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Ireland v Hong Kong, 1st T20I, Bready - Preview

Home team selects young side for two-match T20I series; Babar Hayat and Co. look to impress in shorter format after losing Intercontinental Cup contest
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Hong Kong and Ireland are set to lock horns in the first of two Twenty20 Internationals in Magheramason, Bready on Monday (September 5). The home side beat Hong Kong by 70 runs in the recently concluded Intercontinental Cup contest in Belfast to strengthen its position at the top spot of the tournament points table.

In the two T20Is the two sides have played in so far, Ireland has won one, while the other match was abandoned due to rain.

Lorcan Tucker and Joshua Little, the uncapped duo, are part of Ireland's 13-man squad for this series. The young side also includes Greg Thompson, James Shannon, Sean Terry and David Rankin, who have come in in place of the experienced Paul Stirling, Niall O'Brien, Stuart Poynter, Tim Murtagh and Gary Wilson.

Little, 16, bowls left-arm pace and has represented Ireland U-19 five times while Tucker, 19, is a wicketkeeper-batsman. Both players had impressed during the ICC Under-19 World Cup earlier this year. Little bagged four wickets in five matches and Tucker, with 222 runs in six games at an average of 44.40, ended as Ireland's top run-scorer in the tournament.

"We wanted to bring some freshness to the squad," said Alan Lewis, Ireland's chairman of selectors. "Left-arm quicks have been hugely successful in T20s and Josh's introduction will drive his career forward, we hope. He bowls with pace and is an excellent athlete. Lorcan's ability to score all around the ground with his 360-degree game - as witnessed at the U19 World Cup - coupled with his wicketkeeping gives us excellent balance."

Thompson, the allrounder who became the youngest player to represent Ireland when he played three One-Day Internationals (against Bangladesh) in 2008 at the age of 16, has earned a recall after eight years with impressive performances at the domestic level.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong has brought on two new players - Ehsan Khan and Shahid Wasif - on its tour to Ireland and Scotland. 



"We have some exciting new faces for the upcoming tour, which will be a test in Ireland and Scotland's home conditions." said Babar Hayat, who recently replaced Tanwir Afzal as captain of the national team.

Heavy rain had recently ruined the second ODI between Ireland and Pakistan in Malahide and the weather forecast in Bready, 214 km further north, for Monday suggests there could be rain. But the chances are moderate, and if the weather holds, a full game could well be on the cards.

Ireland is ranked 15th in the ICC T20I Team Rankings, while Hong Kong is placed 17th.

The second match will be played at the same venue on Tuesday. Following this series, Hong Kong will travel to Scotland to play two ODIs.

Squads (from):

Ireland: William Porterfield (capt), Peter Chase, George Dockrell, Joshua Little, Andrew McBrine, Barry McCarthy, Kevin O'Brien, David Rankin, James Shannon, Sean Terry, Greg Thompson, Lorcan Tucker (wk), Craig Young

Hong Kong: Babar Hayat (capt), Aizaz Khan, Tanwir Afzal, Nadeem Ahmed, Tanveer Ahmed, Chris Carter (wk), Ehsan Khan, Nizakat Khan, Waqas Khan, Adil Mehmood, Ehsan Nawaz, Anshuman Rath, Ninad Shah, Shahid Wasif
 

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