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Murtagh will return to partner Boyd Rankin at Twenty20

By Ian Callender

Published 24/12/2015

Tim Murtagh
Tim Murtagh

Tim Murtagh is set to be Boyd Rankin's opening bowling partner at the World Twenty20 in India.

Although the final 15-man squad for the tournament does not have to be confirmed until March 3, just two days after Rankin's return to Irish colours was confirmed, Murtagh is included in the panel for the Intercontinental Cup game against Papua New Guinea which will stay on to play three Twenty20 internationals between the teams in February.

Murtagh announced his retirement from the shortest form of the game earlier this year, along with Ed Joyce, but the 34-year-old has been persuaded by Ireland coach John Bracewell to add his vast experience to Ireland's eighth global event.

The Middlesex seamer's last T20 game was the infamous defeat to the Netherlands at the 2014 World Twenty20 in Bangladesh when he had figures of one for 47 as the Dutch scored 193 in 13.5 overs to knock Ireland out of the competition.

But Ireland prefer to remember his figures of two for 28 and one for 22 against West Indies a month earlier.

Despite Ireland suffering three defeats on their home pitches at the qualifying tournament last July, the selectors have made only one enforced change with Tyrone Kane plus the retired John Mooney and Alex Cusack replaced by Rankin, Murtagh and Andrew Poynter for the games in Australia and the UAE with no changes expected before the final 15 for India is named.

Paul Stirling, meanwhile, will have a new opening partner in limited over matches after Middlesex yesterday announced the signing of Brendon McCullum.

Ireland squad (for I-Cup game): W Porterfield (capt), A Balbirnie, G Dockrell, E Joyce, T Murtagh, A McBrine, K O'Brien, N O'Brien, S Poynter, B Rankin, P Stirling, S Thompson, G Wilson, C Young .

Squad for T20Is: as above except Joyce, plus A Poynter, M Sorensen

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