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Wilson sees positives as Ireland aim to draw India series


Big hitter: James Shannon faces India in today’s decider in Malahide
Big hitter: James Shannon faces India in today’s decider in Malahide
Gary Wilson

By Ian Callender

Gary Wilson insists that there were enough positives in the first Twenty20 international to believe that Ireland can finish closer to India when the teams complete the two-match series in Malahide this afternoon.

James Shannon and Peter Chase both produced career-best Ireland performances in the 76-run defeat, and if a couple more players come to the party today then the powerful India side, who will make five changes to their line-up, may not have it all their own way again.

"We're disappointed we lost the game, but we had enough positives to show we can play against teams like this," said T20 captain Wilson.

"We have been beaten by 70-odd runs, which is a big margin in T20 cricket, but if we can negate their spin on Friday that will stand us in good stead.

"At least we don't have to get ourselves up for the second game. To play in front of 9,000 people in Malahide on days like this against probably the best Twenty20 side in the world, if you can't get up for that you can't get up for anything. So we will dust ourselves down and come back on Friday with the same positive mindset."

The biggest selection decision, which Ireland are expected to repeat today, was the omission of William Porterfield.

Just three weeks after he voluntarily relinquished the T20 captaincy, Porterfield has sat out the last three games, starting in the Tri-Series in the Netherlands, and Wilson admitted it was a hard decision to leave him out of such a high-profile match.

"We know what he can do, he has done it in Twenty20 in the past, but we wanted to go with Shanno. We backed him in Holland, we think he can be that x-factor player at the top of the order and he showed that on Wednesday (scoring 60 off 35 balls; the next top score was 12).

"To break into any team you need to be given an opportunity and he was often down the order before, not in his specialist position. It's fair to say he's a top order player. But we are very much a batting group and William is very much part of it going forward," said Wilson.

The strength of the India side is such that in-form KL Rahul, ranked No.12 in the world, and Dinesh Kartik were both left out, but captain Virat Kholi confirmed immediately after the match that the five squad members not involved on Wednesday would play today, so Rahul and Kartik will come in along with pace bowler Umesh Yadav, 18-year-old off spinner Washington Sundar and the uncapped Siddharth Kaul.

Ireland are expected to be unchanged and are selecting from only 13 after a side strain forced Josh Little to withdraw from the squad. Cricket Ireland decided not to call up a replacement, but David Delany has joined the squad in a development capacity following the successful inclusion, in a similar role, of Ireland Under-19 captain Harry Tector for last Sunday's Ed Joyce Testimonial game in Sussex.

Today's action is the second half of a double header at Malahide, with the Ireland Women's side in action against Bangladesh starting at 11am.

The visitors won the first of their three-match T20 series off the last ball yesterday after losing their sixth wicket off the penultimate delivery to a run out. But a single, deflected down the leg side off the last ball, left Ireland a disappointed side.

Ireland's failure to build partnerships - the highest was 37 - proved costly and with only Gaby Lewis, 28 off 16 balls, scoring at significantly over a run-a-ball, they totalled 134-8.

When Bangladesh lost their fourth wicket, they still needed 46 from 28 balls for victory, but they took control to leave only four required from the final over.

Despite bowler Eimear Richardson's heroics, the Tigresses got home.

Waringstown's Cara Murray, the one Ulster-based player in the Ireland side, bowled only one over for eight runs.

Women's T20 International

Claremont Road: Ireland 134-8 (I Joyce 41, G Lewis 28, L Delany 22, K Garth 20; Jahanara Alam 5-28) Bangladesh 135-6 (20 overs, Nigar Sultana 46; E Richardson 2-20, G Lewis 2-20).

Bangladesh Women won by 4 wickets.

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