Ireland v Zimbabwe, World T20, Group B, Sylhet March 16, 2014

Rising Associate v struggling Full Member

29

Match Facts

March 17, 2014
Start time 1530 local (0930 GMT)

Big Picture

One is a Full Member and one an Associate. That itself tells the story, and also does not. Zimbabwe are probably the poorest advertisement for a Full Member with their chronic struggles - financial, administrative, cricketing. But they continue to be a Full Member. Ireland are probably the best advertisement for an Associate, banging hard on the door of cricket's small and privileged clique with encouraging performances. But they continue to be an Associate. One can argue in favour of changing the status quo in both cases.

In that sense, this is a clash filled with significance, both symbolic and real, for the wider cricketing world. Symbolic because it pits one still included mostly by virtue of being already in against one still excluded mostly by virtue of having never been allowed in.

Real because Bangladesh v Afghanistan and Ireland v Zimbabwe were widely expected to be the two games that would decide who qualifies for the Super 10 stage of the World T20. Bangladesh could have slipped on the banana peel again, like they did in the Asia Cup, but this time, they crushed it. Both Ireland and Zimbabwe will have probably seen that and drawn their lessons from it.

Zimbabwe have endured the embarrassment of a loss to Hong Kong in the warm-ups but rebounded by downing Ireland's fellow Associate high-fliers Afghanistan. Ireland beat Nepal in their first practice game but were then quelled by Bangladesh. Both sides can claim the upper hand on various counts. Zimbabwe have subsisted on training sessions and practice games for months now, while Ireland have recently defeated West Indies in the Caribbean.

Zimbabwe have been to Bangladesh many more times than Ireland have, and their players have been a regular feature in Bangladeshi leagues such as the BPL and the DPL.

Neither side has played in Sylhet, though, and the brand new Sylhet Divisional Stadium would be a fitting location for those seeking to establish a new order to challenge the old, and the old to resist them.

Form guide

Ireland LWWWL
Zimbabwe LLLWL

Watch out for

Zimbabwe have not played international cricket since September, so there is little to go by in terms of current form. Hamilton Masakadza struck 93 off just 52 balls, including seven sixes, against Afghanistan in the warm-up. He likes to take his time in the one-dayers, but once in the mood, he can cause plenty of damage in quick time. He also has three T20 hundreds to his name.

Paul Stirling may not have a hundred in the format, but by the time he falls, he's often set the match up for Ireland with his uninhibited hitting. To have a strike-rate of close to 140 over 84 games takes some doing, and to add to that, he can also be utilised for some overs of offspin, something that Ireland will likely find handy in Bangladesh.

Team news

William Porterfield spoke highly of the young offspinner Andy McBrine, saying he had impressed over the last six weeks in the West Indies and in the warm-up matches. The combination of the experienced George Dockrell and the rookie McBrine could test Zimbabwe, who have tended to struggle against spin in the past.

Ireland 1 William Porterfield (capt), 2 Paul Stirling, 3 Ed Joyce, 4 Andrew Poynter, 5 Gary Wilson (wk), 6 Kevin O'Brien, 7 Max Sorensen, 8 Alex Cusack, 9 Tim Murtagh, 10 George Dockrell, 11 Andy McBrine/Stuart Thompson

Zimbabwe have brought along two legspinners in Tafadzwa Kamungozi and Natsai M'Shangwe. The 26-year old Kamungozi last played for Zimbabwe back in 2006. Sikandar Raza has opened with Hamilton Masakadza in both the warm-up matches. Will Zimbabwe continue with the same pairing or go back to Vusi Sibanda at the top of the order?

