Irish hope to ‘have a chance’ in Australia on sunnier shores

Ireland will land in Brisbane today expecting to find much better weather for Monday’s clash against Australia in the T20 World Cup after seeing their third Group 1 game against Afghanistan abandoned without a ball played in Melbourne.

Persistent rain throughout the day at the MCG also prevented the much-anticipated game between Australia and England from starting, leaving New Zealand top of the standings at race pace, having played two games, with three other teams, including Ireland, three points from three games.

“It’s very disappointing,” said skipper Andy Balbirnie. “We played good cricket and were looking forward to this game, but there’s not much you can do about the weather.”

Or can you? Just a few miles from the MCG is Marvel Stadium, a 47,000-seat arena with a roof that hosts Melbourne Renegades games in the Big Bash League, something surely should have been taken into account by Cup organizers of the world.

Because while the sun always shines on Australian soap operas, the climate Down Under actually produces a lot of rain in the spring, and before this year Australia had only scheduled a total of six internationals before November.

“We played five out of six games,” Balbirnie said, declining to be drawn on the schedule. “We were lucky in Hobart and got all three games there. We have also played Sri Lanka and England here in Melbourne so this is the first time we have been called off.

The Irish skipper is expecting a ‘different country’ weather-wise when the team arrive in Brisbane and is looking forward to ‘having a chance’ at the hosts on Monday.

“Playing world champions in their backyard will be something special,” he said.

“It’s a must-see territory for a lot of teams. There will definitely be pressure on these big teams when they play against us. We will be expected to beat us.

“It’s a good way to approach a game. You can play with a little more freedom. We believe in our group that we can beat them, but we know that we will have to be very good that day.

“It’s exciting to go to the Gabba and then the Adelaide Oval [against New Zealand] in matches that could potentially advance us to the semi-finals.

“You never know. But I guess to still be in the chase with two games to go is pretty good.

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