Cricket World Cup Team Preview: Ireland to come up very short

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Number of previous appearances: 2

Last appearance: 2011

Best finish: Super Eight Stage (2007)

2014 ODI record: Played 5, Won 2, Lost 3

Pool: B

First 3 fixtures: West Indies, United Arab Emirates, South Africa

Coach: Phil Simmons

Squad: William Porterfield (capt), Andrew Balbirnie, Peter Chase, Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Ed Joyce, Andrew McBrine, John Mooney, Kevin O’Brien, Niall O’Brien, Max Sorensen, Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson, Gary Wilson, Craig Young

Top runscorer: Ed Joyce

This will be a third World Cup for the Irish batsman, and when niggling injury issues are put to one side, he can really rack up a score.

While he is slowly coming back to form, the knocks that he put in for Sussex during the second half of last season’s County Championship were something special, hitting three centuries in his last four matches for the Sharks.

Yes, the World Cup will be a shorter format, but give him a chance, and Joyce will punish bowlers.

Top wicket taker: Craig Young

The warm-up matches have shown what a bright prospect Young is for his nation.

During the ODI tour of Dubai in mid-January, the medium pacer took nine wickets in four innings against the likes of Scotland and Afghanistan.

He will need to step up to the fold to bring down some of the biggest stars in the game, but there’s something a bit special about the 24-year-old from Londonderry.

Magic man: George Dockrell

He may be younger than Craig Young, but with 42 International ODIs to his name, Dockrell has become one of the standout members of Ireland’s bowling attack.

And with the team in Pool B, Dockrell can shine.

He has averaged 1.4 wickets an innings in the 14 ODIs he has featured against the other nations in the group, for a side as unfancied as Ireland, that could prove vital.

Pre-tournament storyline:

Ireland’s ODI schedule throughout 2014 was already looking sparse in comparison to a number of their competitors here, but bad weather put paid to a number of warm-ups against associate sides, leaving them with just a quintet of first class ties.

Results have been mixed in their preparation, beating both Scotland and Afghanistan, but then falling to a New Zealand and Sri Lanka A sides.

They will probably be out of their depth Down Under, but expect the Emerald Isle to make it a game of things in Pool B.

Tournament odds: 500/1

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.