It wasn’t as easy as many anticipated but England have taken an unassailable 2-0 lead over Ireland in the three-match ODI series in Southampton. They will, however, not want to take their foot off the pedal and look to secure a series whitewash in the final outing at the same venue on Tuesday. Ireland, who have been good in patches, will be hoping for a complete performance in the last game of the series.
HEAD TO HEAD
Overall - Matches 12 | England 10 | Ireland 1 | N/R 1
Last five ODIs - England 5 | Ireland 0
ODIs in England – England 4 | 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.
A lot of cricket has been played at the Ageas Bowl, in Southampton in the last month or so and considering this will be the third game of the series here, there is bound to be wear and tear on the surface. Having said that, the pitch has been conducive to pacers so far and while it might slow up a bit as seen in the previous game, the narrative is largely expected to remain the same.
A total of 8 ODIs have been played in Southampton since the start of 2019 and there has been something in it here for both batsmen and bowlers. The bowlers have managed a wicket every 37.7 balls since January 2019 with the batsmen averaging 32.9 runs per wicket.
The opening two ODIs were relatively low-scoring affairs but that can also be attributed to Ireland batting first both times. You could wait till the toss to decide on your final eleven.
England would have been delighted by Jonny Bairstow’s performance in the 2nd ODI while David Willey and Adil Rashid continued their impressive show. For Ireland, Curtis Campher looked impressive second game running. With the series result already decided, both sides could look to rest a few players.
The Southampton surface has favoured pacers in the past and that was evidenced in the first two ODIs as well where they picked majority of the wickets. In ODIs since the start of 2019, pacers have picked wickets every 32.6 balls averaging 29.3. Spinners, on the other hand, have returned a wicket every 50.8 balls at 40.3.
While pace has been the dominant entity in first and second ODI, leg-spinner Rashid has proven tough to handle for Ireland and he should make it to your team. You can also go for the likes of Bairstow, Sam Billings, Campher and Eoin Morgan while amongst the bowlers, Willey, Saqib Mahmood and Joshua Little could be considered.
There could be a few interesting matchups too on display.
Rashid has been Kevin OBrien's nemesis in ODIs. He has dismissed him in both games so far and in general, OBrien has found him tough to handle. Tom Banton too will have to be careful facing Curtis Campher against whom he has fallen twice in two innings and has an average of just 6.5.
The leading run-scorer for England since the start of 2018, Bairstow having missed out in the first ODI was in his elements in the second. The opener smoked 82 in just 41 balls to setup England’s chase nicely. Bairstow’s numbers over the last two years are impeccable. He has scored 2015 runs in 44 innings averaging a strong 45.8 since January 2018. What stands out is his strike rate of 113! Another reason why you should make Bairstow your captain is that he can get you valuable points behind the stumps as well. He would have been disappointed at not scoring a century in the second game and will be hoping to finish the series off on a high. Our Criclytics Player Projection says Bairstow will score 24-57 runs in the 3rd ODI.
After his five-wicket haul in the opening game, David Willey was at it again in the second outing picking up 2 wickets at the top of the order. In addition, he also scored a quickfire 47* coming in at No 8 to take his side over the line. Not always a starter in the best England XI, Willey has picked up 24 wickets in 17 innings since the start of 2018 striking every 34.2 balls. Willey is also a handy lower-order batsman and can help you score some crucial points in that aspect. The current highest wicket-taker in the series, Willey will want to finish off with a few more wickets in his tally. Our Criclytics Player Projection says Willey will pick 3-5 wickets in the 3rd ODI, in Southampton.
When the series started, not many would have foreseen 21-year-old Curtis Campher as the leading run-scorer across both sides after the end of the second game. But the youngster playing his debut series has shown immense resilience and composure. Coming in to bat at 28/5 and 78/5 in the first two matches, Campher resurrected the Ireland innings each time. He has so far scored 127 runs in two innings and has also picked up three wickets with his skiddish medium pacers. Campher is still very young into his international career but has had a few heads rolling already. He will be keen on finishing off the series with another memorable performance. The Criclytics Player Projection has Campher scoring 17-32 runs and picking up 1-3 wickets in the third ODI.
Ireland have found Adil Rashid to be the most challenging to face of all England bowlers The leg-spinner has mixed his variations to good effect and none of the Irish batsmen have read his googly well. Rashid has an excellent record against Ireland having picked up 12 wickets in 6 innings averaging 16.5 runs per wicket. His economy of just 3.9 is truly remarkable. The Southampton surface was taking a bit of turn in the second game and with the wear and tear, Rashid should once again get good purchase off the surface on Tuesday. Our Criclytics Player Projection says Rashid will pick 2-4 wickets in Southampton on Tuesday.