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|Mark Richard Adair||21||13||3||1||161.54|
|Mark Richard Adair||10.0||1||73||4||7.30|
With ICC Cricket World Cup in progress, the rest of the cricketing events happening across the globe are hardly being followed. Quite recently, Netherlands got better of Zimbabwe in ODI series and shared the honors in the shortest version of the game. Zimbabwe now move to Ireland, where they are scheduled to play three One Day Internationals and three T20Is. The first match of the series will be played at Bready Cricket Club Ground, Northern Ireland on 1st July. Both the sides are coming off a run which they both would like to forget. With World T20 World Cup Qualifiers not too far away, both the sides will be taking this tour as a preparatory tour to get their combination right. Both the teams have a beautiful blend of youth and experience and up upcoming series should be a treat to watch for the fans.
Ireland have made two surprising changes to their lineup as compared to the one that played against Afghanistan. Perhaps keeping an eye on the conditions, they've left out their two seasoned spinners, George Dockrell and Barry McCarthy, who both were doing reasonably well.
After staying out of the squad for quite a long period due to injury, Gary Wilson finds his way back into the side and is likely to play an instrumental role in Irish middle-order which looked a little fragile against Afghanistan. Andrew Balbirnie has slowly but steadily grown into a prominent figure in Irish cricket and will be the backbone of their batting order. He's been in reasonably good form, scoring a couple of big hundreds, in his last few matches.
In the conditions that are likely to assist pace bowling, Ireland have a pretty potent bowling unit. The likes of Boyd Rankin and Tim Murtagh know the conditions and can extract good movement, pace, and bounce off the surface. With Mark Adair and Kevin O'Brien available to bat in the lower middle-order, they have all their bases covered. All in all, Ireland appear to be an immaculately balanced unit and will be a tough side to beat, especially in home conditions.
PR Stirling, WTS Porterfield, James McCollum, Andy Balbirnie, Kevin O'Brien, Mark Richard Adair, Shane Getkate, Lorcan Tucker, Andy McBrine, TJ Murtagh, WB Rankin.
Zimbabwe finally managed to salvage some pride in what otherwise happened to be a rather one-sided series for them. Going into their tour against Netherlands, Zimbabwe were certainly tipped to be favorites by bookies, but things didn't pan out like that. They lost the ODI series 2-0 and were found struggling in the T20Is before winning the second T20I to level the series 1-1.
Zimbabwe haven't made any changes whatsoever to their squad that played against Netherlands. While they look well-balanced on paper, adjusting to the cold Irish conditions could be a concern for them, as was the case against the men in orange.
Their batting look good with Brendon McCullum, Sean Williams, Sikandar Raza, and Craig Ervine doing well, but lack of contribution from Hamilton Masakadza and inconsistent contributions would be of massive concern for their management. Their bowlers, however, did well in the series barring a couple of exceptions and will be looking forward to bowl in favorable bowling conditions.
Hamilton Masakadza, TS Kamunhukamwe, BRM Taylor, Craig Ervine, Sean Williams, Sikandar Raza, Peter Moor, Ryan Burl, Donald Tiripano, Kyle Jarvis, Tendai Chatara.
It doesn't always happen that Ireland and Zimbabwe get to play a series which is as packed as this one. Zimbabwe are coming after playing four matches against Netherlands whereas Ireland will be pretty fresh going into the tournament. With both, the sides matched on paper, adapting to conditions and handling the pressure is going to be key. While getting a win in the series is always important, the focus will also be on the preparation for World T20 Qualifiers which are scheduled to play in October. Ireland are playing in familiar conditions and have sharper bowling attacked as compared to Zimbabwe. Considering that as well as the aforementioned reasons, Ireland are better-placed to emerge on top in the upcoming encounter.
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