Triangular Series Preview: Ireland, NZ and Bangladesh

Ireland play host to the Black Caps of New Zealand and the Tigers of Bangladesh in a triangular series this month with the visitors tuning up for the Champions Trophy.

For Ireland the series presents an opportunity to show they are ready to make the step up to Test cricket.

New Zealand have rested their big names for the series and will look to blood a number of promising young players.

Bangladesh have sent pretty much a full strength squad eager to prepare for their appearance at the Champions Trophy although Shakib-al-Hasan and Mustafizur Rahman will only arrive once they have wrapped up their participation in the IPL.

Ireland struggled to compete against a powerful England team in their most recent series and will want to show they can go toe-to-toe with the big boys.

ALSO READ: Singh gets ODI call

The hosts are still without pacemen Jacob Mulder and Boyd Ranking but would have been pleased with the bowling of Peter Chase, Tim Murtagh and Barry McCarthy in the series against England.

Bangladesh arrive having had some down time after a full bilateral series against Sri Lanka which ended 1-1 in all three formats and they will be eager to keep up the momentum.

The Tigers have been great in Asia over the last two years but have struggled in seam and swing friendly conditions with their most recent tour outside of Asia ending with New Zealand whitewashing them in all three forms of the game.

The Black Caps will be playing around with different combinations but their status in the game makes them series favourites despite the absence of no fewer than eight players selected for the Champions Trophy.

Central Districts fast bowler Seth Rance and Northern Districts allrounder Scott Kuggeleijn are a step closer to representing New Zealand for the first time, while recently named Test Player of the Year Neil Wagner is also in line to make his ODI debut.

Wellington’s Hamish Bennett and Central Districts’ George Worker return to the international scene after extended periods out of the ODI squad, while Colin Munro and Henry Nicholls are also back in the side.

Ross Taylor makes his return having recovered from injury and will be looking to find form ahead of what will be a tough Champions Trophy campaign with the Black Caps grouped against Australia, England and Bangladesh with only two knockout slots up for grabs.

Four of the matches in the series will be played at the Village ground in Malahide, Dublin a venue that saw three 300 scores in 2016 with Sri Lanka racking up 377/8 there in June 2016.

The other two matches will be played at Clontarf Cricket Club in Dublin which last hosted an ODI in 2014. The surface could prove trickier  to bat on than Malahide but the relatively short boundaries could mean we could see some big scores.

Key Men

Ireland have shown themselves to be heavily reliant on their top three with Paul Striling the most explosive of the three and the most likely to take the game away from the opposition.

Tim Murtagh is a seasoned professional who makes up for a lack of express pace with some smart bowling, he could trouble Bangladesh but the Black Caps may just be too good.

Tamim Iqbal will need to get the Tigers off to good starts and protect the middle order against the swinging new ball, he has been in spectacular form and when he gets going he can be destructive.

With Mustafizur missing for the early games Taskin Ahmed will assume the mantle of lead strike bowler. He recently claimed an ODI hat-trick in Sri Lanka and is no mug with the ball.

For New Zealand Colin Munro will be one to watch with bat in hand and with his behaviour landing him in hot water of late he will be under pressure to show he can produce the goods and behave himself.

Without any established ODI quick bowlers left-arm quick Neil Wagner will need to show that he can make the transition to the shorter formats. He has been in fine form for Essex in the Royal London One Day Cup picking up two four wicket hauls in four matches.

Squads

Ireland: William Porterfield (Captain) (Warwickshire), Andrew Balbirnie (Pembroke/Leinster Lightning), Peter Chase (Malahide/Leinster Lightning), George Dockrell (Leinster/Leinster Lightning), Ed Joyce (Sussex/Leinster Lightning), Tim Murtagh (Middlesex), Barry McCarthy (Durham/Leinster Lightning), Kevin O’Brien (Railway Union/Leinster Lightning), Niall O’Brien (NW Warriors), Simi Singh (YMCA/Leinster Lightning), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Stuart Thompson (Eglinton/NW Warriors), Gary Wilson (Derbyshire/Northern Knights), Craig Young (Bready/NW Warriors).

Bangladesh: Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Mushfiqur Rahim (vice-capt, wk), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Imrul Kayes, Shakib Al Hasan, Sabbir Rahman, Mahmudullah, Mosaddek Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Subashis Roy, Sunzamul Islam, Nurul Hasan, Mehedi Hasan, Nasir Hossain, Shafiul Islam.

Black Caps: Tom Latham (c), Hamish Bennett, Neil Broom, Scott Kuggeleijn, Colin Munro, James Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Jeetan Patel*, Seth Rance, Luke Ronchi, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, George Worker

*Jeetan Patel will join squad for the 4th ODI from Warwickshire

Fixtures

12 May: Ireland v Bangladesh (Malahide)
14 May: Ireland v New Zealand (Malahide)
17 May: Bangladesh v New Zealand (Clontarf)
19 May: Ireland v Bangladesh (Malahide)
21 May: Ireland v New Zealand (Malahide)
24 May: Bangladesh v New Zealand (Clontarf)