Ireland Fantasy Board for the T20I series between India and Ireland
Paul Stirling’s form

After his 119 against Northamptonshire at Birmingham exactly a month back, Paul Stirling has been in woeful form in the T20 Blast.

Stirling in his last 9 innings: 100 runs at 11/141

But in a side like Ireland, where there are no clear-cut top-quality alternatives, you stand a better chance banking on the class and experience of the 31-year-old right-hander to come through.

Andrew Balbirnie – Mr Reliable

Captain Balbirnie is Ireland’s best bet; not only is he in form, but he also bats in the top order and is their best batter technically. 

  • Best T20I bat avg for IRE in 2022 (min 25 balls): H Tector – 39, A Balbirnie – 34, C Campher – 30 
  • Best T20I bat SR for IRE in 2022 (min 25 balls): A McBrine – 151, A Balbirnie – 141, G Dockrell – 137
Gareth Delany, the specialist batter?

Delany is a leg-spin all-rounder, but he rarely bowls for Ireland these days. If the trend continues this series, you will be left with only his batting to count on. 

  • In 2019: Matches – 17, Overs – 53, Wickets – 16
  • Since 2020: Matches – 20, Overs – 16, Wickets – 3

Recent form, however, is on his side, with the right-hander striking at 182 in Ireland’s domestic T20 competition.

Best bat SR in Inter-Provincial T20 trophy 2022: K O’Brien – 214, C Campher – 185, G Delany – 182

Curtis Campher’s all-round value

With Simi Singh left out of the series and question marks over Delany’s bowling, Campher becomes Ireland’s best 5th bowling option. Add to it the fact that he will be batting in the middle order, and the 23-year-old becomes one of Ireland’s most reliable fantasy picks. 

Campher in T20Is: Matches – 12, Runs – 169, Wickets – 15

Harry Tector – Too low for a specialist T20 batter? 

Tector is one of Ireland’s best limited-overs batters, averaging 42 runs per wicket in his ODI career and slowly finding his feet in T20Is (highest average for Ireland this year and 130+ SR). But against a side like India, he needs to bat in the top order to have a significant impact from a fantasy point of view as he is not an out-and-out big hitter. 

Tector’s ODI strike rate: 74

Lorcan Tucker – low value wicketkeeper

Playing against the stronger team, Tucker, Ireland’s designated wicketkeeper, is unlikely to get a lot of catching/stumping chances, which puts a severe dent in his scoring opportunities. In addition, the 25-year-old is not a great batting option either. 

  • In T20Is: 403 at 17/116
  • In ODIs: 401 at 20/70
The George Dockrell Question

Like Delany, Dockrell has stopped bowling much for Ireland and is now playing primarily as a middle-order big hitter. 

  • In 2019: Matches – 19, Overs – 49.4, Wickets – 16
  • Since 2020: Matches – 20, Overs – 9, Wickets – 1

The right-hander’s recent batting form is poor too. Among the players who faced a minimum of 20 balls in the 2022 Inter-Provincial T20 trophy, Dockrell has the worst batting average at 8.75 runs per wicket.  

Andrew McBrine’s reduced fantasy potential than usual

In addition to being one of Ireland’s frontline bowlers, McBrine is also a handy batter. The problem, however, is that, unlike in ODIs, the off-spin all-rounder is not used higher up in the order in the shortest format, limiting the extent to which he can impact the home team’s batting innings. 

What further hits McBrine’s fantasy potential in the series is that India only have one left-hander in their top 6. 

Ireland’s fast bowlers – Little Looms Large

Out of Ireland’s 3 frontline pace bowlers, Craig Young has picked the most wickets (14) in 2022 despite playing the lowest number of matches (6). Mark Adair and Josh Little have 8 each. 

If you move the timeline back to 2020, Adair leads the wicket-taking list with 32 scalps, but it is Little who has the best average and economy rate. 

Josh Little in T20Is since 2020: 24 wickets at 23/6.7

Improving at a rate of knots, the 22-year-old also has much better numbers against the top 10 cricketing nations. Conversely, performances against lower-ranked countries inflate Adair and Young’s numbers. 

Against the top 10 cricketing nations since 2021: 

  • Josh Little: 12-0-92-7
  • Mark Adair: 16-0-145-7
  • Craig Young: 12-0-105-1

Left-arm angle and all-round bowling skillset (pace & movement) make it more difficult for opponents to negotiate Little. As a fantasy package, however, Adair’s batting ability brings it on par with him. 

Mark Adair in LOIs with the bat since 2020: Innings – 26, Sixes – 10

Playing XIFantasy RankingForm
Paul Stirling3BAD
Andrew Balbirnie (c)1MID
Gareth Delany7MID
Curtis Campher2MID
Harry Tector9MID
Lorcan Tucker (wk)10BAD
George Dockrell11BAD
Andy McBrine6MID
Mark Adair 5MID
Craig Young8MID
Josh Little 4GOOD

Top Irish differentials (Selection % on major fantasy platforms): Josh Little (Under 20%), Andy McBrine (Under 15%), Harry Tector (Under 15%), Curtis Campher (Under 50%)

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