Chelmsford, May 8 (IANS) Ireland take on Bangladesh in a three-match series against Bangladesh, hoping for a clean sweep hoping to keep alive their chances of qualifying for the ODI World Cup to be held in India in October-November.
The two teams will clash in the opening One-day International on Tuesday, with Ireland skipper Andrew Balbirnie saying their sole focus is on winning the series 3-0. The second ODI will be played at the same Essex venue on Friday (May 12) followed by the third match on Sunday (May 14).
Though a 3-0 victory may not even be enough for the Irish as they aim to pip South Africa to the final qualifying spot to make the World Cup in India.
A 3-0 sweep would put Ireland level on points with the Proteas and they will hope to better their run-rate to finish eighth in the World Cup Super League standings.
However, it is a tall order for Balbirnie’s team after losing 2-0 to Bangladesh in the away ODI series in Sylhet two months ago, while the Tigers beat the Irish by six wickets when they met in Dublin in 2019.
“We’re a confident team but we can’t get too far ahead of ourselves. We’ll just have to think about winning the first game and then work on the second match,” the Irish skipper said on the eve of the opening match.
One of the reasons for Balbirnie’s confidence is the return of pacer Josh Little after a successful stint in his maiden Indian Premier League (IPL).
“They wouldn’t have played too much in England apart from the 2019 World Cup, and we played them in the same year. They’re a well-run team and they’ll want to come here and whitewash us. We’ve got to make sure we can stop that and play some pretty good cricket doing that.
“Josh’s return is a huge boost — he has become a world-class operator and we’re very grateful to have him back in the squad for these games. He’s had a really good time of it in the IPL so I’m sure he will do when he goes back. It’s a great boost for us as a group and also for the bowlers, who will learn from him. He can have a good week performance-wise and have an impact on us,” the BBC quoted Balbirnie as saying.
The Irish captain is also banking on the Bangladesh players’ inexperience in playing in the United Kingdom.
“Bangladesh are a very experienced team and particularly with the bat. They know the game inside out and they’ve obviously been very successful in their own conditions playing ODI cricket.
“They wouldn’t have played too much in England apart from the 2019 World Cup, and we played them in the same year. They’re a well-run team and they’ll want to come here and whitewash us. We’ve got to make sure we can stop that and play some pretty good cricket doing that,” said the 32-year-old Balbirnie.