The ICC World Cup 2015 will feature the associates on February 16th, with figurehead Ireland taking on struggling West Indies side at Nelson. This will be the third time when both these teams will face each other in World Cup. Their previous two battles were quite one-sided (in favour of West Indies) but seeing the current condition of West Indies team, an upset from Ireland can be expected this time around.
When the West Indies squad for the ICC World Cup 2015 was announced, it was not expected that Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard would face the axe just before an all important event. Especially Bravo’s exclusion was not understandable because he had performed reasonably well in the past one year (13 ODIs, 421 email@example.com, 21 wickets). But their chairman of selectors Mr. Clive Lloyd explained that there was ‘no axe to grind’ and the duo failed to get into the squad because of their inconsistent performances in the past. So, by all means, Lloyd focussed on the 15 best players who could possibly win the third World Cup for West Indies this time but when I go into the deep analysis of his 15 best men, I don’t even see them reaching the quarter-finals.
Let us get across to their team in detail. Their number three batsmen Darren Bravo missed the South Africa tour due to personal reasons. But he is now back for the World Cup and not surprisingly, he is shot of match practice. Chris Gayle is out of form, Dwayne Smith is highly inconsistent and so is Denesh Ramdin. Marlon Samuels looks in good form but he alone won’t be able to do anything. When it comes to their captaincy issue, young fast-bowler Jason Holder has been the responsibility to lead this side. Well, I don’t know how will he manage this because sharing the bowling workload with Jerome Taylor and Kemar Roach is itself a tough task because both are injury-prone and if either of them gets hurt during the tournament, Holder might have to go through the toughest period of his cricketing career.
There should be no doubt in saying that this would be the best chance for Ireland to seal some important wins and progress through to the quarter-finals. It’s just because they have quite a few players in the name of their skipper William Porterfield, Niall O’Brien, Kevin O’Brien and John Mooney, who would be making their third World Cup appearances. These guys surely have the experience of performing well in the crunch situations but this time around, it will all come down to an only question, have Ireland actually learnt the meaning of ‘consistency’ from their previous World Cup’s ?
When it comes to their bowling, they actually have quite a few good young pacers, who would be helpful on Australia and New Zealand pitches. The likes of Mooney, Craig Young, Stuart Thompson and Kevin O’Brien possess the ability to trouble the batsmen early on in the innings.
If their experience and the youth can play as a unit throughout the event, then the question above will surely have an affirmative answer by the end of it.
World Cup History (of their encounters):
2007: West Indies won by 8 wickets (Kingston)
2011: West Indies won by 44 runs (Mohali)
As such there are no injury concerns in both the teams and all their players are fit for selection.
Key Players To Watch Out For
West Indies: Marlon Samuels
Ireland: Kevin O’Brien
Probable Playing XI
Chris Gayle, Dwayne Smith, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons, Denesh Ramdin, Darren Sammy, Andre Russell, Jason Holder, Kemar Roach, Jerome Taylor
William Porterfield, Paul Stirling, Ed Joyce, Niall O’Brien, Gary Wilson, Andy Balbirine, Kevin O’Brien, John Mooney, Max Sorenson, Craig Young, George Dockrell
Time: 03:30 IST
Pitch and Conditions:
The pitch has a decent covering of grass but is expected to be good for strokeplay and the weather is expected to remain clear throughout the day.