Ireland will take on New Zealand in the second T20I of the three-match series at the Civil Service Cricket Club in Belfast on Wednesday (July 20). The hosts were whitewashed 0-3 in the ODI series but the scoreline could have been completely opposite if they would have got just a couple of things right. However, Andrew Balbirnie and Co. failed to put up a fight in the first T20I and were hammered by 31 runs on Monday. Ireland would now want their big guns to fire if they want to keep the series alive.
The Civil Service Cricket Club has hosted only three T20Is since 2021 and the batters here have scored runs at an average of 20, while a wicket has fallen every 15.4 deliveries. The spinners here have scalped wickets at an average of 17.4 and a strike rate of 15.9, while the corresponding numbers for fast bowlers are 22.4 and 16.2 respectively. A total of 18 wickets fell in the first T20I, so it would be ideal to have at least five-six bowling options in your team.
While you could go for the above team, you also have the option of choosing your team from Cricket.com’s Fantasy Research Centre. You can use this tool to build your team with the help of algorithms. Then, based on your preferences, the platform will guide you through creating the ideal fantasy XI.
Captain and vice-captain suggestions
For small leagues: Martin Guptill (c), Lockie Ferguson (vc)
For grand leagues: Ish Sodhi (c), Curtis Campher (vc)
Stats that matter
Lockie Ferguson hasn’t played a lot of T20Is but he is your pure wicket-taker. The tearaway quick, who took four wickets in the first T20I, has a strike rate of 11.86 in this format.
Martin Guptill has scored 702 runs in 19 T20Is at an average of 36.95 and a strike rate of 146.9 in T20Is since 2021.
In T20Is since 2020, Glenn Phillips has slammed 574 runs in 21 innings at an average of 35.88 and a strike rate of 154.3. Amongst batters who have scored at least 500 runs in this period, only Suryakumar Yadav and Evin Lewis have a better strike rate.
* All stats are among teams/players from full members unless stated otherwise.
Grand League Punts
Joshua Little, who claimed four wickets in the first match, has been in terrific form especially in the powerplay in T20Is this year. He has picked up seven wickets at an economy rate of 6.2. Only Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Tendai Chatara have picked up more in overs 1-6.
Harry Tector only scored five runs in the first T20I but has scores of 39, 64*, 50, 35 and 24* in his previous five innings.
Michael Bracewell made his T20I debut on Monday and scored 21 off 13 deliveries. The spin-bowling all-rounder has been in superb form of late. He was outstanding in the ODI series. And, in the recent edition of the Super Smash, Bracewell finished as the tournament’s highest run-getter with 478 runs at a strike rate of close to 150. With the ball, he chipped in with six wickets at an economy rate of under seven.
Here are the Top 10 Criclytics Projections:
Ireland - Paul Stirling, Andrew Balbirnie (c), Gareth Delany, Harry Tector, Curtis Campher, George Dockrell, Lorcan Tucker (wk), Mark Adair, Barry McCarthy, Craig Young, Joshua Little.
New Zealand - Martin Guptill, Finn Allen, Dane Cleaver (wk), Glenn Phillips, Daryl Mitchell, James Neesham, Michael Bracewell, Mitchell Santner (c), Ish Sodhi, Lockie Ferguson, Jacob Duffy.