Facing the world No.1 ODI side and current World Champions England was not going to be an easy job for Ireland but the way they showed fight in the first ODI at Southampton would give them confidence. England, on the other hand, were asked questions but came out on the right side of the result and will be hoping for a similar show in the second ODI at the same venue on Saturday.
HEAD TO HEAD
Overall - Matches 11 | England 9 | Ireland 1 | N/R 1
Last five ODIs - England 4 | Ireland 0 | N/R 1
ODIs in England – England 3 | Ireland 0
While you could go for the above team, or pick your own team, cricket.com's Fantasy Research Centre based on algorithms have come up with six different teams that could help you fetch crucial points.
All three ODIs will be staged in Southampton taking into consideration the bio-secure protocols. And if the opening fixture was anything to go by the surface should be good for pacers at the start with spinners coming into play later on. A total of 7 ODIs have been played at Southampton since the start of 2019 and the numbers here are contrasting. While the average runs per wicket is a low 33.6, one of the lowest in England since 2019, the bowlers too haven’t been too successful having picked up a wicket only every 38.5 balls. In such a case you should have as many all-rounders as possible in your side.
Despite stuttering a bit at the top of the order, England gave a good account of themselves in the opening game and in all likelihood will go with the same team. Ireland would have been buoyed by the performance of debutant Curtis Campher but will want to rectify the top-order.
As is the case with most surfaces in England, pacers have held the upper-hand in Southampton. In ODIs here since the start of 2019, they have picked up 55 wickets striking every 33.4 balls as compared to spinners who have returned 29 wickets at a strike rate of 50.9.
This was the case in the first game too with pacers returning 11 of the 14 wickets to fall. Having said that, the surface did show signs of slowing up especially in the back-end of the game. You could, in that case go for the likes of Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali in your side.
Apart from that, you can also go in for top-order players such as Jonny Bairstow, Kevin O’Brien, Paul Stirling and Eoin Morgan in your eleven. Amongst allrounders, the likes of Tom Curran and Campher could be good picks.
There could be a few interesting matchups too on display.
Rashid has proven to be Kevin O’Brien’s nemesis in ODIs and was once found out by the leg-spinner in the opening game. The hard-hitting batsman has been dismissed three times in four innings by Rashid and will have to be really careful.
Ireland’s captain Andy Balbirnie too will have to be wary of pacer David Willey who has dismissed him twice in three ODIs.
The last year or so hasn’t been the best for David Willey. He missed out on World Cup selection last year and had admittedly fallen out of love with the game. However, despite missing England’s last 22 white-balls outings, the left-arm pacer came back with a bang in the first ODI picking career-best figures of 5/30. Willey’s numbers are anything but ragged. Since the start of 2018, the pacer has picked up 22 wickets in 16 ODI innings striking every 34.5 balls. Having started off the series with a five-wicket haul, Willey will be keen on carrying his form forward proving he truly belongs to England’s best playing XI. Our Criclytics Player Projection says Willey will pick 1-3 wickets in the second ODI.
Eoin Morgan’s 36* might not have been a huge contribution but the way he guided young Sam Billings during an unbeaten 96-run stand and saw England to a win was vital. Morgan has a terrific record against the nation of his birth. In 6 innings versus Ireland, he has scored 305 runs averaging 76.25 which includes 2 half-centuries and a century. Having started off the series with a win, Morgan will hope his side takes an unassailable lead when they face Ireland on Friday. Our Criclytics Player Projection says Morgan will score 17-44 runs in the second ODI, in Southampton.
He might have failed in the first ODI, but there is no denying that Paul Stirling is probably one of the most important if not the most important arrow in Ireland’s quiver. The hard-hitting opener has scored the most runs for Ireland since the start of 2018; 1227 runs in 30 innings averaging a strong 40.9. He is also their all-time leading run-scorer in ODIs.
With Stirling, there is always a risk but if he gets going, he is one player who can get you a lot of points. In addition, his handy off-spin can also come into good use on the slowish Southampton surface. Stirling did not have a lot to do in the opening game of the series and will want to leave a mark come Saturday. The Criclytics Player Projection has Stirling scoring 19-52 runs and picking 1-3 wickets in the 2nd ODI.
Adil Rashid is England’s wicket-taker since the start of 2018 and while he managed only a wicket in the opening ODI, the leg-spinner was miserly as he bowled 3 maidens in his 10-over spell going for only 26 runs. Since the start of 2018, Rashid has picked up 70 wickets in ODIs striking every 33 balls. He has a good record against Ireland too having picked up 9 wickets in 5 innings against them. What stands out is his economy of just 4. Rashid tied one end up nicely and did not let the batsmen get away in the opening game of the series. He also claimed the crucial wicket of Kevin O’Brien in the process. On a surface that might favour spinners, later on, Rashid will be keen on adding a few more wickets to his tally. Our Criclytics Player Projection says Rashid will pick 2-4 wickets in Southampton on Saturday.