Cricket: Ireland vs New Zealand
3 Match T20 International Series
New Zealand travel to Ireland, in what should be an intriguing series in the Emerald Isle, not only due to the fact the visitors are giving plenty of opportunities to some of their fringe players.
Irish cricket is booming once more and they are beginning to transition nicely into the next era of players, with the likes of William Porterfield and Kevin O’Brien both having stepped away from the game at international level, presenting a whole new generation of Irish cricketers with the opportunity to impress.
They will be relishing the challenge of taking on an New Zealand side that certainly isn’t at full strength and home conditions should be somewhat of a leveller but there are plenty of upstarts within the Black Caps side that will be out to prove their point at international level here.
With Test status already secured and some excellent results against higher ranked sides in recent years, Irish cricket is continually making huge leaps forward. Andrew Balbirnie is now the leader of the side and his runs at the top of the order are essential, as are the exploits of Paul Sterling – who has developed into one of the most dangerous T20 batters in the world in recent years. Curtis Campher and Gareth Delany are two genuine all-rounders, who can change the game with both bat and ball, and they should both have an impact on this series. Mark Adair brings the X-factor of pace to the Irish attack and with support from Joshua Little and Craig Young, it is a handy looking bowling department Ireland possess.
Following a thumping in the Test Series against England, New Zealand will be keen to get some momentum going in the shortest form of the international game. T20 cricket wouldn’t necessarily be their strongest suit but they have plenty of players who ply their trade in the IPL and the Big Bash, and they are a lethal side if they start firing. Mating Guptill is as dangerous as they come in T20 cricket and he will be looking to set the tempo, alongside the likes of Finn Allen and Glenn Phillips. Jimmy Neesham and Michael Bracewell are two high quality all-rounders, that can change the game with both bat and ball, whilst Adam Milne and Lockie Ferguson bring genuine heat in the pace bowling department.
Series Betting Tips
Top Run Scorer in Series –Daryl Mitchell – 3/1
Having cashed in seriously in the recent Test series with England, Daryl Mitchell should arrive in Ireland full of confidence here.
Top Bowler in the Series: Adam Milne – 26/10
Having enjoyed an excellent Hundred competition in England last summer, Adam Milne possesses all of the key skills needed when bowling in the shorter formats of the game.
New Zealand to win the series – 1/16
Ireland need to be tested against sides such as the Kiwis and playing at home will be somewhat of a leveller. Whilst the Black Caps are depleted a little due to squad rotation, this New Zealand side is still strong enough to secure a series win here.
New Zealand to win the series 3-0 – 8/11
T20 internationals are always hotly contested at the top end of the game and the prospect of two hugely talented sides facing off is always appealing. Ireland will benefit from being able to play at home, with decent quality running throughout their ranks in the 20 over format but New Zealand are proven at this level and with some players having something to prove too, they look to be worthy favourites to win the three game series comfortably.