Ireland v Australia, ODI, Stormont June 22, 2012

Ireland no longer just a warm up

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Match Facts

June 23, 2012, Stormont
Start time 10.45 (0945GMT)

The Big Picture

Ireland do not want to be seen as doughty minnows any longer. With a squad now furnished as much by accomplished county players as jobbing Australian expatriates, and a clear path to the next World Cup laid out ahead of them, the Irish are chasing more regular international contests, and need strong results to earn it. The visit of Australia for a one-off match in Belfast is the sort of opportunity the hosts have been seeking to further their ambitions of a place at cricket's top table, proving they can consistently match wits and skills with the major nations outside the occasional thrill of a tournament upset, as happened in World Cup pool matches against Pakistan in 2007 and England in 2011.

Following the Australia fixture, Ireland will face Afghanistan in a round of 2015 World Cup qualifiers, meaning the visit of Michael Clarke's team will provide pointers towards the shape of the Irish side to play those matches. The likes of Tim Murtagh, the Middlesex seamer who has recently qualified to play for Ireland, will be looking to shore up places in the team, and others including Ed Joyce and George Dockrell will want some international from behind them when they enter those fixtures. Later in the year is the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka, where Ireland are scheduled to face Australia once more in their opening match. Events at Stormont will give both sides a good idea of what to expect in September, albeit in conditions that could not be more different.

For Clarke's team, the match offers a chance to get further into the right groove for facing England over five ODIs from June 29. Australia are defending their place as the world's top-ranked ODI team, a concern made more central by the introduction of a new central contracting system that places heavier emphasis on international performance when weighting the pay offered to the players. The Australians looked sturdy enough in their opening tour fixture against Leicestershire, but will know that Ireland will offer a far sterner test.

However, it may not even get started. The weather has been so poor that the umpires will inspect at 6am on Saturday to assess conditions.

Form guide

(Most recent first)

Ireland WLWWL
Australia WLTLW

Watch out for...

Alongside his Tasmanian teammate Ed Cowan, George Bailey now finds himself a member of an Australian team but not a central contract holder. A brief cameo at Grace Road showed that Bailey was in reasonable touch - If far from impervious to the moving ball - and he will want to do more against Ireland to shore up his middle order spot ahead of Peter Forrest. This match will also offer decent scouting opportunities for Bailey, as he will lead Australia in the World T20 and thus will make assessments of his Irish opposition in this fixture.

One of the brightest young batsmen in limited-overs cricket around the world, Paul Stirling can raise his reputation another notch by performing against Australia. In addition to bolstering his team's efforts to beat Clarke's team, A flash-filled innings by Stirling would enhance his claims to T20 contracts with overseas teams, with the teams of the Big Bash League in particular casting around for fresh talent to introduce in Australia this summer. Beyond there lies the IPL, an attractive prospect for a young batsman whose country has yet to reach the level of Test match status.

Team news

Ireland have a strong squad to pick from full of players with county experience. Tim Murtagh could make his international debut while all eyes will again be on Kevin O'Brien. Ed Joyce, meanwhile, has a hundred against Australia when he played for England.

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

Michael Clarke did not reveal any team news after arriving in Belfast and wanted to assess conditions, but he will be keen to give as many players as possible a run before the England series.

Australia squad David Warner, Matthew Wade (wk), Shane Watson, Michael Clarke (capt), David Hussey, George Bailey, Steve Smith, Mitchell Johnson, Clint McKay, James Pattinson, Xavier Doherty, Pat Cummins, Peter Forrest, Ben Hilfenhaus, Brett Lee

Pitch and conditions

Sadly for Cricket Ireland, who put in huge effort for these marquee international fixtures, the forecast is poor for Saturday. If they do get play expect the pitch to be on the slow side.

Stats and trivia

  • When the teams played each other in Dublin in 2010 Australia won by 39 runs but not before a fright as Paul Stirling and William Porterfield put on 80 in 10 overs.

  • Michael Clarke made a duck in that fixture - stumped off Alex Cusack.

  • Brett Lee needs another five ODI wickets to pass Glenn McGrath's mark of 381.

