Ireland v India
Sunday 26 June, 16:30
TV: live on BT Sport
Ireland core strength
Ireland have qualified for the first stage of the T20 World Cup in Australia from October. Their record of six wins in the last ten against fellow Associate sides means this two-game contest will be a significant step up.
They have not played a full-strength member since a three-zip loss to South Africa at home in 2021. Their overall record against such sides is three wins in 20. They will hope to have improved on their 2018 showing against India in Malahide when they were hammered twice.
The core squad is strong. Paul Stirling, Andrew Balbirnie, Harry Tector, Curtis Campher, Josh Little and Mark Adair are regular and consistent performers. Stirling is one of the most underrated batsmen in the franchise world and his strike rate is superior to household names in that opening berth.
One interesting note from the selection of the squad is that they haven't bothered with a recognised specialist spinner. Simi Singh has been axed. That suggests surfaces which could try to negate India's spin attack. It's not a bad move considering there are likely few tweakers India will fret about in the home ranks.
Possible XI: Stirling, Balbirnie, Delany, Tector, Campher, Dockrell, Tucker, McBrine, McCarthy, Adair, Little
India test reserves
India are not at full strength. Not that we would expect them to be with the one-off Test match on Friday against England running concurrently.
But this is still an impressive group of players. Ishan Kishan should open the batting while they have a wealth of top order options with Suryakumar Yadav, Rahul Tripathi, Deepak Hooda and Hardik Pandya, the captain, all vying for significant roles.
Arshdeep Singh and Umran Malik could make their debuts in the pace department. Umran sat patiently on the bench during India's 2-2 draw with South Africa earlier this month which saw them field the same XI in each game. Avesk Khan is also an option.
It would be a surprise if they picked more than one spinner given expected conditions so the main man Yuz Chahal should get to do his work instead of Axar Patel and Ravi Bishnoi.
Possible XI: Ishan, Gaikwad, Yadav, Hardik, Samson, Hooda, Karthik, Harshal, Kumar, Umran, Chahal
Ireland skip Balibirnie said of the expected surface at Malahide: "It's usually pretty good and it's fairly true and you kind of get value for your shots, so I don't really expect too much difference."
Their have been some big scores recently to back up that view. Scotland made 252 against Netherlands there in 2019. Four of the last five matches have seen first-innings scores of 180 or more. But as discussed in the match odds below, the forecast is not great so there's unlikely to be a chance to get in early and go low on runs. The runs markets are here.
Take a chance on the Irish
Ireland are available at 9.4017/2 on the match odds exchange with India not surprisingly skeletal. Ordianrily when taking on such a short favourite we need assistance from the pitch or weather conditions. We do have the latter.
The forecast is not good. There is plenty of rain around for Malahide so we should not be surprised if the number of overs are reduced per side. That alone should give Ireland a puncher's chance because of the power that Stirling possesses.
But moisture and cloud cover will most likely be alien to this group of Indians. They're along way from the heat and dust of the IPL. If Ireland can get it to bend then we may well get a run for our money. At the very least they look a very good trade. Bet the match odds market here.
Stirling will be all the rage because his form in the Blast. However, he's never really done it against the top sides in this format. Five wins on top bat in his 24 suggests 23/10 is skinny with Sportsbook. Likewise Balbirnie (four in 24) at 4/1. Gareth Delany may be a touch (three wins in 14) at 4s.
For India, Kishan has appeal at 10/3 for top match bat. Yadav, the classiest player on show, is big at 9/2 for top India considering ability and the fact he should bat at No 3. Bet the Sportsbook markets here.