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Is Luck Of The Irish Enough?


Momentum is one of the most over-utilised words in cricket, but if England does not possess it after their record breaking tie with India, they may as well head home now.

Despite the thrill of the last ball draw, England will be extremely disappointed in not being able to put the game away. Andrew Strauss and Ian Bell had set the perfect platform on which the middle order failed to capitalise.

With that said, England revealed their true character in the most intimidating of atmospheres. As has been the case all through the Ashes, they demonstrated reserves of mental strength and no small amount of quality with the bat, when many previous England setups would have capitulated.

On the other end of the spectrum, Ireland is good enough to upset one of the big teams. They had a fantastic opportunity against Bangladesh until their batting failed to chase down 206.

The team’s disappointment was highlighted when Irish captain William Porterfield said: "The day after the game and that night the lads were pretty gutted. It's no lie, anyone that loses a game like that you're going to be pretty down, but that's professional sport."

For Ireland this is a massive contest where they'll be desperate to make a statement.

Englandwill be on guard here and will want an improvement in the bowling department which, apart from Graeme Swann against Netherlands and the immense Tim Bresnan against India, has been sub par.

In sharing points with India, England have gone a long way to ensuring they will avoid the scrap with Bangladesh and the West Indies for the fourth and final qualifying place in the group.

England (possible): 1 Andrew Strauss (capt), 2 Kevin Pietersen, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Ian Bell, 5 Paul Collingwood, 6 Matt Prior (wk), 7 Michael Yardy, 8 Tim Bresnan, 9 Stuart Broad, 10 Graeme Swann, 11 Ajmal Shahzad

Ireland (possible): 1 William Porterfield (capt), 2 Paul Stirling, 3 Ed Joyce, 4 Niall O'Brien (wk), 5 Andrew White, 6 Kevin O'Brien, 7 Andre Botha, 8 John Mooney, 9 Trent Johnston, 10 George Dockrell, 11 Boyd Rankin

Ireland is a leading light among the Associates, showing what is possible with a well-structured game and a core of experienced players.

For the Irish watch out for George Dockrell who will be bowling against his potential future team-mates here. The 18-year-old spinner is one of the finest Associate bowlers in the world, and has recently earned a county contract with Somerset. His contest against Kevin Pietersen will be fascinating.

On the England end, Andrew Strauss is the man in form and the one to watch. The England captain's enthralling 158 against India deserved to be a match-winning innings. In the process he passed 4,000 ODI runs and gave another performance for critics to remember.

Reports indicate that there was a tinge of green to the pitch the day before the game, and the bowlers will hope that's still evident today. If not, expect another batting paradise which, coupled with a fast outfield, should lead to another high scoring affair.

Interesting Statistic: If Jonathan Trott scores 64 he will equal Viv Richards and Kevin Pietersen as the fastest player to 1000 runs in one-day internationals.

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