England vs Ireland 1st ODI Preview: 10 World Cup Super League points up for grabs in series opener
As the England boys showed in the warm-up match against Ireland, they are desperate to begin on the same note at which they left before the entire world came to a halt due to the Covid-19 pandemic as they prepare to play their first white-ball match at home since the dramatic World Cup final at Lord's.
Venue - The Rose Bowl, Southampton
Start time - 1:00 PM GMT/2:00 PM LOCAL
Head to Head record in ODIs - England: 8 Ireland: 1 No Result: 1
Weather - Mostly sunny, 18-24°C, Precipitation: 10%, Humidity: 49%, Wind: 14 km/h
The atmosphere at the three-match ODI series between England and Ireland will be a stark contrast for the hosts from what they experienced when they stepped on English soil to play white-ball cricket the last time, in the final of the 2019 ODI World Cup at Lord's, which some described as the most entertaining ODI ever played.
In the reality of the Covid-19 world, there may not be spectators to cheer on the heroics of the Eoin Morgan-led side but fans can rest assured to witness quality cricket from them.
World Cup Super League begins
The 3-match series marks the beginning of the World Cup Super League which further gives context to the rubber. As a leader, Eoin Morgan is never shy of trying out new players and blooding them in, as was evident on the England tour of New Zealand shortly after the World Cup. But, given that a total of 30 World Cup Super League points will be at stake in the series, Morgan may have to weigh his options.
The WSC League will feature a total of 13 teams (the 12 full member nations and Netherlands, who qualified by winning the ICC World Cricket Super League 2015-17). Each team will play four home and four away 3-match ODI series as part of the League.
The top 7 sides apart from hosts India will then qualify for the 2023 ODI World Cup while the remaining five will compete with five associate nations in the World Cup Qualifier 2023. In the League, each team gets 10 points for a victory, five points for a match which is tied, abandoned or ends without a result and no point for a loss.
TV umpires to call front-foot no balls
Another important feature which will kick start from this series onwards is that the TV umpires will call the front-foot no balls. The innovation has been tried in a couple of series, including a series between West Indies and India and has been quite successful.
This will relieve the umpires of the responsibility to look down and then look up in a split second to adjudicate on the dismissals. It will not only discipline bowlers but will mean that the batting side doesn't miss out on free hits.
Stage set for Tom Banton to blaze
England will be without some of their key players like Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Joe Root, Jofra Archer and Mark Wood who are part of the test squad. Despite that, with the opening pair of Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy and Tom Banton expected to join them at No. 3, England have ample ammunition in their arsenal.
All-rounder Moeen Ali, the newly-appointed vice captain of the England white-ball side, will be a crucial player for the team. David Willey and Tom Curran will lead the England pace attack in this game as one of Reece Topley or Saqib Mahmood will play. Adil Rashid is likely to play ahead of Liam Dawson.
In the lead up to the series, Eoin Morgan said, "Given the situation, it will be quite different to the last time we played at home, when we lifted the World Cup at Lord's, but it's nice to be starting our journey for the next edition of the tournament.
"I'm sure cricket fans all over the world will be excited to see white-ball cricket resume and we're looking forward to the challenge. Ireland are a talented team who have shown over the years that they can beat the best on their day. We look forward to what promises to be an interesting series."
Ireland bowling weakened due to the absence of Mark Adair
Ireland will go in with largely the same side which played in the warm-up match against England Lions. Paul Stirling and Gareth Denly will open the batting for them while skipper Andrew Balbirnie and William Porterfield will be slotted in the middle order.
Mark Adair, who played in the warm-up game and was Ireland's top wicket-taker in 2019, has not returned to full fitness after a surgery and will miss out. Simi Singh and Boyd Rankin will be the main bowlers for Ireland.
Here's a look at the probable playing XI of both teams:
England - Jonny Bairstow (wk), Jason Roy, Tom Banton, Eoin Morgan (c), Sam Billings, Joe Denly, Moeen Ali, David Willey, Tom Curran, Adil Rashid, Saqib Mahmood/Reece Topley
Ireland - Paul Stirling, Gareth Delany, Andrew Balbirnie (c), William Porterfield, Kevin O’Brien, Lorcan Tucker (wk), Harry Tector, Simi Singh, Andy McBrine, Barry McCarthy, Boyd Rankin
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