Monday, June 17, 2024

Irish fans’ guide to the T20 Cricket World Cup

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Ireland’s cricketers look for a strong start on Wednesday, as they face tournament favourites India in their first match of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

The tournament is being co-hosted by the USA and the West Indies and is taking place between June 1 to 29. Ireland’s first match is being played in New York at 3.30pm Irish time on Wednesday.

Attracting 2.5 billion fans, the ninth edition of the tournament promises to be one of the world’s most watched sporting events. This will be Ireland’s eighth successive appearance in the competition

Here’s how it works:

The Format

This year’s World Cup will feature a record number of teams, with 20 different nations competing for the title.

The tournament begins with a Group Stage, where the 20 teams are separated into four groups of five. Each team plays against their fellow group members once.

The top two sides from each group will then progress to the Super 8s and these eight are split into two further groups. Each team plays the other members of their group once.

The top two teams from each Super 8 group then proceed to the semi-Finals, with the winners progressing to the one-off final in Barbados on June 29.

Ireland’s Group

Ireland have been placed into Group A, one of the most competitive of the World Cup.

The headline team of Group A is India, who are strong favourites for the overall title.

While India have not won the T20 World Cup since the tournament’s inception in 2007, the Men in Blue have drawn on their depth of talent to field a strong squad who are very capable of victory.

The group also features slight outsiders Pakistan. Pakistan were runners-up at the last World Cup in 2020 and the Green Shirts will be looking to improve on this result and take the title.

Co-hosts USA will be hoping their home advantage spurs them to success.

Canada complete the Group A line-up.

Paul Stirling (pictured) and Ireland captain Andy Balbirnie made 73 for the first wicket in their nine-wicket win over the West Indies at the T20 World Cup
Paul Stirling will captain Ireland at the T20 World Cup
Ireland player to look out for

Belfast man Paul Stirling has been Ireland’s star batter for a number of years and is very familiar with the T20 format. Team captain at the tournament, Stirling is currently the fourth top run scorer in T20 internationals.

He will be able to lean on this experience in his direction of the Irish team.

Meanwhile, Holywood man Mark Adair will be at the forefront of the team’s pace attack. Adair proved vital in Ireland’s nail-biting victory over the Netherlands, at the Tri-Series last month, and will be hoping to carry this form into the World Cup.

He will be joined by his brother, former Ulster Rugby wing, Ross Adair.

Finally, Dubliner Josh Little returns from the Indian Premier League for the tournament. While Little lacks recent experience with the Irish team, his knowledge of the Indian game may prove vital in Ireland’s opener.

As one of the fastest bowlers in the World Cup, Little will aid Mark Adair in the Irish attack.

When and where can I watch it?

Ireland begin their competition on June 5, when they will face India.

They will then play Canada on June 7, the USA on June 14 and Pakistan on June 16

All these matches will start at 3.30pm Irish time and will be broadcast on Sky Sports Cricket.

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