Venue – The Village, Malahide
1st T20I Date: Friday, August 18
2nd T20I Date: Sunday, August 20
1st T20I Date: Tuesday, August 22
BetXchange 1st T20I Odds:
The Village will be rocking for the next few days as India faces Ireland in a three-match T20I tour, with all the games scheduled in Malahide. The first two matches are sold out – with the third heading that way – as the global brand that is the India cricket team has helped move 11,500 per match.
The countries have played five T20Is to date, and India has won all of those contests. Their first clash came in a World Twenty20 group stage picture in England in 2009, while India has twice toured Ireland, playing a pair of T20Is in the country each time. Those tours in 2018 and 2022 both saw India remain undefeated against an emerging cricketing nation that would love a win over such an established power on the world scene.
Qualifying for next year’s T20 World Cup was huge for Irish cricket. While typically a stronger OD side – a World Cup (2023) that they failed to qualify for – the nation is working on building its reputation across both forms of limited overs cricket.
The Irish are also embracing the role of underdogs here. Captain Paul Stirling has commented that this role will allow Ireland to play their best cricket in this series, with the pressure that came with the recent qualification tournament off their shoulders.
The big news for India is that Jasprit Bumrah will be returning to the side. Bumrah has been out for a year with a troubling and hard-to-control recurring back injury, a particularly nasty issue for a pace bowler. His last appearance for India was back in September of last year against Australia as he and India prepared for the 2022 T20 World Cup. His return is a massive boost, and Bumrah will be looking to prove his fitness ahead of the 2023 ODI World Cup (October) and the 2024 T20I World Cup (June next year).
It is worth noting that that is a second-string India side for the most part. These players need these games to force their way into upcoming World Cup squads, so there should be no complacency within the India camp. This is especially true as India comes into this series on the back of a 30-2 series loss last time out against the West Indies.
Ireland could (and maybe should) have beaten India in the last match between the two countries in 2022. That contest came down to the final ball, with Mark Adair needing a big boundary to win the game for his country. He could not make that shot, but any fear that Ireland had of facing India was erased over 40 combined overs.
There is no value in India to win, but at 4/1 against a second-string side and with Bumrah still not up to full speed, it feels like Ireland is worth a punt. Alternatively, if you like Bumrah to walk back into the form he usually displays, his 2/1 to be the best bowler – among a group where he is clearly the ace – might also be worthy of a flutter.