the world and have bench strength which is made up of players that would walk into most other International teams.
It is this bench strength that will be given an opportunity in these two ODI’s as Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, and Chris Woakes will be playing the IPL and so three first eleven places will open up. Eoin Morgan, though, has been very clear that he wants to use all of these matches leading up to the Champions Trophy to play his best possible eleven and so no funky combinations should be expected.
One of the interesting things to note will be the playoff between Jonny Bairstow and Sam Billings as the first choice backup to Jos Buttler.
With Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Joe Root and Morgan himself making up the top-4, this England team is not going to lack anything in firepower and some big scores can be expected if they get a chance to bat first.
The bowling lineup will be led by David Willey and Liam Plunkett, along with Jake Ball and Mark Wood in likelihood.
The conditions at Bristol are expected to be excellent for batting, although, there is a chance of weather playing a part in the match and spicing things up for the bowlers.
There is a sense of excitement in Ireland around this tour that is sure to motivate the players and get them ready for the challenge ahead but there is also a recognition that perhaps this tour is coming when Ireland is at its weakest in recent years.
The team has been hit with retirements, an aging team and younger players that are still finding trouble finding their feet at the international stage.
The Irish team used to be the best associate nation by far but that is no longer true, and teams like Afghanistan and even Netherlands have started to beat Ireland with an alarming regularity.
Still, going into this series with no hope or expectations from them is not something that the Irish will mind. Some of their best performances have come when they were not expected to even compete. Playing England is something that gets their juices going as well and that is something that cannot be ignored.
Paul Stirling will lead the batting charge for Ireland and he has the firepower to make a dent in the England bowling. Ed Joyce is another player that has plenty of county experience and international cricket pedigree as well to be able to emerge as a credible threat, however, he is one of those players that is past his prime.
The presence of Kevin O’Brian in the side will rekindle some fine memories from the 2011 World Cup but it is highly doubtful that there is another inning like it inside him.
The bowling will be led by Tim Murtagh, who is more than useful even at 35 years of age with Craig Young, Barry McCarthy and George Dockrell also sharing the load. Bowling England out or even containing them for long periods will be the biggest challenge that Ireland will face in this series.
Pitch and Conditions
The weather is set to be overcast and will assist swing bowling, however, the pitch will be flat and good for batting. Once the new ball is seen out, it will be open season for the batsmen.
England is one of the best ODI sides in the world at the moment and one of the firm favorites for the upcoming Champions Trophy. It is almost inconceivable that they will end up losing or even be threatened by Ireland in this series.
England to win