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England v Ireland First ODI: Fingers crossed for luck of Irish

Irishman Morgan leads England
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Ed Hawkins previews the opening contest from Bristol and hopes that the hosts are guilty of complacency to allow a trade on Ireland...


"Key to a trade, though, could be batting first. If England get away to a flier they will just get bigger and bigger with no way back"

Recommended Bet
Trade Ireland from [8.8] to [5.5]

England v Ireland
Friday 5 May 11.00
TV: live on Sky Sports


England


England are not at full strength. They have decided that Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes are better off in the Indian Premier League. The sort of snub which will add fuel to Ireland's desire.

Eoin Morgan, of course, is Irish so there is bound to be needle. He leads a team which still boasts its top order batting strength in the form of opening duo Alex Hales and Jason Roy while Joe Root is the classiest bloke on show.

Jonny Bairstow, fresh from a big ton for Yorkshire, keeps wicket. Mark Wood, David Willey, Liam Plunkett, Steve Finn and Jake Ball will compete for three seamer spots. Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali provide the spin.


Ireland

Ireland have lost Boyd Rankin, who also played for England, to injury but Paul Stirling and Kevin O'Brien are fit adding much-needed experience.

Ed Joyce, Tim Murtagh, Niall O'Brien and George Dockrell are familiar county performers. They are skippered by Will Porterfield.

Form is patchy, even when playing their peers. They lost 3-2 to Afghanistan in March, drew 2-2 with the same outfit in Belfast last summer while the previous year they were beaten 2-1 by Zimbabwe in October. They don't play much.

In the last two years they have played seven Big Eight teams, losing six times with one washout. Overall they have three upsets in 39 attempts - against Pakistan in the 2007 World Cup, England in 2011 and West Indies in 2015.


First-innings runs

Bristol can be slow and tacky, which would suit Ireland as it would blunt England's big hitters. In last season's domestic one-day competition there were only two games, producing scores of 352 and 254. In 13 ODI there have been only three scores of 270 or more. The last five read: 248-236-160-182-329. The problem with those games is that they span nine years. You should be able to lay pretty skinny odds on England for 300 or more.


Match odds

Not much doing here. England are [1.12] with Ireland [8.8]. We would want much bigger than that on the Irish considering their record and they are not at full strength. If you must play this market a shot to nothing is a trade on the visitors in the hope that their price comes in by around half.

Key to that, though, could be batting first. If England get away to a flier they will just get bigger and bigger with no way back.

Betting Ireland at [8.8] for one unit and then laying at [5.5] for 1.5 units would give a small profit on each side. No rain is forecast.


Top England runscorer

Morgan smashed a century the last time the sides met. For England it should be noted. His 124 came off 106 balls in 2013. He is not a bad shout here at decent odds because Hales and Roy might find the wicket does not suit their all-action style.


Top Ireland runscorer

Joyce and Stirling have passable records against the Big Eight teams. They both average 26. The O'Brien brothers average slightly more with Kevin's superior strike rate of 90 perhaps significant in a game like this. Kevin was the architect of an extraordinary win over England in Bengaluru in the World Cup six years ago. He hit 113 from 63 balls to chase down 328. Porterfield used to play for Gloucestershire so should know the track well.


Recommended Bet

Trade Ireland from [8.8] to [5.5]


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