Zimbabwe 1 Hamilton Masakadza, 2 Sikandar Raza, 3 Brendan Taylor (capt & wk), 4 Vusi Sibanda, 5 Sean Williams, 6 Malcolm Waller, 7 Elton Chigumbura, 8 Prosper Utseya, 9 Natsai M'Shangwe/Tafadzwa Kamungozi, 10 Tinashe Panyangara, 10 Tendai Chatara/Brian Vitori/Shingi Masakadza

Stats and trivia

  • Ireland beat Zimbabwe in the previous meeting between the two sides, a one-dayer in 2010
  • This will be the first T20 between the two sides
  • Sylhet will become the 208th international cricket venue

Quotes

"The fact that we haven't played them in a T20 before does not really matter. When you play against each other in international cricket, everyone knows pretty much everyone."
Ireland captain William Porterfield

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on March 17, 2014, 9:29 GMT

    I dont know but I see great gaming of NEPAL winning and losing is on one side still country like NEPAL AFGHANISTAN seems to be playing so good

  • on March 17, 2014, 9:29 GMT

    where is the bowler vitori? he is a dangerous seamer.

  • reyme on March 17, 2014, 8:08 GMT

    All the ZIM top players had been playing regularly in local Bangladesh premiere leagues such as DPL and BPL. So ZIM players are very accustomed to BD cricket condition. ZIM should win this. Sylhet pitch will help the pacers.

  • on March 17, 2014, 8:00 GMT

    if Bangladesh and Zimbabwe can keep their status as test nations then why can't Afghanistan and Ireland be given them. they beat them each time. Bangladesh didn't win a game in the Asia cup, but Afghanistan did by beating Bnagladesh. Ireland came first in the qualifying tournament so basically Afghanistan and Ireland should be playing test matches, maybe in the 2-tier system

  • bdsmaruf on March 17, 2014, 7:52 GMT

    zim is 10times better than Ireland. thouth t-20 is non predictable formate but zim will win, I hope.

  • on March 17, 2014, 7:37 GMT

    Ireland a toughh contender in group b

  • santhoshg016 on March 17, 2014, 7:28 GMT

    I am a very much cricket fan.. no matter which teams plays if you leave me whole day ill keep on watching cricket.. I am an Indian fan.. i still remember that days where zimbabwe team had great players like Campbell, Stuart Carlise, Heath streak, Andy flower, Grant flower, Henry olanga, Tatenda Taibu, its a gud side. but due to financial the team had lost his grace,, Zimbabwe should bounce back to International the Team has a good chance to qualify for The group stage.. lets hope Australia will be praying zimbabwe should not qualify hahaaha lol, T20 is not about a stars like Dhoni, Afridi, Maxwell, Malinga, or Gayle, With one man and one good over the entire match can be turned.. so lets wait and see which team will qualify for group stage and who will win T20 World Cup.. All the Best to the World Cricket..

  • on March 17, 2014, 6:56 GMT

    Ireland and Afghanistan both deserve full member status.hope they are able to achieve that and there fate is not like Kenya who performed well and became only associate member to reach World Cup semi final but ignored if that time they were full member they would had flourished.

  • on March 17, 2014, 6:45 GMT

    Stirling key to Ireland's success

  • on March 17, 2014, 6:18 GMT

    Zimbabwe has two advantages here-

    1) The are accustomed with the Bangladesh condition 2) The victory of Bangladesh against Afghanistan ,the associate member, will give them confident not to give a single opportunity to Ireland...

    Zimbo should win yet Irish are threat!!

  • on March 17, 2014, 9:29 GMT

    I dont know but I see great gaming of NEPAL winning and losing is on one side still country like NEPAL AFGHANISTAN seems to be playing so good

  • on March 17, 2014, 9:29 GMT

    where is the bowler vitori? he is a dangerous seamer.

  • reyme on March 17, 2014, 8:08 GMT

    All the ZIM top players had been playing regularly in local Bangladesh premiere leagues such as DPL and BPL. So ZIM players are very accustomed to BD cricket condition. ZIM should win this. Sylhet pitch will help the pacers.

