Ireland v West Indies T20

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Paul Stirling is one of Ireland's best players. Image courtesy of
The West Indies  will be looking to avoid a premature exit from the competition when they face Ireland  in Colombo, with the winner set to advance to the Super Eights while the loser will be going home.

Ireland has long been considered the best non-Test playing nation in the world and will have to be every bit as good as that and better if they are to trouble a team chock-full of Twenty20 specialists. William Porterfield’s  side never recovered from losing their skipper to the first ball of the match against the Aussies and know that a good start will be vital if they are to cause the first big shock at this year’s World Twenty20 event. Rotund opening batsman Paul Stirling  made only seven in that match but is capable of much better, with three half centuries in Twenty20 Internationals already this year.

Master blaster Chris Gayle  is regarded as one of the best limited overs players in the game and rightly so, with his 800+ runs in T20 matches for the Windies coming at an average of 36 and a strike rate of 145. He is hardly the only damaging batsman in their ranks however, with Kieron Pollard  also having developed a reputation that has seen him travel the world playing for various Twenty20 franchises.

Despite the Premadasa surface showing good pace and bounce in the first week of the tournament, indications from the most recent match between India and England at the ground are that it is starting to slow and take more turn. Sunil Narine  and George Dockrell  are both shrewd slow bowlers in limited overs cricket and will be looking to make a mark on this match for their respective teams.

Ireland has won just a solitary Twenty20 International against a Test playing nation, having beaten Bangladesh at the 2009 World Twenty20 tournament, but has a history of causing big upsets in the 50 over showpiece event. They beat England at last year’s World Cup and shocked Pakistan in 2007 to knock them out of the tournament. The only 20 over match between these sides, at the 2010 World Twenty20, resulted in a comfortable 70 run win for the West Indies.

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