17 September 2021
By Roger Jones
On the back of securing an ODI series draw with Zimbabwe, Ireland will be taking some winning momentum towards their ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 campaign.
Ireland have managed to reach the group stages in the last four T20 World Cups and head coach Graham Ford will be looking to cause a few more upsets at the major tournament this year.
Zimbabwe Series Offers Promise
While many will be looking to the likes of India, Pakistan or 7/1 tournament favourites New Zealand in the betting on cricket with Betfair, Ireland will be happy to go under the radar. There will be few cricket betting tips expecting the Irish to go all the way, but the men in green will certainly be determined to at least reach the group stage. A drawn series with Zimbabwe in September won’t have done confidence any harm in the camp, as the focus switches from ODI action to the shortest form of the game.
Ford will have been delighted to see the experienced heads in his side getting runs out in the middle, as Ireland won the third ODI against Zimbabwe by seven wickets (DLS Method). Experienced batsman Paul Stirling managed 43 runs from 40 deliveries, while skipper Andy Balbirnie contributed 34 runs from 43 balls.
There will be plenty of positives to take from the win in Stormont, as Ireland build towards their journey to UAE and Oman for their opening T20 World Cup qualifier against the Netherlands on October 18. Ford’s 15-man squad then take on Sri Lanka and Namibia in Group A, with the top two teams going through to the Super12 stage to face the top nations.
O’Brien Offers X-Factor
When it comes to Irish white-ball cricket in recent years, Kevin O’Brien has often grabbed the headlines with his efforts with bat in hand. At the age of 37, O’Brien has been on the international circuit for many years and has been a key figure in some of Ireland’s most historic victories. O’Brien was the mastermind behind one of the most iconic moments in Irish cricket history in the victory over England at the 2011 World Cup. O’Brien broke the record for the fastest century in World Cup history, as he managed the feat off just 50 deliveries before losing his wicket on 113 runs.
Despite his advancing years, O’Brien has still been showing he can compete at international level after he top-scored with 60 runs from 41 balls in a seven-wicket T20 victory over Zimbabwe at Castle Avenue in Clontarf. That innings was on the back of a disappointing run of form, so a return to runs for O’Brien comes at a welcomed time before the journey out the UAE and Oman.
Ireland travel out to the Middle East on September 24 before two warm-up matches against Papua New Guinea on October 12 and Bangladesh two days later. There’s plenty of work to be done to reach the Super12, but if Ireland can manage it, they might be able to cause a few more shocks on the biggest stage.