Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, Barbados
Can Ireland repeat their World Cup 2015 feat against the solid West Indies team in the first match of the ODI series?
West Indies to Win!
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As West Indies welcome Ireland to play 3 match ODI series followed by 3 T20Is, the first match always holds the significance for both sides as it sets to tone for the entire tour. West Indies just returned from India where they played two series, with Afghanistan first and later with India. Their players, mainly their batsmen like Shai Hope and Nicholas Pooran have played some exceptional innings there.
Ireland’s tour comes after their white-wash over Zimbabwe in the 3-match ODI series held in Ireland. However, their Tri-Series with Bangladesh and West Indies, earlier in May 2019, was forgettable as they failed to register a single win there. Can they produce better results this time under new skipper Andrew Balbirnie?
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The key all-rounder and Test captain for West Indies, Jason Holder has been rested from the first two games of series. As per West Indies’ selector Roger Harper, the decision was taken to rest Holder due to the heavy workload he has had over a year. Holder, the number one ranked Test all-rounder, is also a crucial player in the white-ball formats.
West Indies’ previous ODI series against Afghanistan and India were successful in more than one way. Their ODI series win (3-0) against Afghanistan was the first in five-years, while against India, their competitive performance proved they are heading upwards, even though they lost 3-match ODI series (1-2). Thanks to Shai Hope, Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer and Pollard, West Indies batting have been consistent and up to the mark, even though some improvements in the bowling department, especially during death overs, can make them an impeccable side.
In the last 10 ODIs, Shai Hope (563 runs, average 93.83) has been the top-scorer, followed by Nicholas Pooran (419 runs), while Sheldon Cottrell leads the bowling unit with 10 wickets, followed by Keemo Paul (9 wickets in just 5 matches).
Key Players: Kieron Pollard, Shai Hope, Sheldon Cottrell
Kieron Pollard, Shimron Hetmyer, Brandon King, Hayden Walsh Jr, Nicholas Pooran, Sheldon Cottrell, Roston Chase, Shai Hope, Evin Lewis, Alzarri Joseph, Keemo Paul
Ireland has a new captain in Andrew Balbirnie as William Porterfield has stepped down after 11 years in the role. The middle-order batsman Balbirnie has scored 1813 in 61 innings with an average of 31.80, which includes 5 centuries and 8 half-centuries. His knock of 124-balls 135 along with Stirling (77 runs) and O'Brien (63 off 40 balls) helped the team to post a huge total of 327 against West Indies in their last encounter at Dublin in the Tri-Series. Though failing to contain Sunil Ambris, the bowlers could not defend the total and at the end lost it by 5 wickets.
Nonetheless, it was a very good learning experience for the team, and it meant that they have the potential to score big and better bowling can power the side cross the finishing line. Can they do it this time under new leadership and with all the lessons they learned? Maybe yes, if they find the right balance between attacking and defending bowling tactics, as per Balbirnie.
In the last 9 ODIs, Paul Stirling (502 runs, average 55.77) has been the top-scorer, followed by Andy Balbirnie (352 runs), while Mark Adair is the leading wicket-taker for Ireland with 15 wickets in last 9 ODIs, followed by Boyd Rankin (13 in 8 matches).
Key Players : Andrew Balbirnie, Paul Stirling, Boyd Rankin
Kevin O'Brien, Mark Richard Adair, Simi Singh, Andy McBrine, WTS Porterfield, Paul Stirling, Barry McCarthy, WB Rankin, Lorcan Tucker, Gareth Delany, Andy Balbirnie
On the match day, the weather will be patchy rain possible with the daytime temperature reaching 27°c and nighttime minimum temperature is expected to be around 25°c. Precipitation of around 2.3 mm, cloud covering 50% of the sky, with the humidity around 76% is predicted.
The venue for the match is Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, Barbados.
At this venue, in the last five games, 4 times team batting first have won. Anything above 280 can be considered a very good total on this ground. The average first innings score is 233 and the highest total on this ground is 364, which is also the highest total chased, while the lowest total defended is 197.
It is recommended to bat first after winning the toss.
To Ireland’s credit, they won 3-match ODI series against Zimbabwe (3-0) at home before the West Indies tour. However, 9th ranked West Indies and 11th ranked Ireland played a total of 9 matches so far, and Ireland managed just one win against the West Indies, the hosts won 7, while 1 match was abandoned.
Ireland’s victory was nearly five-years back when they defeated West Indies in ICC 2015 World Cup. The statistics are heavily inclined in favor of the West Indies. The hosts have made positive strides recently and it is likely to continue against the Ireland team as well.
Our prediction is that West Indies will defeat Ireland and take the early lead in the 3-ODI series.
West Indies to Win!
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