KARACHI: Following their trophy drought, England have been given a glimmer of hope and a chance to progress to the Super- Eights with their clash against Ireland.
The team that made history by making the lowest completed innings total in a Twenty20 match, the Irish have much to worry about when they take on rivals England. It has now become essential for Ireland to beat England to reach the second stage of the tournament for the third time. Being literally bulldozed as they started the World Twenty20 - bowled out for 68 by the hosts and succumbed to a 70-run defeat - their batting is not expected to give them much leverage, especially since only one of their players, Gary Wilson, managed to reach double figures, as dismal as the 17 runs were.
The 17-year-old George Dockrell seems to be the player to guide the way, after he knocked out Andre Fletcher, Ramneresh Sarwan and Narsingh Deonarine in the West Indies match. But for England, the real player to watch out for is Eoin Morgan. Three years after playing for Ireland, Morgan is now geared up to knock his country of birth out of the tournament. “I’ve no mixed feelings whatsoever,” said Morgan. “I’m not bothered about it.
I have every confidence in the decision I made [to play for England] and here is where I want to be and to do well.” Morgan averaged nearly 50 in the Champions Trophy last year and showed signs of being the player to guide England to victory, one who could finish off the innings but also hit the ball very hard. This is much to the consternation of the Irish cricket officials who have been fuming that England has been taking their best players and have been a tad bit quick to discard them.
The only advantage which Ireland seem to have is that they have played in Guyana three times before they meet England and have been in the Caribbean for almost a month. New Zealand set to change the past As the ninth match of the World Twenty20 edges closer, the audience awaits New Zealand to continue its performance after it made its winning mark at the start of the tournament, the team’s main anchor being Nathan McCullum.
In New Zealand’s tense victory by two wickets, Nathan lofted fast-bowler Lasith Malinga for the crucial six over long-off of the penultimate ball of the match to seal the win. Jesse Ryder is another deadly player, who top-scored for his side with 42. Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s victory against favourites Australia in the warm-up match has even left the Black Caps’ captain Daniel Vettori in awe. “Zimbabwe have shown their hand by beating Australia in the first warm-up game so are obviously competitive in this format and we can now go in knowing what we have to do,” said Vettori. And Zimbabwe plan to do just that.
They arrived in the Caribbean ahead of many other teams for a gruelling warm-up schedule that included four-day and one-day matches. Their one-run win against Australia as well as beating defending champions Pakistan followed by their triumph over West Indies does predict a positive performance but the main question is if the lack of big names in their squad will lead to their downfall. Will the Black caps strike another win and propel forwards in the tournament or will the trio of Prosper Utseya, Brendon Taylor, and Elton Chigumbura guide their team through.