Ireland

Ireland: Upset the odds last year

Ireland: Upset the odds last year

Ireland squad:
William Porterfield (capt)
Andre Botha
Peter Connell
Alex Cusack
George Dockrell
Trent Johnston
Nigel Jones
Gary Kidd
John Mooney
Kevin O'Brien
Niall O'Brien
Boyd Rankin
Paul Stirling
Andrew White
Gary Wilson

Overview

Ireland will fancy their chances of qualifying for at least the second stage of the competition having been drawn against near neighbours England and host nation West Indies.

And the Emerald Isle will be heading into the unknown having never played either of their Group D oppenents in the shortest version of the game.

Ireland's most famous victory in this format came at the 2009 ICC World Twenty20 when they impressively saw off Bangladesh at Trent Bridge.

However, the Irish have only played five T20 matches against Test playing nations, a statistic which may hamper their hopes of qualification.

Strengths

Niall O'Brien: County experience

Ireland's strong work ethic and disciplined bowling unit have contributed significantly in their rise to international prominance.

A lack of individual world-beaters in their ranks is more than made up for by their team unity and consistency in all facets of the game.

The experience of captain William Porterfield and all-rounder Trent Johnston also ensure steady starts with both bat and ball.

The sharp glovework and powerful hitting from Niall O'Brien is also key to Ireland's hopes of a prolonged stay in the competiton.

Weaknesses

White: Rare right-hander

A failure to amass big totals on a regular basis has been an area of concern for Ireland in the Twenty20 format.

The men in green have only posted a total in excess of 200 on one occassion - against USA in February - and their highest total in the previous World Cup campaign was just 138.

Indeed, only right-hander Andrew White (26.20) averages above 20 in the shortest format for Ireland.

The retirment of key off-spinner Kyle McCallan has also left a gaping hole in the slow bowling department, and that is an area they must fill should they wish to progress from Group D.

Six-hitter - Alex Cusack

Cusack: Could add late impetus

All-rounder Cusack has cleared the rope five times in 10 innings for Ireland and is renowned for adding late impetus down the order.

He has scored 153 T20 international runs off 115 balls and boasts a strike-rate of 133. The 29-year-old heads into the competition in fine form having smashed 65 off 46 balls against Netherlands in Dubai.

Strike bowler - Trent Johnston

Johnston: Still going strong

Wily medium-pacer Johnston remains Ireland's most potent threat with the ball at the ripe age of 35.

The Australia-born seamer has taken 19 wickets in 14 matches for Ireland and again holds the key in the Caribbean. His best figures of 4-22 came against Afghanistan in February.

Look out for...Gary Wilson

Wilson: Specialist batsman

Promising wicketkeeper-batsman Gary Wilson is one to keep your eye on throughout the tournament.

He will be deployed as a specialist batsman in the Caribbean and has the shots to help the Irish towards winning totals.

His current strike-rate is a modest 85.85 however he is in fine form having made recent scores of 29 off 23 balls and 26 (off 22) against Netherlands and Canada respectively.

Wilson is on the books at Surrey and was handed a new contract during the off-season having formerly been an MCC young cricketer.

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