Rain a worry as Ireland, Bangladesh chase first wins
May 19, 2017
Start time 10.45am local (0945 GMT)
A win percentage of 31.5 in completed ODIs since the start of last year pretty much encapsulates how far Ireland have slid in recent times. In two series preceding the ongoing tri-nation tournament, they lost 2-3 to Afghanistan in Greater Noida, before being swept 2-0 by England in England.
Conditions played a part in their toils against Afghanistan as Ireland couldn't quite cope with the slow surfaces in Greater Noida and succumbed to a team that clearly had superior spin stocks. The familiarity of the cold, harsh climes of Malahide, however, hasn't bred success for them either: they came up short against a weakened New Zealand team, led by Tom Latham.
An ageing team has also played a part - the average age of their XI against New Zealand was 29. Veterans like William Porterfield, Niall O'Brien, Kevin O'Brien and Gary Wilson - all of whom played significant roles in Ireland becoming the top Associate nation - are well into their 30s now.
Bangladesh's graph has moved in the opposite direction. Since making the 2015 World Cup quarterfinal, series wins over Pakistan, India and South Africa have made them a force to be reckoned with in home conditions. They came into the tri-series fresh off levelling Test, ODI and T20I series on the tour of Sri Lanka. However, their recent record outside the subcontinent hasn't been too encouraging. They returned from their tour of New Zealand without a single win in eight international games across formats and have also had mixed results in Ireland overall, with four wins from eight international matches.
Ireland LLLLW (last five completed matches, most recent first)
In the spotlight
Peter Chase, the 23-year old right-arm pacer, has had a mixed start to his ODI career. Chase has 23 wickets from 16 matches, but also averages 38.95 and has an economy rate of 6.83. His performances in this series have typified that. In the opener, he rocked Bangladesh with early strikes before rain intervened, and finished with 3 for 33 in six overs. In his next match, he was slapped for 74 runs in ten overs by New Zealand. Chase can generate pace and bounce and, in conditions amiable for pace-bowling, this series is an opportunity to bring some consistency in his game and step up in the absence of senior bowler Boyd Rankin.
Tamim Iqbal has one fifty and a century from his last five outings with the bat. His good form augurs well given Bangladesh's tendency to lose wickets in a cluster, often from good positions. Tamim's experience is also welcome in what are likely to be tough batting conditions.
Ireland gave Simi Singh an ODI debut in place of Stuart Thompson against New Zealand, and Simi had a forgettable match scoring 9 off 14 balls in a chase of 290. Thompson himself had replaced Ed Joyce in the series opener against Bangladesh. If Joyce has recovered from his back injury, it is fairly certain neither Simi nor Thompson will find a place in the XI.
Ireland (probable) 1 William Porterfield (capt), 2 Paul Stirling, 3 Niall O'Brien (wk), 4 Andy Balbirnie, 5 Kevin O'Brien, 6 Gary Wilson, 7 Stuart Thompson/Ed Joyce, 8 George Dockrell, 9 Barry McCarthy, 10 Tim Murtagh, 11 Peter Chase
In Bangladesh's previous match, against New Zealand, Taskin Ahmed made way for the returning Mashrafe Mortaza, who had missed the first match due to an over-rate suspension. Bangladesh failed to defend 257, but with Mustafizur Rahman and Rubel Hossain both taking wickets, Taskin will likely miss out again.
Bangladesh (probable) 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Soumya Sarkar, 3 Sabbir Rahman, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 5 Shakib Al Hasan, 6 Mahmudullah, 7 Mosaddek Hossain, 8 Mehedi Hasan, 9 Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), 10 Rubel Hossain, 11 Mustafizur Rahman
Pitch and conditions
The Malahide pitch is known for being green and pace-friendly but it also turned out to be a good batting track in the previous match between New Zealand and Ireland. Spinners from both sides also did well, with Mitchell Santner claiming a five-for. While it is expected to be partly sunny around start time, rain is forecast at noon and there is cloud cover expected right through the afternoon.
Stats and trivia
- Mahmudullah needs 28 more to complete 3000 runs in ODI cricket.
- The average scoring rate in the first innings in Malahide is 5.7, which translates into an average first-innings score of 285.
Akshay Gopalakrishnan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo