All to play for by Ireland and Australia
by Asher Wilson
DateLine: 19th September 2012
Australia vs Ireland
2nd T20 World Cup 2012 Match
The 2nd T20 World Cup match will be played in Colombo today between the two bottom of the ICC T20 ranking tables, Australia and Ireland. It is an incredibly important fixture in their group as it would decide which team makes it through and is expected to be a tough one. Australia have a lot to prove to themselves and the World as their record in the shortest format of the game and even in previous editions of the World T20 has been anything but impressive.
Once the most-feared team in cricket and completely dominant, Aussie cricket is going through what was once thought to be a transition phase. The Aussies even managed to slip to 10th place in the ICC rankings this year, for a while. The four-times 50-overs World Cup champions' best performance in the T20 game has been reaching the final of the 2010 tournament against eventual winners England in the West Indies which they lost by seven wickets.
There is no better time than now to face Australia if any team is looking to beat them. Ireland probably know that. Also, considering the rankings and statistics of wining a T20 match, Ireland seems to have an advantage today. However, previous warm-up match results show that Australian Cricket team are now much more serious about playing the T20 World Cup this time and want to avenge past defeats eying to win the maiden ICC T20 World Cup title in Sri Lanka. That is the only Trophy still missing from their rather huge cabinet.
There are a few ‘unknown’ Aussies out there ready to make a name. Shane Watson and David Warner will probably be the key men, but after that from captain George Bailey to players like Cummins, Starc, Mckay, and Glenn Maxwell are all vying to bring glory back to the baggy green and yellows. A particularly dry surface may bring Xavier Doherty's left-arm spin into the equation. In the humid conditions the new ball is going to swing and pacers need to control it as they can't afford to give away too many extras. David Hussey appears out of favor and unlikely to displace either Glenn Maxwell or Cameron White.
Ireland, for a side that comes with limited expectations and an 'Associate' tag to boot, more often than not does very well to stand up and make people take notice of their cricket. They might not be as consistently good as an England or South Africa when it comes to the quality of cricket they play, but on most occasions its the amount of heart they put in to each game that pulls them through. Their first moment of glory came in the 2007 World Cup, when they knocked Pakistan out in the group stages. Ireland then followed it up by going to the super eight stage in the 2009 T20 World Cup, however, the biggest impact they made was when they beat their neighbours England by chasing a target of 328. That game finally led to people looking at Ireland as more than just an 'associate' nation and the Irish will be keen to reinforce that change of thought in Sri Lanka.
Ireland turned out close to their best side for a narrow warm-up victory over Bangladesh. They can be expected to field a similar combination against Australia. Although Ireland have only once beaten an ICC Full Member in a T20 international, they overcame Bangladesh in the 2009 World T20 and if Australia underestimates them, it would be at their peril.
Ireland have Kevin O'Brien who needs no introduction having compiled the fastest-ever hundred in the 50-over World Cup during Ireland's stunning win over England in Bangalore last year. His knock against England in the World Cup in 2011 was one of the best ODI innings of all time. William Porterfield is captain and one of several county cricketers in the squad. Tim Murtagh will front a seam attack boasting Australia-born veteran Trent Johnston. Then there is George Dockrell, a spinner who could be very tricky on Sri Lankan pitches. He will be aiming to target Australia’s most dangerous player Warner early, as he is going through woeful form and has a habit of getting out to the spinners.
1. GJ Bailey (captain), 2. DT Christian, 3. PJ Cummins, 4. XJ Doherty, 5. BW Hilfenhaus, 6. GB Hogg, 7. DJ Hussey, 8. MEK Hussey, 9. CJ McKay, 10. GJ Maxwell, 11. MA Starc, 12. MS Wade (wicket-keeper), 13. DA Warner, 14. SR Watson, 15. CL White
1. AR Cusack, 2. GH Dockrell, 3. DT Johnston, 4. NG Jones, 5. EC Joyce, 6. TJ Murtagh, 7. KJ O'Brien, 8. NJ O'Brien, 9. WTS Porterfield (captain), 10. WB Rankin, 11. MC Sorensen, 12. PR Stirling, 13. SR Thompson, 14. AR White, 15. GC Wilson
This will be Ireland's first meeting with Australia in a T20 match. The Premadasa Stadium pitch is expected to start dry and get drier as the tournament goes on, so if there is ever going to be any moisture there it may be in game one.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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