17 June 2015
Much at stake for Ireland, Scotland
Three-match T20I series will serve as preparation for World T20 qualifying competition
The series assumes importance as it serves as preparation for the 2016 World T20 Qualifier that begins on July 9.
Kevin O'Brien will lead Ireland after William Porterfield, the regular skipper, wicketkeeper Gary Wilson and Niall O'Brien were ruled out due to county cricket commitments.
Ireland will also miss the services of Paul Stirling and John Mooney for different reasons. They were initially named in the squad but Stirling misses out due to commitments for Middlesex while Mooney requested a break due to personal reasons.
David Rankin, the allrounder, and John Anderson, the opener, have been called up as replacements. Rankin, however, will play only in the first match as Andrew Balbirnie is set to return for the next two games. The 14-member squad also features Tyrone Kane, the 20-year-old allrounder who forced his way into the side with a hat-trick and a five-wicket haul in the first two matches of the domestic competition.
"Tyrone is an exciting young talent who deserves his chance, he's very much an impact player as shown by his performances in the T20 games this season," John Bracewell, the Ireland coach, said.
Ireland has been in good form this season and is currently at the top of the table in the ICC Intercontinental Cup following an innings victory over United Arab Emirates. George Dockrell starred in that victory with seven wickets but the left-arm spinner is unlikely to take field on Thursday due to county duties.
Ed Joyce made a stellar 232-ball 231 against UAE but the left-handed batsman has retired from the shortest format.
Scotland, too, made a decent start to the season in the Intercontinental Cup, taking extra points in a rain-affected encounter against Afghanistan. Preston Mommsen, its captain, has been in fine form and made an aggressive 77 in the game which ended in a draw.
Scotland's 13-member squad includes Con de Lange, the South Africa-born left-arm spinner who made his Scotland debut last month against Afghanistan, and Mark Watt, the uncapped 18-year-old left-arm spinner. Matt Machan, busy with county cricket, does not feature in the squads for the series against Ireland and the World T20 Qualifier.
Kyle Coetzer, the former captain who was initially left out of the World T20 Qualifier squad, was included again following Freddie Coleman's withdrawal due to personal reasons.
The second T20I will be played on Friday and will be followed by the final match on Sunday. All the matches will be played in Bready.
Ireland: Kevin O'Brien (captain), Andrew Balbirnie, Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Tyrone Kane, Andrew McBrine, Graeme McCarter, David Rankin, Andrew Poynter, Stuart Poynter (wk), Max Sorensen, John Anderson, Stuart Thompson, Craig Young.
Scotland: Preston Mommsen (captain), Richie Berrington, Kyle Coetzer, Matthew Cross (wk), Josh Davey, Con de Lange, Alasdair Evans, Michael Leask, Gavin Main, George Munsey, Safyaan Sharif, Craig Wallace, Mark Watt.