Failure to launch
To err is human, but to punish Sehwag. For seamers who were wayward in line and length in the opening match he bluntly made it clear what to expect when a bowler errs a fraction of a length in delivery to world class batsman. If 200 is an off-the-charts score of Cricket IQ, then Sehwag's danse macabre all over SBNS must have deflated the buoyant hosts. Pilot no doubt was horrendous, but platform should be set for an exciting season finale.
Third time's the lucky charm?
'It isn't a trick until it is done three times,' goes the Irish proverb. Leading associates, the Irish regales as being the giant killers. They had a heroic 2007 Cricket World Cup by tying with Zimbabwe and defeating Pakistan and Bangladesh, reaching Super 8 stage, and ending as 10th place above Kenya and Zimbabwe. History repeated in Belfast on 15th July, 2010, and the second time it was another violent shock when Porterfield's 116-ball century cruised them to target of 235 set by Bangladeshis despite Junaid Siddique's century and Shakib's half century.
On their third-rendezvous, Ireland would be planning to target the Test nation at lower helix. They have engaged in 17 skirmishes last year
and won 11 of them. a ratio giving them a confidence to be the spoil sport to co-hosts' party as announced by the wicket-keeper Niall O'Brien.
Fact: Ireland have won 28 of their 58 ODIs (1.03 win/loss ratio) as of 1 November 2010
Fact: 20 year old right-handed opener Paul Stirling scored a List A century
of 177 runs against Canada on 7th September 2010.
Fact: Stirling was the only associate player to be nominated as ICC Emerging Player of the Year on August, 2010.
Fact: Stirling has an ODI average of 40.26 with 899 runs.
Fact: Ireland have impressive home record of 20 games with 11 wins, 6 losses, 2 aband., 2 no result.
Fact: Highest team score: 325/8 v Canada, 7 September 2010
Fact: Best innings bowling: 5/14, Trent Johnston v Canada, 19 April 2009 at SuperSport Park, Centurion, South Africa
Fact: Record Partnership Score: 227 by William Porterfield & Kevin O'Brien v Kenya, Nairobi, 2 Feb '07.
Players to watch out for
The top order consisting of Captain Porterfield with 1371 runs, highest for the team, scored a 74-ball 72 against New Zealand, albeit in a losing casue, in cahoots with Stirling as the silver lining would be the key performers to keep an eye on. Kevin O'brien would certainly be to watch out for as he blasted a 61-ball 62 with 6 fours and 2 sixes in the warm match against Zimbabwe, which was key to bring home the match comfortably with 4 wickets remaining after the former set a target of 244.
Pun notwithstanding, Kayes showed absolutely no mercy to Sreesanth, who leaked 24 runs in 4th over of the second innings in the inaugural match. Unmasked he will be the vital cog if he gets going. He was sixth highest ODI run getter in 2010 and the left hander averages a healthy 37.41 while batting first, in a stark contrast to 19.84 when chasing.
...& Rainbows and Butterflies
Bangladesh have already experienced the worst case scenario and it cannot get any chimeric than that. Shakib et al., with talks of an Ashraful cameo at #7 and Shahriar Nafees as the minnow basher, crowds would get their money's worth with a renewed Tamim 2.0 who would be more-so-ever savage evidenced from a glimpse of his mantra to play longer innings. Pacers Shafiul and Rubel may initiate the yet-to-be-launched much talked about new 'butterfly' delivery - mentored by the coach Ian Pont- which has zero rotation on it when bowling making the flight unstable and awry. Question however remains if Bangladesh will recuperate fast enough to loot pot of gold, or will Ireland produce another miracle by driving out the host's serpentine plans in a capacity crowd stadium?