Quotes

"We believe in ourselves and I think above all that match in 2010 gives us confidence. We proved that we can compete with a fantastic Australia side and that we can go up against them and get close. Hopefully we can do that again."
Gary Wilson expects to push Australia close

"I think the more we win the more momentum we take into the series against Engalnd but it is important we do focus on the opposition we're playing against. The Ireland cricket board will do everything in their power to try to get a game tomorrow and the Australian team's very keen to get out there and get the opportunity to play here in Belfast."
Michael Clarke is an anxious for a match as Cricket Ireland

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • 30-30-150 on June 23, 2012, 10:00 GMT

    @AKS286: It was a probable XI, the one Ireland MIGHT play not the team I would pick. Anyhow Wilson is a better bat than Niall, so I wouldn't be picking him ahead of Wilson.

  • Hammond on June 23, 2012, 9:42 GMT

    What is with all the Aussies in the side? Is this an Australian B side like some people call England South Africa B?

  • WickyRoy.paklover on June 23, 2012, 9:20 GMT

    @Aks286,i higly regard ireland as a team,they r more talntd n well organizd than wi,nz,zim,bd bt dreamng of surpasng pak especialy in tests z realy going to be too much 4 irland.Even sa,aus,eng gonna strugle against pak in sbcntinent how can irland survive?THOUGH MORE THAN BST OF LUCK TO THEM.

  • Hammond on June 23, 2012, 6:58 GMT

    @jonesy- agreed. Australia should feel like they can compete.

  • on June 23, 2012, 6:58 GMT

    AKS286 I respect your views but putting a team which beat england by 3 to nil behind Ireland is not fair! :)

  • AKS286 on June 23, 2012, 6:38 GMT

    @RAHANE FANS no n'o brian in your team why? THE CELTIC WARRIORS are ready to shock the Oz. go ireland go best wishes. the test rank will above to BANG, WI, PAK, NZ.

  • AdoSR on June 23, 2012, 5:14 GMT

    How long until Morgan can do a Joyce and qualify for Ireland again? As an Aussie, I would love you guys to get test status. You deserve it.

  • on June 23, 2012, 5:04 GMT

    From Bangladesh, with best wishes to the Irish.

  • jonesy2 on June 23, 2012, 5:02 GMT

    ireland need to remember that australia are no england although they should still feel as though they can compete

  • on June 23, 2012, 4:07 GMT

    From Bangladesh,My question to ICC why ireland still had to play qualification round before any ICC major tournament.They are quite formidable side & threat to many top ranking team.They should be given full time one day status & should not play any qualification matches.

  • 30-30-150 on June 23, 2012, 10:00 GMT

    @AKS286: It was a probable XI, the one Ireland MIGHT play not the team I would pick. Anyhow Wilson is a better bat than Niall, so I wouldn't be picking him ahead of Wilson.

  • Hammond on June 23, 2012, 9:42 GMT

    What is with all the Aussies in the side? Is this an Australian B side like some people call England South Africa B?

  • WickyRoy.paklover on June 23, 2012, 9:20 GMT

    @Aks286,i higly regard ireland as a team,they r more talntd n well organizd than wi,nz,zim,bd bt dreamng of surpasng pak especialy in tests z realy going to be too much 4 irland.Even sa,aus,eng gonna strugle against pak in sbcntinent how can irland survive?THOUGH MORE THAN BST OF LUCK TO THEM.

  • Hammond on June 23, 2012, 6:58 GMT

    @jonesy- agreed. Australia should feel like they can compete.

  • on June 23, 2012, 6:58 GMT

    AKS286 I respect your views but putting a team which beat england by 3 to nil behind Ireland is not fair! :)

  • AKS286 on June 23, 2012, 6:38 GMT

    @RAHANE FANS no n'o brian in your team why? THE CELTIC WARRIORS are ready to shock the Oz. go ireland go best wishes. the test rank will above to BANG, WI, PAK, NZ.

  • AdoSR on June 23, 2012, 5:14 GMT

    How long until Morgan can do a Joyce and qualify for Ireland again? As an Aussie, I would love you guys to get test status. You deserve it.

  • on June 23, 2012, 5:04 GMT

    From Bangladesh, with best wishes to the Irish.

