In no way, William Porterfield should play Max Sorensen or allow Kevin O’Brien to bowl during batting Powerplay or death overs © Getty Images
In no way, William Porterfield should play Max Sorensen or allow Kevin O’Brien to bowl during batting Powerplay or death overs © Getty Images

Ireland have played four matches at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 and have won three. Ireland have exceeded 300-plus twice and have chased 270-plus runs twice. However, bowling has been a big headache for Ireland; they would like to overcome the weakness in their game against India. Sudatta Mukherjee writes about Ireland’s persistent bowling issues and how they can tackle India.

Ireland played Zimbabwe in their previous ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 match at Hobart. They put up a target of 332 for Zimbabwe. However, Zimbabwe almost won the match, taking things to the last over before being bowled out for 326. It was one of those days when both matches (the other being Pakistan vs South Africa) went down to the wire. Prior to that, Ireland had played South Africa at Canberra. Riding on Hashim Amla’s massive 159 South Africa put up a huge target of 412. Ireland did put up a fighting spirit before losing by 201 runs.

Ireland also played UAE; UAE scored 278; though Ireland chased it down, they struggled, losing eight wickets. Their first match in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 against West Indies was the one that really showcased Ireland’s batting prowess: they chased down their third 300-plus target in World Cup cricket history. ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: POINTS TABLE

However, this also depicts the weak link in Ireland’s bowling department. In the first match, Ireland let West Indies score 304; in the second match UAE scored 278; in the third, South Africa scored a massive 411 without AB de Villiers’ help. In the last, despite scoring 331 batting first, Ireland’s bowlers almost gave away the match to Zimbabwe.

Let us see the top seven bowlers used by Ireland in the last four matches.

Bowlers

Matches

Runs

Wickets

Ave

Eco

Alex Cusack

2

86

6

14.33

4.41

Andrew McBrine

3

145

3

48.33

5.17

George Dockrell

4

201

5

40.20

5.43

Paul Stirling

4

154

2

77.00

5.50

John Mooney

4

201

4

50.25

6.70

Max Sorensen

3

200

3

66.66

8.33

Kevin O’Brien

4

317

6

52.83

9.60

 

Apart from Alex Cusack, who played only two matches and picked up four wickets in the last match against Zimbabwe, all Irish bowlers have performed below par. Kevin O’Brien, with an economy rate of 9.60, has (for some mysterious reason) been used for bowling in death overs. Following are Kevin’s statistics in from the death overs. ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: SCHEDULE & MATCH DETAILS

Against

Overs

Runs

Wickets

West Indies

3

53

0

UAE

2

27

0

South Africa

3

54

0

Zimbabwe

3

40

1

 

He also has not been impressive in the batting Powerplay. Then there is Max Sorensen. He has opened the bowling with John Mooney in the three matches that he has played. He has been very costly against South Africa, giving away 21 runs from the initial two overs.

Ireland should ideally open the bowling with John Mooney and Alex Cusack. George Dockrell and Paul Stirling can continue, with Andy McBrine supporting in between. ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: Complete Coverage

The Hamilton curator has already expressed the fact that the match against India will be a high scoring match and Ireland need to make sure that India does not bat first or else, Ireland will have to chase down another big target, given the fact that the Irish bowlers have not been able to restrict the opposition with their bowling.

(Sudatta Mukherjee is a reporter with CricketCountry. Other than writing on cricket, she spends penning random thoughts on her blog. When she is not writing, you will catch her at a movie theatre or watching some English television show on her laptop. Her Twitter handle is @blackrosegal)