Two weeks ago, if you had said that the India-Ireland game might be an even, thrilling encounter, people would have assumed that you were either insane, or you were taking whatever Charlie Sheen was taking.
Of course, that doesn't seem as crazy now, since Ireland chased 328 against the same team that almost chased 338 against India. Now I don't really think this will be a huge problem for India, but I'm not ruling out an upset just because it's unlikely that lightning will strike the same place twice. It's just that India's bowlers are the type that hold lightning rods up to the sky. And my weak analogy is complete.
|"I'm tellin' ya. Those O'Briens have tiger blood and Adonis DNA."|
Anyway, KOB might have played a one-in-a-lifetime innings, but there are plenty of other capable fellas in that team, like Porterfield, Joyce and Niall O'Brien. It's got to be their batting, because these bowlers could be made to look like toys by the Indian batsmen. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to watch that, but now part of me wants Ireland to make it too. Dockrell could well be a star in the making, but tell that to Sehwag.
This game is also being played in Bangalore, land of thrilling encounters (based on one game). India will want to address their bowling issues - Chawla went for plenty against England and Munaf wasn't great either. Nehra might get a look-in at Munaf's expense, while I think Chawla should be persisted with. I wouldn't be surprised, however, to see Ashwin playing. Or even both Munaf and Nehra. I've no clue. The rest of the Indian order and the Irish team should be unchanged.
Ideal line-ups (for me):
India: Sehwag, Sachin, Gambhir, Kohli, Yuvraj, Dhoni (c)(wk), Yusuf, Chawla, Harbhajan, Zaheer, Nehra.
Ireland: Kevin O'Brien (x11).
No, I'm kidding. But that would be fun.
Ireland: Porterfield (c), Stirling, Joyce, N O'Brien (wk), K O'Brien, Cusack, Botha, Mooney, Johnston, Dockrell, Rankin.
Official-looking prediction: India to have moments of unease, but win easily in the end. Not as high-scoring as you'd think.