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Craig Young will get chance to stake Ireland claim

By Ian Callender

The ICC World Cup may be still 377 days away but Ireland's countdown starts in Trinidad this evening with their opening match in the Nagico Super50 Regional Tournament.

A virtually full-strength Ireland squad – missing only Ed Joyce – arrived in Port of Spain on Tuesday and after just two days of acclimatisation are straight into action in the first of three day/night 50 overs games, against Guyana at the Queen's Park Oval (6pm start GMT).

Ireland have not played a 50 overs game since September when they had three in six days – the one-day match against England at Malahide, followed by two World Cricket League games against Scotland at Stormont.

There is sure to be at least three changes to the starting line-up from their last outing with Andrew White and Eddie Richardson left out of the 14-man squad and Joyce, who joins up for the international matches next month, all having to be replaced.

Alex Cusack, John Mooney and Tim Murtagh all missed the second game against the Scots and would be the obvious changes but coach Phil Simmons is likely to give new fast bowling hope Craig Young his second game in Ireland colours, possibly at the expense of Stuart Thompson.

Ireland are in Group A of the Super50 event along with Guyana, Jamaica (whom they play on Monday) and defending champions the Windward Islands (next Friday).

Guyana's most famous names are Test stars Shiv Chanderpaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan and slow bowlers Devendra Bishoo and Narsingh Deonarine.

Meanwhile, Scotland and the UAE joined Ireland at next year's World Cup finals after sealing the final two qualifying places yesterday.

Scotland were taken to the last over before completing a three wickets victory over Kenya while UAE, who topped the Super Six table, had a more comfortable 36 runs win over Namibia.

The teams meet in the final tomorrow and Ireland will have a keen interest in the outcome.

The losers go into Group B and will play Ireland in their second match in Brisbane on February 25, while the Irish will meet the winners in the first of two official warm-up matches in Sydney.

It is the third time Scotland have qualified but the first since 2007 when they lost all three games.

Belfast Telegraph


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