Sat, 09 Dec 2023

London [UK], February 3 (ANI): Ireland will play Bangladesh in their final Super League series in May in England in order to maximise their chances of World Cup qualification.

Ireland's Super League prospects will be dependent on South Africa and Sri Lanka's performances against the Netherlands and New Zealand, respectively.

However, unless Sri Lanka wins 3-0 in New Zealand in March, a 3-0 Ireland victory over Bangladesh is likely to be enough to secure eighth place - and so a place in the 2023 World Cup in India without having to play the qualifier in Zimbabwe in June-July.

Ireland's chances were boosted significantly when South Africa was penalised a point for a sluggish over-rate against England. If South Africa defeats the Netherlands 2-0 and Ireland defeats Bangladesh 3-0, the teams will finish even on points and separated only by net run rate.

Before, the same results would have resulted in South Africa finishing one point ahead of Ireland. Ireland's net run rate (minus 0.382) is now slightly higher than South Africa's (minus 0.410), though South Africa will consider the series against the Netherlands in March-April as an opportunity to improve.

Cricket Ireland has been in discussions with the ECB in recent months about holding the series in a county venue in the second week of May.

Chelmsford is the most likely venue to be chosen for the series as per ESPNcricinfo.

There is no certainty that the rain will stay away in England. However, Cricket Ireland believes that three full matches will be played to a result in England rather than in Dublin or Belfast.

There is also a financial consideration: Ireland does not have a permanent home ground and must spend hundreds of thousands of euros each year on temporary facilities to play at Malahide, close outside Dublin.

Ireland hosted two Twenty20 Internationals against South Africa in Bristol last year and will continue to look into hosting certain fixtures in England until their intentions to build a permanent facility at the Sport Ireland complex in Abbotstown are accomplished.

The series also provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the enormous Bangladeshi community in England to cheer for their team firsthand. Bangladesh were well-supported at all sites during the 2019 World Cup, but England has not hosted a home series against them since 2010 and is not scheduled to do so before the end of the 2023-27 Future Tours Programme.

Ireland (Josh Little) and Bangladesh (Shakib Al Hasan, Litton Das, and Mustafizur Rahman) have players participating in the IPL, although all four are anticipated to compete in the Super League series in May. (ANI)

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