  • on March 17, 2014, 8:00 GMT

    if Bangladesh and Zimbabwe can keep their status as test nations then why can't Afghanistan and Ireland be given them. they beat them each time. Bangladesh didn't win a game in the Asia cup, but Afghanistan did by beating Bnagladesh. Ireland came first in the qualifying tournament so basically Afghanistan and Ireland should be playing test matches, maybe in the 2-tier system

  • bdsmaruf on March 17, 2014, 7:52 GMT

    zim is 10times better than Ireland. thouth t-20 is non predictable formate but zim will win, I hope.

  • on March 17, 2014, 7:37 GMT

    Ireland a toughh contender in group b

  • santhoshg016 on March 17, 2014, 7:28 GMT

    I am a very much cricket fan.. no matter which teams plays if you leave me whole day ill keep on watching cricket.. I am an Indian fan.. i still remember that days where zimbabwe team had great players like Campbell, Stuart Carlise, Heath streak, Andy flower, Grant flower, Henry olanga, Tatenda Taibu, its a gud side. but due to financial the team had lost his grace,, Zimbabwe should bounce back to International the Team has a good chance to qualify for The group stage.. lets hope Australia will be praying zimbabwe should not qualify hahaaha lol, T20 is not about a stars like Dhoni, Afridi, Maxwell, Malinga, or Gayle, With one man and one good over the entire match can be turned.. so lets wait and see which team will qualify for group stage and who will win T20 World Cup.. All the Best to the World Cricket..

  • on March 17, 2014, 6:56 GMT

    Ireland and Afghanistan both deserve full member status.hope they are able to achieve that and there fate is not like Kenya who performed well and became only associate member to reach World Cup semi final but ignored if that time they were full member they would had flourished.

  • on March 17, 2014, 6:45 GMT

    Stirling key to Ireland's success

  • on March 17, 2014, 6:18 GMT

    Zimbabwe has two advantages here-

    1) The are accustomed with the Bangladesh condition 2) The victory of Bangladesh against Afghanistan ,the associate member, will give them confident not to give a single opportunity to Ireland...

    Zimbo should win yet Irish are threat!!

  • on March 17, 2014, 6:12 GMT

    sean williams is an excellent player of spin bowling.....and zimbabwe has better spin attack than ireland.........zimbabwe will start as favourite in today's match....but we never know in t20.....

  • on March 17, 2014, 5:33 GMT

    Bangladesh Cricket Analyst

    No doubt on that Ireland is emerging side in cricket sometime very ahead than Afghanistan. They got helps from ECB. Plays in different league.

    On the contrary Zim is very ancient team in cricket history. Its players are very frequented with Bangladesh situation. Moreover, Taylor, Masakadza, Chiquambura are stars also in BPL. So task is very hard for Ireland. Hence, experience is really matter which Zim has more than Ireland.

    Best of luck to both teams. Exiting match, new Eco venue.

  • Click_Click_Cricket on March 17, 2014, 5:28 GMT

    Zimbabwe batting and bowling is better than Ireland. ZIM players regularly played in BD for the last few years and they know the conditions very well. IRE has to play their best cricket to beat ZIM. Good luck to both teams!

  • nagarjun51 on March 17, 2014, 5:25 GMT

    I am sure that rising associates[Ireland] will rise without fall and they are having a good chance here in standing with associate members from this group...Ireland are rolling,falling,tumbling from the past few years to get full membership..They have been giving everything from their side to become full membership but i think ICC should look into this perspective as soon as possible because recent performances of Ireland shown that ,this team is capable of anything to create upsets to bigger nations....Hoping forward to look Ireland wil qualify for second round here......From an Indian Fan

  • on March 17, 2014, 5:14 GMT

    Last week I visited Sylhet & the areas surrounding the stadium. It looked fantastic. Hope the whole world will like this city's natural beauty.

  • BeingCricketFan on March 17, 2014, 3:37 GMT

    Ireland deserve full membership, They're surely more better then Zimbabwe both by talent and financially..

  • on March 17, 2014, 3:35 GMT

    INSHA ALLAH win ziM today

  • on March 17, 2014, 3:33 GMT

    MD layekuzzama u forgetting few days ago what happened ;) or shall i give u a link to watch it again ?

