Cricket was introduced to Ireland in the second half of the 18th century. The first record of a cricket match being played in Ireland dates back to 1792 while the first international match happened in 1855 when they beat Gentleman of England 107 runs. A few years later they had a chance to play the MCC which they managed to beat by 10 runs. However, it was not until 1993 that Ireland became an associate member of the ICC. They had their first Chief Executive in 2003 and a new Cricket Ireland board was set up in 2008. The post of Chief Executive is currently held by Warren Deutrom.
After some strong performances against top ODI nations, Ireland finally got the Test status in 2018 when they played Pakistan at home in Dublin. They are pretty nascent to the Test cricket and have played just 3 Tests so far – one each against Pakistan, Afghanistan and England – and are yet to win a Test match. Ireland have produced some of the iconic players such as Paul Stirling, Kevin O’Brien, William Porterfield, Ed Joyce, Boyd Rankin, George Dockrell to name a few.
So far, in their short history of international cricket, Ireland have played 261 matches winning 109 and losing 132. They were involved in 5 tied games and 15 matches ended in no result. In Tests, they are yet to open the account after three losses. Ireland played first ODI in 2006 against England losing it by just 38 runs chasing 301. They won the next ODI against Scotland by 85 runs – their first ODI win. Overall, Ireland have played 160 ODIs so far winning just over 40% of their matches with 68 wins. They have lost 81 ODIs with 8 no-results and 3 ties. Kevin O’Brien recorded the fastest century in ODI World Cups in a winning cause against England in 2011 ODI World Cup in India.
Since the year 2008, Ireland have been part of 98 T20 internationals. They have won just over 40% of T20I matches with 41 wins and 48 losses. They tied 2 T20Is and 7 matches ended in no-result. They have played the most T20Is (18 matches) against Afghanistan but have only won 3 so far against them.
Being a minnow nation in cricket world Ireland do not get regular home series and have to adjust their calendar based on the availability of the opposition and occurrences of World events. The home season for Ireland generally begins in June and may last until September. They hosted the first home match – an ODI – in June 2006 against England. As they did not have Test status until 2018, their home series generally consists of ODIs and T20Is. They play the associate nations most of the time in Quadrangular, European Division championship, World Cup qualifier etc. Ireland generally play 2 to 4 limited-overs matches in a series at home.
The away matches for Ireland mainly involve playing in World events such as ODI or T20I World Cup whenever they qualify. Apart from England and West Indies, not many major cricketing nations have scheduled bilateral series with them on a regular basis. They have played just one Test away from home in England while the other two Tests have been at home. Apart from the World events, Ireland play 1-3 ODIs against countries such as Scotland, West Indies, Canada, Zimbabwe, Kenya, UAE, South Africa and England. The T20I series away from home generally consists of 1-2 matches.
Ireland are currently in the UAE to play 3 ODIs each against UAE and Afghanistan. All the matches are being played in Abu Dhabi. Ireland lost the first ODI to UAE. Because of the Covid-19 positive cases, the second ODI has been postponed and rescheduled to be played on the 16th of January. There were supposed to play 1 Test, 3 ODIs and 3 T20Is during this period but due to the pandemic, the series fixtures were changed.
After this series, Ireland do not play international cricket until after World Test Championship final. In the latter half of June 2012, they are scheduled to play South Africa at home for 3 ODI and 3 T20I series. Later, they will travel to the Netherlands for 3 ODI and 2 T20I series. In August, they will host Zimbabwe at home for 1 Test, 3 ODI and 5 T20Is. Later in the year, before World T20, Ireland will play 3-T20I away series in Afghanistan. In the 2022-2023 season, Ireland will play West Indies, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh away from home whereas they will host New Zealand, Afghanistan and South Africa. The away season consists of a total of 2 Tests, 11 ODIs and 9 T20Is while the home season consists of 2 Tests, 8 ODIs and 3 T20Is.
Some of these fixtures might change as a result of the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Ireland are busy until the end of this month. They are currently in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to play the hosts and Afghanistan for 3 ODIs each. The first ODI was a thrilling content between UAE and Ireland which the visitors lost by 6 runs with 6 balls remaining after scoring 269 batting first. Paul Sterling hit a century in Ireland’s first ODI of the year 2021 but that was not enough for Ireland to clinch a victory. They were supposed to play UAE in the second ODI on 12th January 2021 but due to Covid-19 cases in the UAE camp, the match has been postponed to 16th January. The recurring Covid-19 case could mean the cancellation of the tour as well.
After this tour, Ireland have a long gap in their international schedule. They will not play any cricket until the World Test Championship final in June. They will host South Africa in the latter half of June-2021 for 3 ODIs and 3 T20I series. The series does not involve Tests.
