After the heroics of India and Pakistan on the previous match day, the T20 World Cup 2012 needs a little breather... not that the action will come to a complete stop, though. The only match scheduled for the day is Group B's final game - Ireland v West Indies - and it promises to be as exciting as any contest so far. More so, actually, since this is the first elimination match we've had in the tournament.
Australia's wins over both teams means this is now a straight fight between these two to determine who joins George Bailey's side in the hat for the next round. Darren Sammy's West Indies came into the tournament (and certainly the group) as favourites but the weather played havoc with their game against Australia and the Caribbean side lost by the Duckworth/Lewis method. Meanwhile, the Irish are not to be taken lightly. They have beaten top sides before and are certainly capable of causing another upset, although, on the basis of the first match, it is difficult to see how their bowlers are going to contain the likes of Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo.
Ireland v West Indies
The match will start at 2.30 pm BST and be telecast on Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports HD 1.
Ireland's reputation as giant-killers aside, they will need to improve their batting by several orders of magnitude if they are to beat a full member of T20I cricket for the second time in their history. William Porterfield and his men were woeful against the Australian bowling attack and only Kevin O'Brien (35 from 29) walked away with any pride intact. The Irish do not really have big hitters in the class of either Shane Watson or Gayle but given they do not have a top-quality bowling attack either, they will need to ensure one of those two halves - batting / bowling - fires on the day.
Porterfield is likely to rely on George Dockrell a good deal again and the left arm spinner, who provided the breakthrough against Australia (by dismissing David Warner for 26) will have his hands full stopping the opposition batting. Kevin O'Brien is also likely to be a key player for the team in green but he too will need to deliver in spades; he had a good start against Australia but conceded a slightly soft dismissal in the 15th over, which was just when he should have been pushing his side to something closer to 150.
Aside from these two, Ed Joyce and Niall O'Brien (Kevin's brother) also got reasonable starts (16 and 20 respectively) against Australia but failed to make them count. Trent Johnston was far too expensive (0/21 off two overs) and will need to do better. Boyd Rankin was economical (0/28 off four) but wound up wicket-less.
Sammy has a very simple equation for this game - batter Ireland. Ensure the Irish do not have any chance to get back into this game and the tournament, if only for his own team's self-confidence.
The West Indies batting line-up came into the T20 World Cup with the reputation as being one of the best in the world and they lived up to that billing in style, hammering the Australians for 191/8 off their 20 overs; Gayle and Marlon Samuels each got a 50 and Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard and Sammy all showed themselves in good touch.
The bowling, however, was a different matter.
Fidel Edwards was good (1/16 off two overs), as were Naraine (0/16 off two) and Sammy himself (0/15 off two) but Ravi Rampaul (0/23 off 1.1) and Samuels (0/22 off one) were not and it was those two overs (13 balls to be exact) that cost them the match. Warner massacred Rampaul in the second over, taking 22 off him and Shane Watson did exactly the same to Samuels in the eighth; Australia won by 17 runs.
The math really is simple.
As things stand, India, England, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand have qualified for the Super Eights. India, South Africa and Australia have been drawn in what is already a mouth-wateringly fantastic group, with Pakistan the team most likely to join them (unless Bangaldesh pull off a monstrously big upset when the two play the final group game).
The winners of this game (Ireland - West Indies) will slot into a group with England, hosts Sri Lanka and dark horses New Zealand... arguably not the toughest opponents possible but an exciting and open group nonetheless.
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