Cricket Ireland readying for crunch matches against Zimbabwe
Cricket’s governing body in Ireland has been making the big hits in recent years with the success of its national teams, and now there’s more opportunity than ever to follow the sport in person and online – and to play the game for yourself at your own level.
Founded in 1923, Cricket Ireland oversees the direction of the men’s and women’s national teams, which now both have “Test” status, affording them the opportunity to play regularly against the 11 (12 in the case of the women’s team) top cricketing nations in the world in that format of the game. It’s a status that other countries dream of, putting Ireland up there alongside the sport’s elite, such as Australia, India, and England.
There are additionally two shorter forms of cricket played at international level – and both of these are coming to Bready and Stormont in coming weeks. ODI (one-day international) games have a limit of 50 overs per team (typically over the course of an eight-hour game), while T20I (shortened from Twenty20 International) is an even faster version at 20 overs per team, and with limited fielding players to encourage less defensive, more aggressive play.
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“We’re looking forward to seeing Ireland play in the T20 World Cup in October,” says Niamh O’Shea, Cricket Ireland’s Marketing Manager. “The approaching tournament makes the T20 matches at Bready really big for us, because they are preparation for the World Cup a month later. As for the ODI matches at Stormont, they’re crucial because they are essentially World Cup Qualifiers for the 50-over World Cup in 2023.”
Things start to get busy for Ireland’s men’s team beginning on August 27, when they play the first of five T20I matches against Zimbabwe, firstly in Clontarf on August 27 and 29, before the series heads to Bready on September 1, 2, and 4. The three-match ODI series then swings into action at Stormont on September 8, 10, and 13. All of the T20I matches will be available to watch for free on Cricket Ireland’s YouTube channel, while the ODIs will be on BT Sport.
Still, while these are great ways to keep up with the series, there’s nothing quite like getting tickets to see the matches in person.
“For the T20s, we’re talking big hits, big fun,” explains Niamh. “It’s a celebration of sport, but really, it’s great craic, and it’s great to go in a gang of friends, and it’s great to go in families.
“For a lot of people, when they get to cricket they realise it’s not just about what happens on the field, it’s stuff that goes on around it. We love to bring international cricket to Bready - there’s a really special and unique atmosphere in the North West, where the fans really immerse themselves in the game. While Bready is not our largest international ground, it’s certainly the ground with the best backdrop, and the supporters generate an atmosphere that’s incomparable to anywhere else in Ireland.
“It’s really vocal, it’s rowdy, and it isn’t typical of how some people think of cricket. It’s more comparable to what a football match can feel like.”
For more information about watching and playing cricket in Ireland, visit http://www.cricketireland.ie. Tickets are often snapped up quickly, so ensure you don’t miss out on the games against Zimbabwe by ordering here.