History of Ireland greats
Eoin Morgan could have been the greatest among the Ireland cricket players had he not decided to leave his country and play for England instead. Ireland, being the neighbour of England who invented cricket, have been playing for quite some time, but their international cricket history is not that long. During this short period of time, they have produced some incredible players including but not limited to the O’Brien brothers – Kevin and Niall, Paul Sterling, Ed Joyce, William Porterfield. It is impossible to think about Ireland cricket without mention of Boyd Rankin, George Dockrell who are some of the top wicket-takers among Ireland cricket players. However, without a doubt, Kevin O’Brien is the most successful cricketer Ireland has produced. He is a top all-rounder with most wickets for Ireland and is one of the top run-makers for the country.
The high points for Ireland came in the World Cups. In 2007, they managed to get into the Super Eight stage trumping Pakistan and Zimbabwe. The win in the 2011 World Cup against arch-rivals England is their most celebrated one. The record century by Kevin O’Brien broke the morale of the English team in that World Cup. They got the status pretty late. However, now that they have it, Ireland will be looking forward to creating some upsets in World Cricket.
Current 2020 Test team
Ireland are quite new to Test cricket and seldom play in the longest format of the game. They played their last Test match in July 2019 against England. William Porterfield is the captain of Ireland’s Test team who opens the innings for them along with James McCollum. Andy Balbirnie and Paul Sterling for the solid middle-order along with Kevin O’Brien. Gary Wilson, the wicketkeeper, and Stuart Thompson for the lower middle order. In the bowling department, they have Mark Adair, Andy McBrine, Tim Murtagh and Boyd Rankin. Ireland will play their next Test at home against Zimbabwe in August 2021.
Current 2020 ODI Team
Though Ireland is ranked 11th on the ICC ODI Team rankings, they are a formidable unit and can make it tough for any opposition on their day as exemplified by that memorable win against England in 2011 ODI World Cup. Andy Balbirnie is their ODI captain who bats at number 3 after the talented opening pair of Paul Sterling, who is ranked 28th in the ICC ODI batsmen ranking, and Kevin O’Brien who used to be a middle-order batsman earlier. Harry Tector and wicketkeeper-batsman Lorcan Tucker form the middle order along with Curtis Campher. Gareth Delany is the handy bat down the order. Mark Adair, Andy McBrine, Barry McCarthy and Craig Young constitute the bowling unit.
Current 2020 T20I team
Afghanistan last played a T20I in March 2020 against Afghanistan just before the lockdowns happened all around the World due to coronavirus. It was a tied match which Ireland won in the Super Over thanks to that man – Kevin O’Brien again who opens the batting with Paul Sterling in the T20Is as well. Captain Andy Balbirnie comes at 3 in the batting order followed by Gareth Delany and Harry Tector. Wicketkeeper Lorcan Tucker and Shane Getkate form the lower middle order. Simi Singh, Barry McCarthy, Craig Young and Josh Little form the bowling unit for Ireland. Gareth Delany is the 6th ranked all-rounder in T20I cricket currently along with Paul Sterling who is ranked 18th in the ICC T20I batting rankings.
Ireland have played the most number of international matches against Afghanistan. The first match they played was back in February 2010. It was a T20I match in Sri Lanka Associates T20 Series that Ireland won by 5 wickets with 11 balls remaining chasing 122. Since then, these two teams have regularly played against each other. So far, they have played 46 international matches with Ireland winning 16 and losing 28 matches. There was one tie and one match ended in no result.
In the only Test, they played in March 2019 in Dehra Dun, India – venue considered as Afghanistan’s home for that Test – Ireland lost to Afghanistan by 7 wickets. In ODIs, these two teams have played 27 matches so far with both of them winning 13 matches whereas one match ended in no result. Ireland played the first ODI against Afghanistan in July 2010 and won it by 39 runs by successfully defending 237. In T20Is, Ireland have had a poor showing against Afghanistan. Ireland have just 3 wins in 18 T20Is against Afghanistan. They have 14 losses and 1 tied game against Afghanistan.
Ireland have played the most matches against Scotland except for Afghanistan. The first match between these two teams was an ODI back in August 2006 in a European Championship Division One game in Scotland. The match was won by Ireland by 85 runs defending 240 as they skittled Scotland for a meagre 155. Eoin Morgan used to play for Ireland back then and he was the top scorer in that game with a 99 off 134 deliveries.
These two teams are yet to play a Test match as Scotland doesn’t have the Test status yet. In the 20 ODIs so far, Ireland have had an upper hand against Scotland. They have won 75% of the ODIs with 15 wins and 4 losses with 1 match ending in no result. In T20Is as well, Ireland have been a superior team. Since the first T20I back in August 2008 – which was a thriller that Ireland won by 4 wickets with 1 ball remaining chasing 118 – Ireland have played 13 T20Is against Scotland winning 7 and losing just 3 with 1 tie and 2 matches ending in no result.
Ireland have been playing against the Netherlands since 2006. They have so far played 22 international matches against the Netherlands winning 11 of them. They have lost 8 matches and tied 1 match with a couple of them resulting in abandonment one of which was the first-ever match between the two teams. The match happened in August 2006 in which Ireland was in a strong position when the match was called off. Their next ODI happened 6 months later in February 2007 which Ireland lost by just 6 runs chasing 261 in 46 overs.
Overall, Ireland have played 10 ODIs against the Netherlands winning 7 of them losing and tying one each with one no result. These two teams played the last ODI in 2013 which was a tie. Since then, they have been playing just T20I cricket. In T20Is, Ireland and the Netherlands have played 12 matches so far with just 4 going Ireland’s way. Ireland lost 7 matches while 1 ended in no-result.
West Indies is one of the top international teams against whom Ireland have played somewhat regularly. In the 19 matches so far in all formats, Ireland were able to win just 3 matches. They lost 13 matches while 3 resulted in no-result.
The first match between Ireland and West Indies happened in a league match in 2007 ODI World Cup where West Indies beat Ireland comfortably by 8 wickets 59 balls remaining (D/L Method). Since then, Ireland have played 12 ODIs against West Indies winning just one of them while losing 10 with one match ending in no result. The win came in the 2015 ODI World Cup when Ireland successfully chased 307 with 4 wickets and 25 balls remaining. The top order, consisting of Paul Sterling, Ed Joyce, Niall O’Brien, sealed the chase for Ireland.
In T20Is, out of the 7 matches so far, Ireland have won 2 and lost 3 to West Indies with 2 matches ending in no result. The first T20I happened in 2010 that West Indies won comfortably by 70 runs. Ireland’s first T20I win came in 2014 when they successfully chased 117 with 6 wickets remaining away from home in Kingston, West Indies.
Ireland have been playing Zimbabwe, a formidable force in Cricket back in the day, since 2007. Their first match was an epic encounter in the 2007 World Cup that happened in West Indies. Playing in the Group-D match against Zimbabwe, Ireland scored 221 batting first thanks to Jeremy Bray’s 115 not out. Zimbabwe were cruising along at 203 for 5 in the 44th over. They lost last 5 wickets for 18 runs with the last wicket as run-out on the last ball of the match ending it in a tie. Since then, 13 ODIs with each of them winning 6 ODIs each and one match, the first one, ending in a tie.
Ireland have not played the Test against Zimbabwe yet but they are scheduled to play one in April 2022 in a series of 1 Test, 5 ODIs and 3 T20Is. In T20Is so far, these two teams could manage just 3 completed encounters. There have been 4 abandonments 3 of which were due to coronavirus lockdown in April 2020. In the matches, Ireland won 2 matches while lost 1 match.
The 2007 ODI World Cup was the opportunity for teams like Ireland to play against major cricketing nations. They got to play against Bangladesh for the first time in the same World Cup in Super Eights. Not only did they play, but defeated Bangladesh comfortably by 74 runs defending 244. All Ireland bowlers took wickets in that eventful match. Since then, these two teams have played 15 matches so far with Ireland winning 3 and losing 10 matches while 2 matches ended in no result.
In ODIs, Ireland could manage just 2 wins in 10 games with 7 losses and 1 no result. They have not won against Bangladesh since 2010. Their series against Bangladesh in May 2020 was cancelled amid pandemic. In the 5 T20Is matches so far, Ireland won only 1 while lost 3 to Bangladesh with 1 resulting in no-result. The win came in the very first T20I against Bangladesh in 2009 World Cup when Ireland successfully chased 138 with 6 wickets and 10 balls remaining.
Ireland and England have been part of some interesting international encounters over the years. In the 15 internationals so far between the two teams, Ireland have won only 2 matches but those were epic wins. The first one came in the 2011 World Cup in India. Ireland successfully chased 328 with 3 wickets and 5 balls remaining thanks to a record-breaking 50-ball century from Kevin O’Brien. It is still a record for the fastest century in ODI World Cups. The second win also came in the ODI when they chased 329 with 7 wickets and 1 ball remaining thanks to twin centuries from Paul Sterling and captain Andy Balbirnie.
Overall, in 13 ODIs, Ireland have these two wins while they have lost 10 matches to England with one match ending in no result. They have played just one T20 so far which ended in no result. The only Test that happened between these teams was an interesting encounter. Ireland skittled England for just 85 runs in the first innings. It looked like Ireland would create an upset, but England came back stronger in the second innings and won the Test by 143 runs.
Like England, Ireland have played 15 international matches in all formats against Kenya. In those 15 matches, Ireland have won 12, lost 2 while 1 match ended in no result. The first match between the two was an ODI in the ICC World Cricket League Division One in Nairobi in February 2007. Keyna won that close match by 1 wicket. That was one of the two matches Ireland ever lost against Kenya. Overall, in ODIs, Ireland have 7 wins and 2 loses with 1 no result in 10 matches. Ireland’s first ODI win against Kenya came in 2008 at Belfast where despite scoring just 148 in the first innings, Ireland came back stronger to skittle Kenya for just 115 runs to win the match by 33 runs.
In T20Is, Ireland is yet to lose to Kenya. They have won all the 5 matches played against Kenya – first of which happened in 2008 where Ireland dismissed Kenya for 65 in the semi-final of World Cup qualifier and won the match with 4 wickets to spare.