World T20 lowdown: All you need to know ahead of Ireland’s opener

Boys in green launch campaign against Netherlands as they seek path to Super 12s

Paul Stirling has been one of the only Irish players to play in franchise cricket around the world. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Paul Stirling has been one of the only Irish players to play in franchise cricket around the world. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

 

When and where?

Originally scheduled to be played in India, the competition has been moved to Oman and the UAE for Covid reasons. The first stage got underway on Sunday but Ireland start their campaign on Monday against the Netherlands.

What time is Ireland’s first match and where can I watch?

Sky Sports Cricket will show the whole tournament with coverage of Ireland’s opener beginning at 10.30am on Monday. The Sri Lanka match coverage starts on Wednesday at 14.30pm, while you can tune into the Namibia clash from 10.30am on Friday. 

What’s the format?

The top eight ranked sides in the world already have qualified for the Super 12s which start next Saturday. In the initial stage before then, eight other teams (including Ireland) compete in two groups for the prize of joining them. The top two in each group progress, meaning two wins from the three games would suffice.

Ireland’s opponents?

Netherlands, Sri Lanka and Namibia make up Ireland’s group. There is a familiarity there having played the Dutch in July, albeit in a series defeat. Sri Lanka are the highest ranked side but have struggled of late. Ireland would be heavy favourites against Namibia.

Ireland’s chances?

Qualifying for the Super 12s would be a success. There is a cautious optimism after a commanding warmup win over Bangladesh restored some of the confidence that would have been dented by defeats to the UAE.

Who to watch?

There is little doubt as to who Ireland’s main man is. Paul Stirling currently sits in fourth on the all-time international T20 runs chart and is in form with scores of 53 & 40 on this tour to go with a century last month. Youngsters Gareth Delany and Josh Little have also recently impressed.

Who are the favourites?

England are always brilliant in white ball cricket, but are missing two big names in Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer. Liam Livingstone was the world’s form player during the summer but has struggled during the recent Indian Premier League. Generally in T20, the side with the best bowling attack produces the most consistency. On that front, it is difficult to look past either England or India.

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