  • jonesy2 on June 23, 2012, 5:02 GMT

    ireland need to remember that australia are no england although they should still feel as though they can compete

  • on June 23, 2012, 4:07 GMT

    From Bangladesh,My question to ICC why ireland still had to play qualification round before any ICC major tournament.They are quite formidable side & threat to many top ranking team.They should be given full time one day status & should not play any qualification matches.

  • on June 23, 2012, 3:30 GMT

    Bangladesh and Zimbabwe beat south Africa. Ireland may get inspiration from both match. go ahead. it is a time for beating big bro and rising small teams

  • 30-30-150 on June 23, 2012, 2:34 GMT

    Exciting match on cards. Hoping for clear weather. Ireland have a strong bowling attack despite the absence of their strike bowler Boyd Rankin. Stirling and the young spinner Dockrell will be the key players for Ireland. Possible playing XI for Ireland: STIRLING, PORTERFIELD (c), JOYCE, WILSON (w), K.O'BRIEN, CUSACK, WHITE, MOONEY, JOHNSTON, MURTAGH, DOCKRELL

  • Smithy49 on June 22, 2012, 23:59 GMT

    I really hope that this game doesn't get washed out, I have been waiting to see AUS play since they played West Indies.

  • Tjoeps on June 22, 2012, 23:52 GMT

    Up the Irish! From a Saffer, the best of luck, you guys deserves this chance! I need a new team to support given the Proteas performance in Zim... Have fun and enjoy the game!

  • Bruisers on June 22, 2012, 22:56 GMT

    @wiseshah - Why would India be scared of Ireland? It was Pakistan who got knocked out of WC five years ago due to their loss to Ireland! India have never lost to Ireland but Pakistan have. So Pakistan should be scared not India.

  • jackthelad on June 22, 2012, 22:26 GMT

    Ireland have a pretty respectable one-day side, they are already ahead of wannabes like Afghanistan, should be next in line to step up ... watch this space!

  • wiseshah on June 22, 2012, 20:33 GMT

    we bangladeshi supporter are behind ireland. go ireland and one day u will beat so called big team in every match but before that u have to get opportunity to play against them but so called big team dont want to take that risk, they are scared, specially india

  • EnglishCricket on June 22, 2012, 19:44 GMT

    Best of Luck Ireland! I just hope the weather doesn't ruin this important day for Ireland and its country.

  • arshad771 on June 22, 2012, 19:12 GMT

    best of luck ireland..give hard time to Australia

  • India_Rules_Everybody on June 22, 2012, 19:09 GMT

    Wish Irish the best of luck! They played great cricket during the last WC and should have been automatic choice for the 2015 edition.

  • landl47 on June 22, 2012, 18:32 GMT

    It will be a real shame for Ireland if the game is ruined by the weather. This could be a good test for the Aussies, especially the batting line-up.

  • on June 22, 2012, 18:30 GMT

    I love Ireland and as a proud Cricket fan, they deserve to have full membership status in fact, they're in a far better position then what Bangladesh were back in 2000 even though I support Bangladesh. I'm also glad Bangladesh will be playing Ireland next month in 3 T20 matches where I have a funny feeling Ireland will give Bangladesh a very tough challenge and may even win a game. But nevertheless its great that Bangladesh though minnows themselves are helping out Associate teams unlike cricketing giants India. Anyway! hope you do well against Australia tomorrow and pray that the weather holds out and maybe even surprise a shock. Can't wait to see a player like Paul Stirling in action :)

  • Ra_Thore on June 22, 2012, 18:26 GMT

    IRL and BD are young teams and all they need to do is put forth aggression with confidence. Don't feel intimated by the foes from dominant teams.

  • on June 22, 2012, 18:14 GMT

    I think the stats and trivia section needs some editing. It says " brett lee needs to play another 5 ODIs to pass glenn mcgrath's mark of 381". Whereas he needs "5 wickets" to pass glenn mcgrath's record of 381....

  • muannis on June 22, 2012, 17:52 GMT

    best wishes for Ireland from Bangladesh. Imagine that, how strong the team Ireland could have been had Eoin Morgan play for them !

  • on June 22, 2012, 17:49 GMT

    i hope they get a game ireland can win this game ireland should be a test nation, the o'brien bros stirling will get the runs go ireland!!!!!

