Dublin: India are the superior side on paper, but in familiar conditions, the ever-improving Irish can be more than a handful.
India are the third-ranked Twenty20 International side, while Ireland are down at No.17. On the face of it, it’s a mismatch. But in Irish conditions -- it’s damp and cold in Ireland right now -- the difference in rankings might not be too significant. Not to forget that the Indians have just reached the country and have had only a couple of days of training. The first of two T20Is could well be a close scrap.
Of the two teams, Ireland are more T20I ready. The Indians were all a part of the Indian Premier League 2018, but have since played only one Test against Afghanistan at home. Ireland, meanwhile, were away in the Netherlands playing a triangular T20I series against the hosts and Scotland.
But, they didn’t have the best time against the Netherlands, losing by four runs and four wickets in the two games, in third game Wilson’s side did beat Scotland in their first game by 46 runs and then had a tied encounter in the second.
Paul Stirling was in particularly good form, hitting half-centuries in both the games against Scotland on his way to a series aggregate of 176 runs.
It was also heartening for Ireland to see George Dockrell, the premier spinner who had been out of form the past many months, pick up six wickets at an economy rate of 6.60.
The good thing for India is that they have a first-choice squad to pick from. India also have a solid pace attack led by Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah -- the best ODI bowler in the world -- Umesh Yadav, Hardik Pandya, the all-rounder, and Siddarth Kaul, the impressive uncapped swing bowler.
There are spin options in Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav and Washington Sundar too, and it might be tricky for the team management to leave players out.
Ireland: Gary Wilson (Capt. & wk), Andy Balbirnie, Peter Chase, George Dockrell, Joshua Little, Andy McBrine, Kevin O’Brien, William Porterfield, Stuart Poynter (wk), Boyd Rankin, James Shannon, Simi Singh, Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson
India: Virat Kohli (c), Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shikhar Dhawan, MS Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Siddarth Kaul, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Washington Sundar, Umesh Yadav
Pitch and conditions
Rain is always a threat around these parts, and pace bowlers will hope to make the most of favourable conditions when they get the opportunity.
Stats and trivia
Virat Kohli needed 17-run to complete 2000 runs in Twenty20 Internations while Raina requires one run for 1500 runs.
Wednesday 27 June 2018
Start time: 16:00 local (15:00 GMT, 8.30pm IST)