  • WeeBee on March 17, 2014, 2:56 GMT

    well i am very much in favor of Ireland to give full membership. They really deserve it. ICC can make their decision on the basis of this match and Ireland forthcoming matches.

  • class9ryan on March 17, 2014, 2:29 GMT

    Truly sad for both these teams. Ireland need a win to rise into international cricket. Zimbabwe have their own troubles back home. One thing I'm happy about is Sylhet.

  • MeijiMura on March 17, 2014, 1:25 GMT

    Much depends on which side handles the others' spin bowlers better. Afghanistan and Hong Kong were both thrashed and badly embarrassed in their matches due to their total inability to deal with even the most modest spin bowling. Zimbabwe are a threat with their spinners, but so too are Ireland with Dockrell, McBrine and Stirling. Masakadza looms large as he is Zimbabwe's best batsman against spin bowling and he is in form too unlike everyone else in the Zimbabwean batting line-up. He has to fire again if Zimbabwe are to win tonight's game. I hope for Zimbabwe's sake that Sibanda opens with Masakadza. He is much better when the ball is coming on than spin bowling against which he is all at sea. I'm hoping for at least a more competitive game than the two farces we witnessed yesterday. Ireland are clearly the best associate so they won't be skittled for 60 or 70 like Hong Kong and Afghanistan were, but what of Zimbabwe? I hope they are up for the challenge and put on a show.

  • on March 16, 2014, 23:23 GMT

    Nepal, Hong kong & Afghanistan is not our target in this t20 world cup, our main & only target is to beat India & to wash our critics again. We have more balanced spin & pace attack than team India & West Indies. Our batting depth is better than WI & Pakistan. Just we need to believe in ourselves that we can destroy all the opponents in our day. Best of luck for Bangladesh cricket team. Where are our foolish & arrogant critics? Hope they'll think about their team's poor performance & will never try to cover up it by foolishly criticizing to us.

  • on March 16, 2014, 21:00 GMT

    Going to be interesting one. Ireland have better chances than Zim.

  • Cpt.Meanster on March 16, 2014, 20:44 GMT

    Good luck to both teams. The greatness of T20 lies in that it's very hard to put your money on any particular team. It's doubly true when the gulf between the two teams is not so big. This is anyone's game IMO. On paper, Zimbabwe are favourites by virtue of being a test nation. However, Ireland are a team with character and play fearless cricket when it matters. They have done it before in world cups against Pakistan and England. Looking forward to this one xD.

  • on March 16, 2014, 20:10 GMT

    Welcome to Sylhet...I hope all the world-media personal and the players are to be surprised by the beauty of the brand new stadium and the surrounding areas nearby. Welcome to our city and best of luck to the teams.

  • on March 16, 2014, 19:59 GMT

    Big game! I think the big difference to todays match will be that although Ireland is an associate like Afghanistan, they are far more experienced in high level cricket, know their game better and have the trust in a well established match plan, it is a stark contrast to Afghanistan.

    I think Ireland is going to take this match, the recent match play against West Indies will have boosted their confidence and the other major factor is their spin options. If they play their young spinner alongside Dockrell and Stirling they could make scoring very difficult indeed for the Zimbabweans. While Utseya gets generous amounts of turn i'm not sure he can do it all alone. Ireland probably also have the better strikers in Stirling and O'Brien but I think it's the better players of spin who will make the runs here.

  • on March 16, 2014, 19:53 GMT

    i dont see any reason why zim wont beat irish team. zim has experienced and new talented players. they are also getting paid in full and on time for this tournament. which will boost the players big time.

  • on March 16, 2014, 19:33 GMT

    good luck Zim.. love from a Bangladeshi I support you because u need so, it is you who are the only one in Zim to take the cricket continue over the administration....

