England vs Ireland 2nd ODI Preview: Balbirnie & Co need to see off David Willey's initial burst to challenge England
Ireland had been in Southampton for almost two weeks before the beginning of the ODI series. It seemed as if an athlete had prepared hard for the race but began to run towards the opposite side as soon as the whistle went off on D-day.
Venue - The Ageas Bowl, Southampton
Start time - 1:00 PM GMT/2:00 PM LOCAL
Head to Head record in ODIs - England: 9 Ireland: 1 No Result: 1
Weather - Showers, 12-22°C, Precipitation: 40%, Humidity: 65%, Wind: 19 km/h
In other words, Ireland had the worst possible start to the series and could never recover from it. Ireland's best batsman Paul Stirling fell into the pre-set trap, chipping an in-swing delivery from David Willey straight to mid wicket. And, Ireland could never snatch back the momentum from there on.
It was all credit to David Willey who was playing in England Blues for the first time since May last year when he was sidelined from the squad at the last moment to accommodate Jofra Archer. Willey reminded one and all as to why he was initially so successful with his devastating swing and seam.
Although there was no exaggerated movement, some green grass on The Ageas Bowl pitch meant that he could move the ball both in the air and off the surface. With the left-arm angle and one delivery going across the right-hander with the angle and another coming back in from exactly the same spot, it became a nightmare for the Ireland batting.
Gareth Delany, who was looking the best of the Irish top order, was then caught by Tom Banton as he attempted an aerial drive and the Ireland innings went completely off the rails.
David Willey a huge threat for Ireland first up
Facing David Willey will remain the biggest challenge for the Irish batsmen. They would do well to sensibly negotiate the powerplay so that they can build on through the middle and then explode at the death.
Willey, after having the winter off and having tweaked his release point, is back with his swing and this is where he is the most lethal. The seamer was also clocking 135 kph regularly and formed a good pairing with Saqib Mahmood, who also did a good job.
Tom Curran was all over the place in the first ODI but is expected to get another chance before Reece Topley comes in at his expense in the last ODI.
Onus on Ireland's top three
Ireland's top three Paul Stirling, Gareth Delany and Andrew Balbirnie remain their most trusted batsmen. Curtis Campher was extremely impressive on debut with an unbeaten 59 and is a player for the future.
Ireand, who had already been weakened by the absence of Mark Adair, suffered another blow when Barry McCarthy walked off the field in the very first over of the England chase and is likely to be replaced by Boyd Rankin for this match.
Coming to the English batting, Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow looked out of sorts which is only natural as the two were back in the thick of things after a long time. Roy scored a couple of edgy boundaries and did not pick the in-dipper which caught him plumb.
After the unfortunate event of Joe Denly's injury, who might already have played his last international match, Sam Billings was given a go and repaid the faith of the skipper after a disappointing last year as he remained unbeaten on 67 off 54 balls.
Boyd Rankin likely to be in for Ireland
Craig Young looked the most impressive bowler for Ireland and removed both Jason Roy and James Vince.
Apart from the one forced change of bringing in Boyd Rankin in place of the injured Barry McCarthy, both teams are expected not to fiddle too much with their playing XIs. If England go on to win this match, there will be a couple of changes in the final ODI of the series.
Word Cup Super League points to be had
That said, there will be no dead rubbers from now on as the Word Cup Super League has been rolled out with 10 points on offer in every ODI.
There is a chance of scattered showers but it's nothing serious as the overall precipitation is at only 40% while the humidity will be at an average of 65%. The fans will get to see a complete match on Saturday which should see the defending world champions seal the series.
There seemed a large gap between the two teams in the first ODI, particularly after Ireland were put on the back foot, courtesy of David Willey's spectacular opening success. The visitors would have to play out of their skin in order to have a close match.
Here's a look at the probable playing XI of both teams:
England - Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow (wk), James Vince, Eoin Morgan (c), Tom Banton, Sam Billings, Moeen Ali, David Willey, Adil Rashid, Tom Curran, Saqib Mahmood
Ireland - Paul Stirling, Gareth Delany, Andrew Balbirnie (c), Harry Tector, Kevin O Brien, Lorcan Tucker (wk), Simi Singh, Curtis Campher, Andy McBrine, Boyd Rankin, Craig Young
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