12 July 2015
PREVIEW: Ireland, Jersey look to capitalise on momentum
USA and Papua New Guinea will have to be at their best in Sunday’s Group A clashes
Although rain robbed Ireland of match practice, with both its warm-up matches being washed out, it came up with a tidy all-round effort to coast to a comfortable win over Namibia
There will be spring in the steps of the Ireland team when it takes on USA in Sunday’s (July 12) first Group A encounter of the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2015 at the Civil Service Cricket Club in Stormont, Belfast.
Although rain robbed Ireland of match practice, with both its warm-up matches being washed out, it came up with a tidy all-round effort to coast to a comfortable win over Namibia in its first match on Friday.
The recently concluded four-match T20I series against Scotland in June - which Ireland lost 0-2 -- would have given its players a good feel of already familiar conditions. Home advantage apart, the experience of playing and winning the tournament twice, in 2012 and 2013, will help the players cope with the expectations of their fans.
While John Mooney, the medium-pacer, rocked the Namibia top order, with 3 for 23 in four overs, Niall O'Brien and William Porterfield led Ireland’s chase as the home side cruised to a seven-wicket win. The form of Alex Cusack and George Dockrell, who took two wickets apiece, also bodes well for Ireland. Dockrell, who has bagged 31 wickets in the tournament over the years, will be eyeing the record held by Majid Haq, the Scotland spinner who has 34 scalps to his name.
Tyrone Kane, the right-arm pacer, didn’t enjoy a lot of success against Namibia, but will be inspired by his excellent run of form at club and provincial level for Leinster Lightning.
Having lost its opening match against Nepal by six wickets, USA will be aiming to bounce back in the competition. USA, who has already made two previous appearances at the Qualifier, suffered mainly due to its batting failure as only four of its batsmen reached double figures.
The North American team suffered a setback when Steven Taylor, the wicketkeeper-batsman, was declared unavailable, and will hope Akeem Dodson can make an impact after qualifying as runner-up behind Canada in the ICC Americas Division 1 qualification tournament in May.
Led by Muhammad Ghous, whose offspin has yielded 12 wickets in 16 Twenty20 matches so far, USA will look to Jasdeep Singh, the right-arm medium pacer, to spearhead the bowling attack.
Ireland: William Porterfield (captain), Andrew Balbirnie, Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Tyrone Kane, Andrew McBrine, Graeme McCarter, John Mooney, Kevin O’Brien, Niall O’Brien, Stuart Poynter, Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson, Gary Wilson, Craig Young.
USA: Muhammad Ghous (captain), Alex Amsterdam, Fahad Babar, Adil Bhatti, Akeem Dodson, Karan Ganesh, Naseer Jamali, Japen Patel, Mrunal Patel, Timil Patel, Hammad Shahid, Jasdeep Singh, Nicholas Stanford, Timothy Surujbally, Shiva Vashishat.
Jersey v PNG
In the second Group A encounter, Papua New Guinea, led by Jack Vare, will take on a buoyant Jersey at the Bready Cricket Club in Bready.
Tournament debutant Jersey rode on half-centuries from Edward Farley and Peter Gough, the captain, to cruise to a memorable nine-wicket win over Hong Kong on Saturday. The openers put on a 112-run stand to overhaul Hong Kong’s 153 in only 17.2 overs. Among the bowlers, Ben Steven, the left-arm spinner, impressed with figures of 2 for 22 in three overs.
Jersey is placed second in the Group A points table, but Gough said the side would be gunning for the top spot. "It’d be very nice to be top of the table after tomorrow’s game (against PNG) as well, so make sure that we are pretty fired up for that.”
Fresh from its impressive Intercontinental Cup debut against the Netherlands last month, PNG will be aiming to convert its form from the longer format to the shortest one.
Assad Vala is a destructive batsman on his day, while newcomer Loa Nou has been in sparkling form with the ball and it will be interesting to see if he can maintain the blistering start he has had in his international career. Jack Vare, the wicketkeeper-batsman, will lead the side having played in 18 T20Is.
Jersey: Peter Gough (captain), Corey Bisson, Dom Blampied, Corne Bodenstein, Paul Connolly, Ed Farley, Anthony Kay, Jonty Jenner, Ben Kynman, Tommy Minty, Rhys Palmer, Chuggy Perchard, Callum Rabet, Ben Stevens, Nat Watkins.
Papua New Guinea: Jack Vare (captain), Charles Amini, Sese Bau, John Boge Reva, Mahuru Dai, Willie Gavera, Loa Nou, Kila Pala, Pipi Raho, Lega Siaka, Chad Soper, Tony Ura, Vani Vagi, Assadollah Vala, Norman Vanua.