Ireland confirm warmup fixtures for T20 World Cup qualifiers in Oman

Andrew Balbirnie’s side to take on UAE, Oman and Nepal ahead of the tournament

Andrew Balbirnie and Ireland return to T20 action for a crucial World Cup qualifier. Photograph: Pankaj Nangia/Inpho

Andrew Balbirnie and Ireland return to T20 action for a crucial World Cup qualifier. Photograph: Pankaj Nangia/Inpho

 

Cricket Ireland has confirmed three warmup matches for its men’s side ahead of February’s T20 World Cup qualifiers.

Stand-in skipper Paul Stirling hinted during the West Indies series that additional T20 fixtures would be added to the schedule before the qualifiers, and today games against the UAE, Oman and Nepal have been confirmed.

These will take place on February 11th, 12th and 14th respectively. The qualifying tournament then gets underway on the 18th. Both the warmups and the qualifiers will take place in Oman.

Ireland will play the UAE again in the tournament itself after being drawn in a group alongside them, Bahrain and Germany. The top two progress to a semi-final stage, with the two winners who reach the final stamping their tickets to the T20 World Cup in Australia due to be held later this year.

The qualifiers will be streamed on ICC TV.

Ireland come into this pivotal block of games in good form having overturned the West Indies in a historic ODI series win. However, matches in the shorter T20 format have been scarce and the side’s form in them has been mixed. A series with the USA before Christmas was split 1-1 while the sole T20 scheduled against the West Indies was cancelled due to Covid.

The lack of T20 cricket played since October’s disappointing World Cup exit makes the confirmation of the warmups welcome news as Ireland look to figure out their best side ahead of the qualifiers.

Captain Andrew Balbirnie - who missed most of the West Indies series with Covid - admitted that his side is searching for T20 form ahead of the trip to Oman.

“Our T20 results haven’t been where we’ve wanted them in recent times” he admitted.

“We’re keen to rectify that in this a T20 World Cup year. We are keen to put in consistent performances that warrant being at the top table of T20 cricket. This trip is a good place to get the ball rolling for hopefully a really important year.

“It’s been a short, but welcome break for the squad after getting home from the Caribbean. I know the lads have spent the time recharging after a long and challenging tour, but now are gearing up ready to get back out there.”

The squad leaves for Oman on February 4th.

Pre-qualifier warmup fixtures (all times Irish):

February 11th, Ireland v UAE (6am)

February 12th, Ireland v Oman (10am)

February 14th, : Ireland v Nepal (10am)

T20 World Cup qualifiers group stage:

February 18th, Ireland v UAE (10am)

February 19th, Ireland v Bahrain (10am)

February 21st, Ireland v Germany (6am)

Ireland Men’s squad:

Andrew Balbirnie (c), Mark Adair, Curtis Campher, Gareth Delany, George Dockrell, Shane Getkate, Josh Little, Andy McBrine, Barry McCarthy, Simi Singh, Paul Stirling, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker, Craig Young.

Travelling reserves:

Neil Rock, Ben White.

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