England v Ireland – The 2nd ODI

There have been great mini-series. I rather liked Camarena, The Drug Wars back in the day. There have been less than great mini-series too. This one looks like a less than great one, and there really isn’t anyone to blame for that other than Father Time. When Sam Billings came back from the IPL, spouting nonsense, that the opposition would be petrified of England, the World ranked #5 team in the format, I do believe, I could be charitable and say he was thinking of Ireland. He obviously wasn’t, but let’s be nice for once.

Tomorrow’s game is at Lord’s, which is nice. A load of teams would give their eye teeth to play an ODI at Lord’s, so it’s bloody disgraceful we haven’t up to now. After all they are our near neighbours, a source of some players, and a potential nice little rivalry if cricket develops the way we all hope it will worldwide. But it is what it is, and Ireland will be feeling a lot of pressure after the display at Bristol which wasn’t so much as lacklustre, as totally dull. Only a couple of players did themselves justice, and they’ll hope that more will come to play this time around.

England, in truth, never needed to get out of the low gears. The relative brevity of the game had one advantage, as I got to hear a lot of less of the increasingly annoying Nasser Hussain, but in other facets, it wasn’t really a great run out for England to test their mettle. England did the bowling job well, but these aren’t the top drawer players, and yet we know a number of the Irish can do a lot better. Jason Roy will need some time under his belt (and the irony of the sky punditry giving us the “it’s the way he plays” defence is really not lost on me) and Alex Hales was also extremely fortunate to get away with his early errors. England to bat first would be the recipe for a bit of batting practice, but the way of this world is to do the job in as an efficient manner as possible.

I have to say I never expected a great display from Ireland, so Friday wasn’t a surprise, but I would love to see one. Where we are pushed, hard, and to blow this bloody complacency that I see in certain sections. Tomorrow is just another day, as Suggs and the boys once sung, but I see another grey day for the boys in green.

Let’s hope not. For my big Irish cricket fan mate if nothing else. He’ll be there tomorrow, and if you sit next to him, or near him, you’ll probably hear him!

Comments below……

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England vs. Ireland, 1st ODI

There was always likely to be a cruel inevitability about the result of today’s game and unfortunately this reigned true in Bristol today. It has been almost two years since the teams last met in wet and windy Malahide, with whispers abound about the fate of then England coach Peter Moores after a disastrous World Cup and a ‘mediocre’ performance in the West Indies. Moores as we know was indeed sacked and England’s fortunes in white ball cricket have improved immensely since.

So then, we come onto the game with what on paper looked like a bit of a mismatch. On the one hand England’s white ball stock has never been higher, on the other hand Ireland seem to be on the way down with some of their more experienced players getting a bit long in the tooth and the new arrivals not living up to previous expectations. That the first major series between England and Ireland on English soil should take place when there is such a disparity between the teams is at best unfortunate. The Irish, so long the brave underdog with sides from the recent past, folded without so much of a whimper and thus this may do their aspirations of playing the full member side more often some significant damage. It certainly could be used by the ECB to justify England’s rather snotty approach of playing their second string for a one off match each summer moving forward.

As for the game itself, Ireland surprised most people by opting to bat first, especially as the make up of the team suggested they would be more effective chasing rather than setting a score and for the first few overs, it looked like this ploy could indeed be effective. This was aided and abetted by a few poor overs at the start from both Willey and Wood (though the latter soon began to find his rhythm and more importantly his pace) and from some aggressive striking from Sterling. However after both their openers departed and with Balbirnie also dismissed for a breezy 30, Ireland contrived to collapse from 80-2 to 126 all out, a feat that some past English teams would have been proud of. Ironically enough it was the spinners that ripped out the spine of the Irish middle and lower orders, Rashid bowled quite fantastically with the Irish simply unable to pick his variations and Joe Root also cemented his reputation of having a ‘lucky arm’. Naturally Nasser and chums weren’t as fulsome in their praise of Rashid as others might have been as Rashid is now described as a confidence bowler when he does well and fragile when he doesn’t, the poor guy simply can’t win, an outsider one may say.

With Ireland bowled out well before the Lunch interval, England has 18 or so over to chase the Irish total before the scheduled break. Indeed it appeared at one stage that we were going to get the farcical situation where they would take lunch with England needing 10 or so to win the game. Thankfully for once the umpires saw sense and extended the session by another 15 minutes for England to chase down the Irish score. Cricket has done enough of shooting itself in the foot recently, so it was refreshing that common sense finally prevailed. As for the England innings itself, Roy appeared to think that he was still at the IPL and ended up flicking a ball down the throat of midwicket for a duck, Hales played some good shots whilst being dropped twice in putting on a fairly fluent if sketchy half century and Joe Root did what Joe Root always does and made batting on a slightly tricky wicket look embarrassingly easy.

I would suggest that neither team got much out of this encounter sadly and we can all but hope that Ireland show more grit and application at Lords to make this a contest; otherwise it could be another early finish at the Home of Cricket. This would be firstly be a wasted opportunity for an Irish team looking to gain positive exposure on the world stage and secondly for the Lords members, who wouldn’t have time to gorge on their expensive hampers. Will someone please think of the Members!!

As ever, please add any thoughts below and have a good weekend one and all.