Ireland, UAE seek to keep shop window open
February 25, 2015
Start time 1330 local (330 GMT)
Ireland and the UAE represent two sides of the Associate coin. The Irish have emerged as the tightest unit outside the Full Members, many of their players fully professional via the English system, and their record at ICC events conspicuous for its gallantry. The UAE are a little more problematic, having never won a World Cup match in two appearances 19 years apart, their ranks occupied by journeymen amateurs of largely subcontinental origin.
But whatever their pathways to the Gabba, both sides have shown promise so far at this event, and both are equally eager to continue prosecuting the case for the Associates to retain a decent-sized shop window at the World Cup. William Porterfield and Khurram Khan spoke more or less from the same hymn sheet on match eve in this respect, urging the ICC and the Full Members to take an expansionist view of the world. A close and thrilling contest here would help.
Ireland should be too strong in Brisbane, on the sort of surface neither side will have encountered much before. The bounce and pace of the Gabba invariably makes for bracing cricket, and it will be a question of which side adapts more quickly enough to the task at hand. For Ireland there is something of the unknown about this match, for their win over the West Indies has imbued many observers with the sense that a quarter-final berth is now theirs to lose.
(last five matches, most recent first)
In the spotlight
If passion were the criteria, William Porterfield would lift the World Cup in Melbourne on March 29. His match eve words about the need for the game to expand rather than shrink were a rallying cry for the rest of the Associate nations, as well as a shot across the bows of the Full Members and the ICC. Against West Indies, Porterfield was the only member of his side's top four not to get going, and this time, he will be looking to enjoy the extra pace afforded by a Gabba pitch that looks white and firm.
Shaiman Anwar provided a supercharge to UAE's innings against Zimbabwe, being the main reason why a relatively sedate earlier run-rate was pushed up near enough to six per over by the end. The innings was Anwar's best in ODIs, and his team-mates will hope it represents the blooming of a talent that has lingered around first-class and club circles for more than a decade but only recently been recognised with UAE selection.
Craig Young and Alex Cusack are both eager for a chance after missing out against the West Indies, though Andy McBrine's exemplary figures in that match will make it tough for either man to squeeze back into a winning team.
Ireland (probable) 1 William Porterfield (capt), 2 Paul Stirling, 3 Ed Joyce, 4 Niall O'Brien, 5 Gary Wilson (wk), 6 Andy Balbirnie, 7 Kevin O'Brien, 8 John Mooney, 9 George Dockrell, 10 Max Sorensen, 11 Andy McBrine
Shaiman Anwar may be in line for a promotion in the batting order after his fireworks against Zimbabwe, but otherwise an unchanged XI appears likely.
UAE (possible) 1 Amjad Ali, 2 Andri Berenger, 3 Krishna Chandran, 4 Khurram Khan, 5 Swapnil Patil (wk), 6 Shaiman Anwar, 7 Rohan Mustafa, 8 Mohammad Naveed, 9 Amjad Javed, 10 Mohammad Tauqir (capt), 11 Nasir Aziz.
Pitch and conditions
The Gabba surface was first intended to be used for Saturday's washed out match between Australia and Bangladesh. Heavy rain had limited the amount of sunshine it saw, but the weather since has been warm and clear, suggesting the track will be dry, fast and evenly paced on what is forecast to be another balmy afternoon and evening.
Stats and trivia
- This will be the first match for all players and both teams at the Gabba
- It is also the first meeting between the two teams in an official ODI
- William Porterfield is 18 runs short of Kevin O'Brien's current standing as Ireland's leading ODI run maker
"The way the four teams who have qualified have performed so far in this competition has been great. We've got to keep that going, not only ourselves, but everyone else."
Will Porterfield is looking out for the fortunes of more than just his own side
"Definitely I would say in the fielding. We missed three run-out chances. They were runs that have been given to three or four boundaries. Every run matters in these kind of games because it's a high scoring tournament so far and the grounds are very fast, so I think any run you can save, obviously."
Khurram Khan identifies where the UAE must improve
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig