Rain threat looms around as both West Indies and Ireland look to make a shift towards the shortest format of the game. For a few days now, the rains have been relentless in Grenada and a shortened game in on the cards in the first T20I between these two sides. In the 50-over format, it was the home team all the way through with some great performances.
Yet, the scare in the second ODI is somewhat a wake-up call for them and they can’t afford to be at anything less than their best. There is a change of leadership in this format as well for Ireland. Andrew Balbirnie has taken over from Gary Wilson and will hope to inspire his troops to play some competitive cricket.
It wasn’t an ideal start for him in the ODI format and he’d expect better performances from his players. Nevertheless, West Indies head into this encounter as the firm favourites after the Kieron Pollard-led side steamrolled Ireland 3-0 in the ODI series.
West Indies will be bolstered by the inclusion of Dwayne Bravo in their squad. The Caribbean side will be eager to bank on their formidable batting force comprising the likes of Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope and Kieron Pollard. The defending T20 World Cup champions are the favourites to clinch the three-match series.
West Indies will definitely open the innings with Lendl Simmons and Evin Lewis. Brandon King might get a go at three but will be slotted down if there are very few overs left in the innings. The experience of someone like Dwayne Bravo will be massive for the side and it changes the dynamics of this team by quite a margin. The bowling attack looks sorted and they should try to yield more consistent performances.
Predicted XI: Lendl Simmons, Evin Lewis, Brandon King, Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Kieron Pollard (c), Dwayne Bravo, Sherfane Rutherford/Khary Pierre, Hayden Walsh, Kesrick Williams, Sheldon Cottrell.
Ireland, under Andrew Balbirnie, has got a few decisions to make. They might open with either of Gareth Delany or Harry Tector to add some stability to the middle order. Simi Singh was very impressive in the ODI games and they might give him a chance in the shortest format as well. Between George Dockrell and Craig Young, they are more likely to go for the former.
Predicted XI: Paul Stirling, Kevin O’Brien, Andrew Balbirnie (c), Gareth Delany, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker, Gary Wilson (wk), Simi Singh/Barry McCarthy, George Dockrell/Craig Young, Mark Adair, Boyd Rankin.
Focus will be on
Dwayne Bravo (West Indies)
After last representing the West Indies in September 2016, Dwayne Bravo has finally taken a decision to come out of retirement. The all-rounder has always been a massive asset to the team. He is one of the most impactful players in the shortest format of the game and his experience will be huge for his side. Many eyes would be keenly watching him as to how he performs on his return.
Paul Stirling (Ireland)
Paul Stirling is amongst the most experienced players in the Ireland set-up. He has got to take responsibility for his side and play the big knocks. Stirling wasn’t really impressive in the 50-over format and will look to turn things around. If he can make a contribution, Ireland can surely give the opposition a tough fight and push for a victory.
Head to Head
Matches – 4: West Indies won – 2 | Ireland won – 1 | N/R – 1
1929 – Runs Paul Stirling has scored in T20I cricket. He needs another 71 runs to enter into the elite club of players with 2,000 T20I runs.
Live Streaming – Fan Code
Match timings – 01:00 PM local time (10:30 PM IST) (05:00 PM UTC)
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