Ireland will now play on three consecutive days in the Oman quadrangular tournament after their game against UAE was put back until tomorrow.
Although the squad arrived on schedule in Muscat on Wednesday, their playing gear did not arrive until 8am yesterday, forcing the postponement of their opening match. It has been rescheduled on what was due to be the rest day with a 6am start (GMT).
Today’s game against Oman will now be their first match with the game against Nepal, who beat the hosts yesterday by six wickets chasing 136 with three balls to spare, completing Ireland’s tournament on Monday. Both these games start at 10am.
Ireland won their last game against Oman at the 2019 T20 World Cup qualifier in Abu Dhabi thanks to an unbeaten 89 by Gareth Delany, but two weeks earlier they had lost to the same opposition at today’s Al Amerat venue by 43 runs.
Eight of the Ireland side that day will likely be back in action, but not their top scorer Kevin O’Brien, who has been left out of a global qualifying event for the first time since his debut in 2006.
Andrew Balbirnie has confirmed he will again open with Paul Stirling and Delany, who missed Ireland’s last T20 action, the shared two-match series against the USA in Florida in December, will be back at No.3.
But those recent results — and the two against Oman just over two years ago — highlight what Balbirnie has called Ireland’s Achilles heel in T20 cricket.
“We can’t take any game for granted,” said the captain. “Our inconsistency has been our Achilles heel recently and we know we need to string performances together to gain confidence. These three games are about trying to get momentum going into the next three games and if we can do that we will see where we are at the end of it.”