What Was The Score Of The World Cup The Case for Irish Inclusion at the Top Tier of One Day International Cricket

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The Case for Irish Inclusion at the Top Tier of One Day International Cricket

An examination of Ireland’s performance in online cricket simulators suggests they are worthy of being given more opportunities at the top level. This article looks at some of the real-world considerations that underpin the simulator’s results.

Statistical comparisons

According to the official ODI rankings, Ireland have five batsmen in the top hundred. Paul Stirling is the highest ranked of these, occupying the 23rd spot, one place ahead of West Indian Chris Gayle. By comparison, the West Indies have six players in the top 100, Zimbabwe five, and the Netherlands and Kenya two each. This suggests that Ireland belong in the same class as the lower-ranked teams at the top, rather than the other affiliates.

Ireland also have five bowlers in the top 100. That number is equal to England, and just one less than World Cup semi-finalists New Zealand. Their top batsman, Trent Johnston, is just one place below Zaheer Khan, the spearhead of India’s world champion bowling attack.

Stirling averages over 42 with the bat in ODIs, which is impressive even considering the quality of bowling Ireland faces is below that of the top nations. Also, William Porterfield and Kevin O’Brien both average over 30. If you think Eoin Morgan could still represent Ireland if the opportunities were there, there is a quartet of batsmen who can certainly compete at the highest level.

Past results

Given that Ireland have played against full nations quite often, their record of 29 wins to 28 defeats (from 61 matches) suggests they have been a competitive team for a number of years. When given the opportunity to perform under pressure on world cricket’s biggest stage, they have exceeded expectations, triumphing over Pakistan and Bangladesh in the 2007 World Cup and England in the 2011 edition.

Their victory over Pakistan in 2007 knocked the much fancied Pakistanis out of the tournament and allowed Ireland to progress to the Super Eight stages. In this second round, after a good performance against England, they defeated Bangladesh.

The most glorious moment in Irish cricket history came in 2011, however, where they chased down a massive target of 328 to beat England by three wickets, with Kevin O’Brien scoring the fastest World Cup century along the way. Although they were beaten by South Africa in the pool stages, they put up a good fight against Bangladesh (losing by 27 runs) and West Indies (44).

Although Ireland cannot be said to have dominated the smaller nations, recent results show they are in a different class to the Netherlands and Canada, teams they are usually grouped with. In 2010 they narrowly lost an away series to Zimbabwe, drew a series with Canada (their only loss was a close affair decided by the Duckworth-Lewis system) and defeated the Netherlands. They also recorded a solid win against Bangladesh in Belfast.

The need for the expansion of cricket and its popularity in Ireland

Other facts suggest that cricket in Ireland is rapidly gaining popularity. Kevin O’Brien has over 5000 likes on his Cricinfo page. By comparison, the legendary Wasim Akram has just over 1,200. The 3,000-plus likes on Ireland’s team page are more than New Zealand’s 2,000, even though the two nations have roughly equal populations and New Zealand is a team placed at the highest level, with cricket the second most popular sport.

All these facts give a clear picture. The time is right to make Ireland a full nation and the ICC must act quickly before this great opportunity to expand global cricket slips away.

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