  • SamWintson92 on March 16, 2014, 19:18 GMT

    ZIM XI: 1 H Masakadza 2 Sikandar Raza 3 Taylor (C+WK) 4 Williams 5 Chigumbura 6 Sibanda 7 Waller 8 Utseya 9 S Masakadza 10 Panyangara 11 Mushangwe

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  • SamWintson92 on March 16, 2014, 19:18 GMT

    ZIM XI: 1 H Masakadza 2 Sikandar Raza 3 Taylor (C+WK) 4 Williams 5 Chigumbura 6 Sibanda 7 Waller 8 Utseya 9 S Masakadza 10 Panyangara 11 Mushangwe

  • on March 16, 2014, 19:33 GMT

    good luck Zim.. love from a Bangladeshi I support you because u need so, it is you who are the only one in Zim to take the cricket continue over the administration....

  • on March 16, 2014, 19:53 GMT

    i dont see any reason why zim wont beat irish team. zim has experienced and new talented players. they are also getting paid in full and on time for this tournament. which will boost the players big time.

  • on March 16, 2014, 19:59 GMT

    Big game! I think the big difference to todays match will be that although Ireland is an associate like Afghanistan, they are far more experienced in high level cricket, know their game better and have the trust in a well established match plan, it is a stark contrast to Afghanistan.

    I think Ireland is going to take this match, the recent match play against West Indies will have boosted their confidence and the other major factor is their spin options. If they play their young spinner alongside Dockrell and Stirling they could make scoring very difficult indeed for the Zimbabweans. While Utseya gets generous amounts of turn i'm not sure he can do it all alone. Ireland probably also have the better strikers in Stirling and O'Brien but I think it's the better players of spin who will make the runs here.

  • on March 16, 2014, 20:10 GMT

    Welcome to Sylhet...I hope all the world-media personal and the players are to be surprised by the beauty of the brand new stadium and the surrounding areas nearby. Welcome to our city and best of luck to the teams.

  • Cpt.Meanster on March 16, 2014, 20:44 GMT

    Good luck to both teams. The greatness of T20 lies in that it's very hard to put your money on any particular team. It's doubly true when the gulf between the two teams is not so big. This is anyone's game IMO. On paper, Zimbabwe are favourites by virtue of being a test nation. However, Ireland are a team with character and play fearless cricket when it matters. They have done it before in world cups against Pakistan and England. Looking forward to this one xD.

  • on March 16, 2014, 21:00 GMT

    Going to be interesting one. Ireland have better chances than Zim.

  • on March 16, 2014, 23:23 GMT

    Nepal, Hong kong & Afghanistan is not our target in this t20 world cup, our main & only target is to beat India & to wash our critics again. We have more balanced spin & pace attack than team India & West Indies. Our batting depth is better than WI & Pakistan. Just we need to believe in ourselves that we can destroy all the opponents in our day. Best of luck for Bangladesh cricket team. Where are our foolish & arrogant critics? Hope they'll think about their team's poor performance & will never try to cover up it by foolishly criticizing to us.

  • MeijiMura on March 17, 2014, 1:25 GMT

    Much depends on which side handles the others' spin bowlers better. Afghanistan and Hong Kong were both thrashed and badly embarrassed in their matches due to their total inability to deal with even the most modest spin bowling. Zimbabwe are a threat with their spinners, but so too are Ireland with Dockrell, McBrine and Stirling. Masakadza looms large as he is Zimbabwe's best batsman against spin bowling and he is in form too unlike everyone else in the Zimbabwean batting line-up. He has to fire again if Zimbabwe are to win tonight's game. I hope for Zimbabwe's sake that Sibanda opens with Masakadza. He is much better when the ball is coming on than spin bowling against which he is all at sea. I'm hoping for at least a more competitive game than the two farces we witnessed yesterday. Ireland are clearly the best associate so they won't be skittled for 60 or 70 like Hong Kong and Afghanistan were, but what of Zimbabwe? I hope they are up for the challenge and put on a show.

  • class9ryan on March 17, 2014, 2:29 GMT

    Truly sad for both these teams. Ireland need a win to rise into international cricket. Zimbabwe have their own troubles back home. One thing I'm happy about is Sylhet.