George Bailey’s Australia side may be the hot favourites to win this match against Ireland but the two teams in this contest are evenly matched in terms of World T20 rankings (11am BST, Wednesday).
Throughout Australia’s recent series with Pakistan, the squad were exchanging ninth and tenth places with Ireland in those rankings and that might suggest a closer contest than the bookmakers are predicting.
We know that this is a competent Irish side in terms of limited overs cricket and one that can cause an upset as they proved with a magnificent run chase to beat England in the 50 over world cup last year. We also suspect that there is going to be an upset in every tournament but can it really happen in this match?
Australia’s form is mixed going into this game but Ireland’s is far worse. Will Porterfield’s side were expected to offer some value in the betting markets during their recent matches with Bangladesh but they produced some dismal displays in losing that series.
Looking at their squad list would however suggest that there is enough talent to upset the odds but it will probably need one explosive performance from within the ranks. Ed Joyce has previously made a One Day international hundred during his England days but he may not have the power hitting needed to mount or chase a large total. The Sussex man struggles to get into his own county side so the Irish will need to look elsewhere for their runs.
Kevin O’Brien is the most likely candidate for an explosive innings but has struggled for form slightly since his memorable hundred in the win over England in 2011. The all-rounder remains more than capable of taking the game away from the opposition with the bat but maybe his side rely on him just a little too much.
Kevin O’Brien will also have a big part to play as part of Ireland’s bowling attack but the one to watch here will be George Dockrell. The 20-year-old looks quite innocuous with his slow left arm spin but he is highly regarded and the Sri Lankan wickets here will suit him.
Australia have their own problems after a poor series against Pakistan and it seems that David Hussey has shouldered most of the blame for those dismal performances. The lesser-known Hussey brother was left out of the two warm up matches prior to this tournament and seems set to sit on the sidelines.
Cameron White had looked to be the weakest link in the batting line up but seems to have survived the cull. However, the Aussies may well have axed the wrong man here and could that give Ireland’s chances a boost?
It’s also become customary to look at the weather forecast and look to see if the rain could bring Duckworth Lewis into play. There’s plenty of poor weather in Sri Lanka right now and the lottery element of a shortened match could also offer some hope for the Irish camp.
Betting Tips Conclusion: Will Porterfield’s Ireland are priced as high as 7/1 with Bet365 that is a sorely tempting price. But logic suggests that Australia should start the tournament with a comfortable win, though at a best price of 1/7 with Stan James it is hardly a betting proposal.