Five matches, four defeats, one washout. It hasn’t been the greatest of home summers for Ireland as an ODI team, but their captain William Porterfield, is confident of an improved display in the upcoming series against Afghanistan, which begins on Sunday in Belfast.
“The runs have been shared around, Kevin [O’Brien] has a couple of 50s, Stirlo (Paul Stirling) has over 200 runs [over the summer], it’s nice everyone is starting to click,” Porterfield told the Belfast Telegraph on Saturday. “Murts (Tim Murtagh) will come back in and help the younger bowlers and if we bring 95-100 overs together against Afghanistan (over the two ODIs) we will beat them.”
Porterfield himself has found a bit of form, scoring 94 against Bangladesh on Wednesday after going 13 ODI innings without getting to 30.
“No pressure, but I have to prove it wasn’t a one-off,” Porterfield said. “I’ve been in situations like that before. It’s different when you feel out of nick or making the same mistakes but I didn’t feel like that.
“It would have been nice to kick on and have fun with Stirlo at the end but it was pleasing to spend time out in the middle, it’s a performance game.”
Coming in at No. 4 – a position he has dropped down to to allow James McCollum to open the batting – Porterfield added 174 with Stirling, Ireland’s highest partnership for any wicket against a Test nation.
“Stirlo did all the work against West Indies in the previous game and was disappointed to get out in the 70s,” Porterfield said. “It shows the standards he sets and it was pleasing he got a century against Bangladesh. That’s what you need to set up totals.”
With the left-arm seamer Josh Little injured, the allrounder Tyrone Kane is likely to come into Ireland’s XI, and his superior batting ability could also enable a change in the spin department, with the out-of-sorts left-arm spinner George Dockrell – who has gone wicketless in all four ODIs he has played this summer – potentially making way for the offspinner Andy McBrine.