  • BRUTALANALYST on June 22, 2012, 17:34 GMT

    They'd be quite dangerous if Morgan and Docktrell were playing for them. I always thought after they beat Pakistan in the worldcup they should have been taken more seriously and given a boost in funding, instead the ECB are happy to keep them as they are so that England can continue to take their star players ! Must be very annoying for Irish cricket lovers and players who "no longer want to be considered minnows"

  • Heisenburg on June 22, 2012, 17:27 GMT

    If Australia is going to play a full strength side, which is what they should do, they should play, 1) Warner 2) Wade 3) Watson 4) Clarke 5) bailey 6) D Hussey 7) Lee 8) McKay 9) Doherty 10) Hilfenhaus, for a nother person, it would be best if we stick a genuine all rounder in like Christian, McDonald or Mitch Marsh.

  • AKS286 on June 22, 2012, 17:10 GMT

    good luck ireland. deafeat the opponent and spread message that IRISH team is better than WI.IRISH team is the next test team.

  • Tlotoxl on June 22, 2012, 17:06 GMT

    Weather a problem.... what a surprise in Ireland, that is why they will never be a test team.

  • on June 22, 2012, 16:47 GMT

    best of luck ireland.. next game with bangladesh... they will fit for icc t20 world cup 2012 by playing those matches against bangladesh...

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  • on June 22, 2012, 16:47 GMT

    best of luck ireland.. next game with bangladesh... they will fit for icc t20 world cup 2012 by playing those matches against bangladesh...

  • Tlotoxl on June 22, 2012, 17:06 GMT

    Weather a problem.... what a surprise in Ireland, that is why they will never be a test team.

  • AKS286 on June 22, 2012, 17:10 GMT

    good luck ireland. deafeat the opponent and spread message that IRISH team is better than WI.IRISH team is the next test team.

  • Heisenburg on June 22, 2012, 17:27 GMT

    If Australia is going to play a full strength side, which is what they should do, they should play, 1) Warner 2) Wade 3) Watson 4) Clarke 5) bailey 6) D Hussey 7) Lee 8) McKay 9) Doherty 10) Hilfenhaus, for a nother person, it would be best if we stick a genuine all rounder in like Christian, McDonald or Mitch Marsh.

  • BRUTALANALYST on June 22, 2012, 17:34 GMT

    They'd be quite dangerous if Morgan and Docktrell were playing for them. I always thought after they beat Pakistan in the worldcup they should have been taken more seriously and given a boost in funding, instead the ECB are happy to keep them as they are so that England can continue to take their star players ! Must be very annoying for Irish cricket lovers and players who "no longer want to be considered minnows"

  • on June 22, 2012, 17:49 GMT

    i hope they get a game ireland can win this game ireland should be a test nation, the o'brien bros stirling will get the runs go ireland!!!!!

  • muannis on June 22, 2012, 17:52 GMT

    best wishes for Ireland from Bangladesh. Imagine that, how strong the team Ireland could have been had Eoin Morgan play for them !

  • on June 22, 2012, 18:14 GMT

    I think the stats and trivia section needs some editing. It says " brett lee needs to play another 5 ODIs to pass glenn mcgrath's mark of 381". Whereas he needs "5 wickets" to pass glenn mcgrath's record of 381....

  • Ra_Thore on June 22, 2012, 18:26 GMT

    IRL and BD are young teams and all they need to do is put forth aggression with confidence. Don't feel intimated by the foes from dominant teams.

  • on June 22, 2012, 18:30 GMT

    I love Ireland and as a proud Cricket fan, they deserve to have full membership status in fact, they're in a far better position then what Bangladesh were back in 2000 even though I support Bangladesh. I'm also glad Bangladesh will be playing Ireland next month in 3 T20 matches where I have a funny feeling Ireland will give Bangladesh a very tough challenge and may even win a game. But nevertheless its great that Bangladesh though minnows themselves are helping out Associate teams unlike cricketing giants India. Anyway! hope you do well against Australia tomorrow and pray that the weather holds out and maybe even surprise a shock. Can't wait to see a player like Paul Stirling in action :)