England vs Ireland, 1st ODI
England and Ireland meet in the first match of the inaugural ICC Cricket World Cup League competition as their three-match ODI series in Southampton kick-off. The game, at the Ageas Bowl, takes place on July 30 and is scheduled to start at 14:00 local time.
World Cup winners England will be looking for more success on home soil, with Irishman Eoin Morgan leading the team again. There are some key players missing from their World Cup success though, with the test and ODI squads currently kept separate. Ben Stokes, Joe Root, Jos Buttler, and Chris Woakes are all in the test squad and so will miss this series.
Ireland has made the short trip across the Irish Sea for their first competitive fixtures since the coronavirus pandemic was declared. The Irish have the bulk of their full-strength squad available, with Mark Adair the notable absentee despite featuring in the warm-up games.
The pitch at Southampton has subcontinental features, and it does not come as a surprise that the highest wicket-taker at the venue is a spinner and that the seamers get a fair amount of reverse-swing.
In the 2019 World Cup, as many as 60 wickets fell in 4 matches — out of which 23 belonged to the spinners. Expect nothing less than a thriller, unless one of the teams squanders big time.
Contrary to what we often witness in England, the weather on Thursday seems bright and sunny.
Eoin Morgan is the highest run-scorer at Southampton: he has smashed 610 runs in 14 matches including 2 hundred and as many half-centuries. He will be up against his former team Ireland, against whom he has blasted 269 runs in a mere 5 matches.
Jonny Bairstow’s scores at the venue read 141*, 51, and 45. In addition, he scored 127 off 88 including 7 sixes in a practice match last week. His opening partner Jason Roy has 4 half-centuries in 6 innings here. Both will leave no stone unturned to give England a blistering start.
Paul Stirling got off to a good start on the tour, scoring 53 against England Lions on Sunday. He has been at his absolute best since 2019: he managed 775 runs at 48.4, including six successive scores in excess of 50 runs.
Barring his spectacular hundred in the 2011 World Cup against England, Kevin O’Brien has not done worth highlighting. However, his 126 in the practice match suggests that there is still some gas left in the tank. His task will be to keep the innings together in the middle overs and then go full throttle at the death.
Cricket Winner Fantasy Picks
Tom Curran is a man of many layers and especially a smart pick in fantasy cricket. His variety of deliveries fetches him wickets at any phase of the game. He can use the long handle to a devastating effect, especially in death overs. And his capability to take catches in the deep is like an icing on the cake.
William Porterfield is the highest run-scorer for Ireland against England, amassing 281 runs in 9 matches.
The conditions are ideal for Moeen Ali to prosper with both bat and ball. In the first practice game, he hit 85 runs off just 45 balls and scalped 3 wickets for 40 runs. More importantly, he has had a good time at the venue: his 9 wickets grabbed him a Man of the Match award against India in the fourth Test.
David Willey will be back. Had it not been for Jofra Archer, he would have starred in the England squad for the 2019 World Cup. Overall, he has taken 52 wickets and scored a half-century in the format.
Boyd Rankin is only 4 wickets away from becoming only the second Irish player to pick 100 ODI wickets. He will be Ireland’s key bowler in the powerplay as well as death.
England: Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow (wk), James Vince, Eoin Morgan (c), Sam Billings, Moeen Ali, Tom Curran, David Willy, Adil Rashid, Reece Topley, Saqib Mahmood
Ireland: Paul Stirling, Harry Tector, Andrew Balbirnie (c), William Porterfield, Kevin O’Brien, Lorcan Tucker (wk), Simi Singh, Mark Adair, Andy McBrine, Joshua Little, Boyd Rankin