Team Preview: Ireland hope for improved showing in the Caribbean

Ireland. © ICC

Ireland will go into the tournament as rank outsiders. Pundits have suggested that they may struggle to stay competitive. They will use the spirit of the Irish hockey team that reached the final of the world cup earlier in the year.

This will be Ireland’s third finals tournament in this format, having qualified in 2014 and 2016. They failed to win a game during those campaigns but feel confident that they can cause an upset or two this time around.

It will also be the final tournament for Clare Shillington and Ciara Metcalfe who both bow out from international duty.

Strengths:

They have 10 players in the squad from the 2016 side that travelled to India. Having that experience will be important as they look to make their mark in the Caribbean. They also have players with Women’s Big Bash experience in Isobel Joyce, Kim Garth and Celeste Raack.

Key Players:

Those WBBL players are going to be key to Ireland’s hopes. Joyce who during the last Big Bash took over the captaincy for the last few games there saw an upturn in results. She will be a key member of the squad and will be able to support captain Laura Delany.

Kim Garth is an important member of the Sydney Sixers and last season took 13 wickets as her side won the WBBL for the second year in a row.

Celeste Raack is a leg-spinner from Australia who holds an Irish passport. She plays for Hobart Hurricanes in the WBBL and with pitches set to turn in the West Indies, she will be a go-to player for her team.

Areas of Concern:

The fact that Ireland hasn’t won a game in the finals having lost 8 games from 8 and the beating they received at the hands of New Zealand during the summer suggests that their struggles at this level are set to continue.

They are in the toughest group of the two facing Australia, India and New Zealand will be tough and even Pakistan should have enough about them to see them off.

Youngsters to Watch Out for:

Gaby Lewis made her debut for Ireland in 2014, what is even more remarkable is that she was only 13 at the time. While her figures don’t show just how good she is at international, yet big things are expected of the 17-year-old batter and this could be the stage on which she shows her undoubted potential.

Lucy O’Reilly will turn 19 during the World T20. O’Reilly was the leading wicket-taker in the qualifying tournament will 11 wickets. It led her to be named in the ICC Global Development Squad.

Performance over the Last Editions:

It shows the development of cricket in Ireland that they have qualified for the last two ICC World T20s. The gulf between them and the bigger nations has been evident. That gap appears to be getting bigger between those that have professional domestic tournaments.

In both the 2014, and 2016 competitions they have lost all 8 games.

 

Squad: 

Laura Delany (c), Kim Garth, Cecelia Joyce, Isobel Joyce, Shauna Kavanagh, Amy Kenealy, Gaby Lewis, Lara Maritz, Ciara Metcalfe, Lucy O’Reilly, Celeste Raack, Eimear Richardson, Clare Shillington, Rebecca Stokell, Mary Waldron.