Cricket news - Top order in focus as Ireland eye parity

Both England and Ireland made shaky starts with the bat in the opening ODI

Both England and Ireland made shaky starts with the bat in the opening ODI

All the pre-series chatter revolving around players stepping on to the field for their first international outing in many months, in a new environment, can be set aside now. White ball cricket made a grand re-entry on Thursday (July 30) and this time, with the added incentive of World Cup Super League. And that's precisely why it's vital for a side like Ireland to bounce back quickly against a second-string English outfit that stuttered for a while before romping to a win.

With points up for grabs in the Cricket World Cup Super League, Ireland might not really get many such opportunities to fetch a few against a top side that isn't at full-strength. In the absence of Joe Root, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler, the batting lineup did get rattled chasing a paltry total before skipper Eoin Morgan joined forces with one of the trio's replacements, Sam Billings, to calm the nerves. Morgan did point out after the game that England will more likely go into the second game with the same batting lineup. And that means another chance for the elegant James Vince to show the world he has substance and not just style.

Tom Banton, another newcomer, also failed to make a mark and with Morgan reiterating the fact that the fringe players will have to do something extraordinary to make it to the first-choice 15 member squad, the exciting youngster will be eager to deliver. If Ireland can indeed cause some early jitters in that English camp once again, they will have to make sure they capitalise on it big time in order to stand a chance at levelling the series.

In order to do that though, their own batting department needs to click. 39 deliveries into their innings, Ireland's scorecard read 28 for 5. David Willey put his World Cup snub behind to pick up four wickets with the new ball and eventually finish with a five-wicket haul. And Ireland had to rely on a debutant to make sure they don't fold for a paltry total.

21-year-old Curtis Campher showed oodles of maturity by holding the innings together at one end after the fall of the fifth wicket. He remained unbeaten on 59 and picked up a wicket as well during the chase. If he does find support from the experienced heads on Saturday (August 1), a win for Ireland will certainly not be a distant possibility.

When:Saturday, August 1, 2020

Where:The Rose Bowl, Southampton

What to expect:The weather is expected to stay clear throughout the game. Both captains fancied the pitch last time around but didn't get the desired results. A repeat might not be on the cards especially if England bat first.

Team News

England:Morgan clearly stated that his side would pick the same batting order which will give Vince, Billings and Banton further opportunities. Joe Denly, who missed the opening ODI with an injury, has been ruled out of the series. His replacement Liam Livingstone will probably have to wait for his opportunity. There might be a change in the pace bowling department considering the game is being played in less than 48 hours.

Predicted XI:Jonny Bairstow (WK), Jason Roy, James Vince, Tom Banton, Eoin Morgan (C), Sam Billings, Moeen Ali, David Willey, Adil Rashid, Tom Curran, Saqib Mahmood/Reece Topley

Ireland:William Porterfield missed an ODI for the first time in six years and Ireland might have to rely on his experience now after crumbling with the bat on Thursday. Barry McCarthy hobbled off the field after bowling just five deliveries following an ankle injury and has been ruled out of the next two games as well. Senior pacer Boyd Rankin also misses the cut due to a back injury. Peter Chase will now fancy his chances for a berth in the playing XI.

Predicted XI:Paul Stirling, William Porterfield, Gareth Delany, Andy Balbirnie (C), Kevin O'Brien, Lorcan Tucker (WK), Curtis Campher, Simi Singh, Andy McBrine, Peter Chase, Craig Young

What they said:

"For a guy to come in, he's not even played international cricket, to play that sort of knock. Albeit it was sort of an old-school knock but it was exactly what we needed. He came in and adapted to conditions which, as top five batsmen, we were unable to do. It's the best debut for Ireland I've seen in the last couple of years and it's a huge positive." - Ireland captain Andy Balbirnie reserved a lot of praise for youngster Curtis Campher