England v Ireland First ODI Tips: Hosts eye mammoth score

Morgan takes on his countrymen
Eoin Morgan
3:30 min read

After the Test side won the Wisden Trophy, it's the turn of the ODI team with a three-match series against Ireland starting Thursday. Ed Hawkins picks out his best bets from the Ageas Bowl...

"We would like a green wicket and overcast conditions for a start and we’re highly unlikely to have either"

England v Ireland
Thursday 30 July 14.00
Live on Sky Sports Cricket

England strong

England have picked an experienced squad as they look to get their white-ball specialists game time after lockdown. There are seven players included who appeared in last summer's World Cup win.

Eoin Morgan will lead against the country of his birth while there are recalls for David Willey and Reece Topley. Willey's left-arm swingers could be useful at the top and the death. Topley has suffered terrible injury problems so it is a credit to his resolve that he comes back.

Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow are likely to reconvene at the top of the order, though few would be disappointed to see Tom Banton given a chance. James Vince will probably make 30 or 40 gorgeous runs before being dismissed cheaply.

Joe Denly is there too, somehow. There is no Ben Stokes, Joe Root, Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes or Jofra Archer.

Probable XI Roy, Bairstow, Vince, Denly, Billings, Morgan, Ali, T Curran, Rashid, Willey, Mahmood

Ireland depleted

Ireland have been dealt a blow to their plans after pacer Mark Adair was ruled out through injury. Adair has been one of their most reliable bowlers over the last few years.

Adair, who has had ankle surgery, is not considered fit enough for the rigours of the international game. Josh Little, wild and pacy, and Andy McBirnie are likely to lead the attack in his absence. It's an inexperienced attack these days with no Tim Murtagh and much resting on Boyd Rankin.

Paul Stirling and Andrew Balbirnie are solid with the bat, Kevin O'Brien is occasionally spectacular, while Will Porterfield, once of Gloucestershire, is hanging on in there. The rising star is Harry Tector. Tector, who got fifty in the warm-up, can do the lot in the middle order and at just 20 is one who England might have tried to pinch in the pre-Brexit era.

Possible XI P Stirling, G Delaney, A Balbirnie, W Porterfield, H Tector, K O'Brien, C Campher, S Singh, A McBrine, J Little, B Rankin.

Pitch reverting to type?

The Ageas Bowl had a reputation for runs before last summer's World Cup tournament. More than 300 had been busted five times in the eight games and the average was more than 300 since 2010. Seven of the previous 11 day matches had also been won by the side batting first.

In the World Cup, however, runs were hard to come by. Only one team busted 250 in four matches. The average score was 231. The runs per over average was 4.7, down from 5.3 in all matches.

Ireland and England Lions played a warm-up on the surface on Sunday and it appears to have re-verted to type. England chased 297 with more than 15 overs to spare. If batting first, England will expect to bust 330. For a masterclass on how to trade innings runs in this game, listen to this week's episode of Cricket...Only Bettor.

The Irish bowlers suffered against England's second string and they could be in danger of conceding something monstrous. It might pay to have bits and bobs of more than 360 or 370 in play.

Hard to justify for trade

Unsurprisingly, England are mighty short at [1.15] with the Irish at [7.20]. Clearly the only option for a wager is to try to stack up a trade on the visitors.

That is much tougher than it seems, though. We would like a green wicket and overcast conditions for a start and we're highly unlikely to have either.

Ireland gave England a bloody nose twice last year - in a Test at Lord's and a World Cup warm-up but they failed to get over the line. Their sensational Kevin O'Brien-inspired World Cup win in Bengaluru was nine long years ago.

Their form has been patchy in the last two years, losing 12 and winning seven. They were beaten three-zip by West Indies in January. The problem with taking a big number about Ireland pre-toss is that if England bat first it could be double the price at the break.

England are 11/2 with Sportsbook to win by nine wickets or 80-90 runs and 6/1 to win by eight wickets or 71-80 runs.

Six appeal

Ireland actually hit more sixes than the Lions in that runfest, winning nine to four. Stirling, Kevin O'Brien and Tector hit three apiece. They are 7/2 for an upset with Sportsbook. There is a school of thought that in desperate times, desperate teams have to go for broke so their sixes count is out of line with their status in the match. But do bear in mind over the last two years England average six sixes per game to Ireland's three.

**

For more tips and insight on the ODI, check out this week's Cricket...Only Bettor podcast

Ed Hawkins P-L

2020: -6.55
2019: +37.25pts
2018: +23.53pts
2017: +12pts
2016: +18.1pts
2015: +38pts
2014: +31.5pts
2013: +25pts
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. New points system (0.5pt-5) introduced for 2017. Includes Hawk-Eye stats column p-l

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