Stakes raised for eliminator
Match factsSeptember 24, 2012
Start time 1930 local (1400 GMT/1500 BST)
At last we have a shoot-out. One of the flaws of this World Twenty20 has been the group-stage scheduling, which has cushioned the eight seeded teams by keeping them apart early on. If, say, England and India had played first up in Group A, then the loser's match against Afghanistan would have carried an extra edge, the knowledge that another slip would cause a catastrophic fall. Well, we have a situation like that now, with West Indies in no doubt that failure to beat Ireland will end their participation in the tournament.
Darren Sammy's side had been touted as one of the favourites but they were let down by their bowling and fielding in the D/L defeat against Australia. They will reflect, however, that making 191 when faced by the bowling of Shane Watson, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins is about as good a start with the bat as they could have made and if Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels get going against Ireland, that should be enough.
As Shane Watson alluded after Australia had eased past Ireland in the first Group B game, the Associate side come with a bright green warning tag these days. West Indies are one of the teams that already knew to take them seriously: two years ago in Guyana, they dismissed Ireland for 68, a score that is still the second-lowest total in T20 internationals and the lowest at a World Twenty20. But when that humiliating loss for the underdogs was followed by a winner-takes-all encounter against England in their next match, Ireland's tenacity was only undermined by the rain. They'll need to beat a Full Member in T20I cricket for only the second time in order to reach the Super Eights.
Form guide(completed matches, most recent first)
Ireland : LLLLW
West Indies: LWWLW
Watch out for
Ireland's top order were blown away in the first match, as they lost three wickets in the Powerplay before slumping to 33 for 4. Kevin O'Brien showed his biffing qualities by top-scoring with 35 from 29 balls at No. 6 but he needs a better platform than provided against Australia if another famous win is going to come their way.
With two highly talented spinners in Sunil Narine and George Dockrell likely to play, it will be interesting to see how they fare on a Premadasa surface beginning to show signs of turn. Narine is the blockbuster name but both he and Dockrell were treated dismissively by Australia's batsmen. If the rain holds off, West Indies' mystery spinner versus Ireland's tall, classical left-armer could be the match-up of the day.
The Ireland squad are the latest to be struck down by illness, with several players and coaching staff, including Ed Joyce and Phil Simmons, affected. If everyone is fit, Ireland are unlikely to make too many changes, though Niall O'Brien could be moved up to open in place of the struggling William Porterfield. Bringing in allrounder Andrew White would give them an extra spin option.
Ireland (probable) 1 William Porterfield (capt), 2 Paul Stirling, 3 Ed Joyce, 4 Niall O'Brien, 5 Kevin O'Brien, 6 Gary Wilson (wk), 7 Andrew White, 8 Alex Cusack, 9 Trent Johnston, 10 George Dockrell, 11 Boyd Rankin
Ravi Rampaul suffered at the hands of David Warner and West Indies could bring in another slow bowler in the shape of legspinner Samuel Badree. Andre Russell played in both warm-up matches and provides an alternative pace option.
West Indies (probable) 1 Dwayne Smith, 2 Chris Gayle, 3 Johnson Charles, 4 Marlon Samuels, 5 Dwayne Bravo, 6 Kieron Pollard, 7 Darren Sammy, 8 Dinesh Ramdin (wk), 9 Samuel Badree, 10 Sunil Narine, 11 Fidel Edwards
Pitch and conditions
After the pre-eminence of pace bowling in the first few games, there were signs that the pitch is beginning to slow down and offer more for the spinners during England's hapless effort against India. More thunder and lightning is predicted before the game and Duckworth-Lewis could add an extra frisson to what is effectively a knockout fixture - though a complete washout will condemn Ireland to the same fate as befell them in 2010.
Stats and trivia
- West Indies' 70-run victory over Ireland at the 2010 World Twenty remains their biggest winning margin when batting first.
- The last time these two teams met in international cricket was at the 2011 World Cup, with West Indies winning by 44 runs.
- Chris Gayle needs two sixes to move back above David Warner to third on the all-time leaders list. With 47, Gayle is still some way behind Brendon McCullum's 65.
"The boys have been a bit sick but it's Twenty20 and there is a lot of adrenaline and they will overcome any illness in the camp."
Ireland's Niall O'Brien predicts that his team-mates will regain their stomachs for a crucial match
"We are not going to take the Irish for granted. We have seen how they have played over the last three years and we are definitely not going to take them for granted."
Darren Sammy, West Indies' captain, reckons his side are not going to be ambushed.
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Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo