Banking on O'Brien brothers

In the 2007 edition, Ireland tied its game against Zimbabwe thanks to a brilliant century by Jeremy Bray and the economical spells from Trent Johnston and Andre Botha. Then, in one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history, Ireland defeated Pakistan by three wickets to advance to the Super Eight of the tournament.

The Super Eight stage was a forgetful one though for Ireland, which lost four games — against England, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia — before notching up its solitary win against Bangladesh.

In the 2011 World Cup, Ireland failed to progress beyond the first round but secured a historic win against England, successfully chasing 329 in 49.1 overs, with Kevin O’Brien hitting the fastest World Cup century off only 50 balls.

Clearly, Ireland will miss the experienced swing bowler Tim Murtagh who is ruled out of the event with a fractured foot. Consequently, the onus will be more on the likes of captain William Porterfield, bowlers George Dockrell, Craig Young and frontline batsman Ed Joyce besides the experienced duo of Niall O’Brien and Kevin O’Brien.

For the record, it will be the third World Cup for the Brien Brothers, Ed Joyce, Porterfield and all-rounder John Mooney.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

William Porterfield (captain), Andy Balbirnie, Peter Chase, Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Ed Joyce, Andy McBrine, John Mooney, Kevin O'Brien, Niall O'Brien (wicketkeeper), Max Sorensen, Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson, Gary Wilson (wicketkeeper) and Craig Young.

V. V. Subrahmanyam