Ireland v Bangladesh, T20 series, Stormont July 17, 2012

Ireland tough in home conditions

Match Facts

July 18, 20 and 21, Stormont
Start time, first two 5.00pm (1600GMT), third 4.00pm (1500GMT)

The Big Picture

On the face of it this series of three Twenty20s may seem trivial, but it is a significant contest for both sides as they use the games as preparation for the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka. Although conditions in Stormont will not bear any resemblance to Colombo.

Ireland, desperate for more cricket against Full Members, get a chance to showcase their talent against a team they, one day, want to follow into the top flight of the international game. For Bangladesh it is a chance for their players to gain more experience away from home, but for their credibility as a Full Member it is not a series they can afford to lose. They are the team starting under the most pressure.

Ireland, in home conditions, have every right to begin this series with the belief they can win. Their side is packed full of experienced county cricketers such as Ed Joyce, Niall O'Brien, Tim Murtagh and the captain William Porterfield. The return of Boyd Rankin, the fast bowler, makes for a very strong seam attack.

Bangladesh have brought their big-name players which confirms how importantly they are treating the series. Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan are impressive international cricketers who have experience of county cricket that will serve them well in conditions likely to help the bowlers.

The Test series across the water in England will capture most of cricket attention this week but keep an eye on this battle, too.

Form guide

(Most recent first)

Ireland WWWWW
Bangladesh LWLLL

Watch out for...

Paul Stirling has said he is firmly committed to Ireland and will not be enticed by an England call, but if he continues to perform the way he has that loyalty may soon be tested for real. A hard-hitter at the top of the order he has the ability to take an attack apart - as shown with his 17-ball fifty against Afghanistan in the World Twenty20 Qualifiers - and has an international T20 strike-rate of 123. His offspin is a more-than-useful second string.

Tamim Iqbal can be one of the most fearsome strikers of a cricket ball in the world, but his T20 average is a very modest 13.60 (and a strike-rate of under a hundred), compared to his Test figure of 38.00 and ODI number of 30.07. On Bangladesh's tour to England in 2010 he lit up the Test matches with back-to-back hundreds and he needs to show he is one of the team's senior batsmen in the shortest format.

Squads

Ireland William Porterfield (captain), Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Trent Johnston, Ed Joyce, John Mooney, Tim Murtagh, Kevin O'Brien, Niall O'Brien, Andrew Poynter, Boyd Rankin, Max Sorensen, Paul Stirling, Andrew White, Gary Wilson

Bangladesh Mushfiqur Rahim (capt), Mahmudullah, Tamim Iqbal, Mohammad Ashraful, Junaid Siddique, Jahurul Islam, Shakib Al Hasan, Nasir Hossain, Ziaur Rahman, Elias Sunny, Abdur Razzak, Mashrafe Mortaza, Shafiul Islam, Nazmul Hossain, Abul Hasan.

Pitch and conditions

All the wet weather of recent weeks (and months) means it is unlikely that the pitches will have any great pace. Bangladesh won't mind if Boyd Rankin is not pinging the ball at their chests. The forecast for Wednesday is promising but further ahead there is less certainty.

Stats and trivia

  • The only other meeting between the two teams at T20 level came at the 2009 World Twenty20 in England when Ireland won at Trent Bridge by chasing down 137 to move into the Super Eights

  • Stirling's 79 against Afghanistan in the final of the World Twenty20 Qualifiers was Ireland's highest individual T20 score

  • Bangladesh have played just two T20 internationals since the previous World Twenty20 in the Caribbean

Quotes

"Off to Gatwick to fly to Belfast for Bang 20/20's...loving the frequent trips home for Ire games."
Ed Joyce tweets as he heads off from Sussex back to Ireland

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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