David Warner will look to give his side an explosive start while Niall O'Brien will miss the game due to a concussion © Getty Images
David Warner will look to give his side an explosive start while Niall O’Brien will miss the game due to a concussion © Getty Images

So Ireland’s historic tour to South Africa, which included two one-off One-Day Internationals against hosts South Africa and World Champions Australia, comes to an end on Tuesday when they fact the mighty Australians at the same venue in Benoni where they took on the hosts on Sunday. In a one-sided contest, South Africa had steamrolled the hapless Irish side by beating them by a thumping margin of 206 runs. Batting first, the hosts had put up a huge total of 354 for 5 on the board. Chasing the mountain of a total, Ireland were never in the contest, and were eventually bundled out for 148.

The second match gives the side another chance to create some good memories on this historic trip. Yes, this is Ireland’s first-ever trip to South Africa to play any form of bilateral cricket and they wanted to make it count. They are a side who have always demanded cricketing action against the big guys on a frequent basis, not just in the ICC events. However, when their chance did arrive, they faltered big time. Nevertheless, here’s another shot at glory for them. Having played the first game at the same venue, the Irishmen will have a fair idea about the conditions and will hope to put up a better performance this time around. Australia, on the other hand, will hope to make a resounding start to their South African safari.

Let’s take a look at the likely clashes from the two sides:

Craig Young vs David Warner: Young Irish fast bowler Craig Young has shown a lot of promise in his limited appearances so far. Given the opportunity to lead the attack in the absence of Boyd Rankin, he had mixed returns in the game against South Africa. Though he went for 81 runs from his stipulated quota of 10 overs, he also had three wickets to his name. The makeshift opening pair of Tamba Bavuma and Quinton de Kock gave him a torrid time in that game. And on Tuesday, he will be up against another explosive batsman David Warner, who loves to dominate the bowlers from the outset. The destructive southpaw will look to hit from the word go and thus, it will be a huge test of Young’s skills as well as patience.

Tim Murtagh vs Steven Smith: Tim Murtagh had little time to soak in the joy and celebrations of winning the County championship with Middlesex as he was asked to join the Irish side straight from England. In less than 24 hours after landing in the rainbow nation, he was thrown into the deep against the hungry South African batsmen. But the seasoned campaigner did well. Coming in to bowl as the first change bowler, he conceded less than six runs per over in his quota of 10 overs. It was a commendable feat considering it was a run feast. Up against him will be Australian skipper Steven Smith, who like him, will also come as first change at No. 3. It is going to be an interesting battle as Murtagh will look to put in all his experience to remove the opposition skipper while the latter will look to start the long tour on a domination note.

George Dockrell vs George Bailey: The battle of the Georges is going to be another exciting clash from the match. Dockrell has been the finest spinner for the Irish side for last few years. The young left-arm spinner was brilliant in the last game too. When all his colleagues were getting the stick, he, besides Murtagh, was the only bowler who conceded less than 60 from his full quota of 10 overs. Bailey, on the other hand, is an exceptional player of spin bowling. On top of it, he has been in a terrific form of late. Such has been his form that after a tremendous run in Sri Lanka, he is already being considered for a Test recall for a tough tour to India next year. This is going to be an exciting contest. Who will win, can you make a guess?

Adam Zampa vs Kevin O’Brien: Another likely contest within the contest. Zampa has been a revelation for the Australians in recent times. He followed up his string of good performances in the Big Bash League (BBL) 2015-16 with a splendid run with the MS Dhoni-led Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) season 9 earlier this year. That led to a call-up to the national side in the Caribbean for the tri-nation series, where he continued to shine. A successful Caribbean Premier League (CPL) followed and now he is here, up against the Ireland side. He will look to continue with his dream run and take this match as an ideal practice ahead of a competitive series against South Africa.

But hold on, there is a small issue here. A certain player named Kevin O’Brien loves to take on spinners. He has a 50-ball hundred against England to his name and will play with the similar no-holds barred approach here. If the two of them come face-to-face here, the contest will be mouth-watering.

(A self-confessed cricket freak, Chinmay Jawalekar is a senior writer with CricLife and CricketCountry. When not writing or following cricket, he loves to read, eat and sleep. He can be followed here @CricfreakTweets)