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Irish keen to get misfiring batsmen back into shape

Ireland will be keen to return to winning ways when they play two more Twenty20 internationals, against UAE in the impressive Sheikh Zayed Stadium, starting tomorrow.

The defeat to Papua New Guinea on Tuesday in Townsville for John Bracewell and his men can hardly be termed a surprise when set against Ireland's recent record in the shortest format of the game and although the players themselves are reluctant to admit it, their batting, on certain types of pitches, is a concern as they countdown to the World Twenty20 next month.

Since Ireland claimed their greatest T20 victory, against the West Indies at Sabina Park two years ago this month, they have won only nine of their last 17 in this format and one of those was against Zimbabwe, the only other Full Member nation they have played.

Significantly, though, that was the opening game of the World Twenty20 when the pitch was fresh and the batsmen were able to get full value for the strokes.

The UAE, who won only one of their six games at last year's World T20 qualifiers in Scotland, are just the opposition Ireland need to get their batsmen back in the mood. They certainly need to because after Tuesday's second game, they have only the two warm-up matches in India, against Hong Kong and Zimbabwe, to get it right before they start their eighth successive global campaign against Oman in Dharamsala on March 9.

However, UAE's last T20 international, eight days ago, resulted in a surprise win over Scotland, who won both completed internationals against Ireland at Bready last year.

Belfast Telegraph

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