Sri Lanka and Ireland to feature on Day 2: 2023 CWC Qualifier Day 2 Preview and Prediction

Sri Lanka are the favourites to progress from Group B

With four of the Group A teams starting their journey on Sunday, Group B of the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier will start on Monday. A former champion has been placed in this group, in Sri Lanka, whereas the other four participants include Ireland, Oman, Scotland and the United Arab Emirates. Both games will be played in the city of Bulawayo.

In the first match, Sri Lanka will take on the United Arab Emirates at the Queen’s Sports Club. The IPL 2023-winning pair of Maheesh Theekshana and Matheesha Pathirana will be featuring for the Lankans, and all eyes will be on them.

As for the second match, Ireland will take on Oman at the Bulawayo Athletic Club. Ireland will aim to get back into cricket’s biggest stage, after missing out in 2019, whereas Oman will try to do the seemingly impossible, by qualifying for their maiden World Cup campaign.

Match 1: Sri Lanka vs UAE

The third match of the qualifiers will see Sri Lanka taking on the United Arab Emirates. Though the champions of 1996 will be the outright favourites to win this match, UAE has the ability to at least make it difficult for them.

As for Sri Lanka, who are currently ranked ninth in ICC’s ODI rankings, they will be coming into this competition with a home series victory against Afghanistan. In their three-game affair, Dasun Shanaka’s team went 1-0 down to come back and clinch a 2-1 win.

Though they suffered five consecutive defeats against New Zealand and India, beating UAE is unlikely to be as big a challenge. The Lankans also looked good in the warm-up matches, where they won two back-to-back matches.

In the first match, Sri Lanka bowled out the Netherlands for 214 before chasing it down with three wickets in hand, whereas in their second game, they scored 392 runs against the USA before bowling out the opposition for 194.

Among the teams participating in this tournament, UAE is ranked the lowest, occupying 19th place in ICC’s rankings. However, they have caused a few surprises in this format, having defeated teams like Zimbabwe and Scotland not very long ago.

That being said, Muhammad Waseem’s team’s recent performances have not been very promising. UAE suffered a 3-0 whitewash in the recently concluded series against West Indies, whereas they struggled for form in the warm-up games.

The start of the campaign went well, as they defeated Nepal by three wickets in their first warm-up match. But in the second match, a star-studded West Indies team handed them a 114-run drubbing.

Sri Lanka Predicted XI: Pathum Nissanka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Mendis (wk), Charith Asalanka, Dasun Shanaka ©, Dhananjaya de Silva, Chamika Karunaratne, Wanindu Hasaranga, Maheesh Theekshana, Matheesha Pathirana, Dushmantha Chameera.

UAE Predicted XI: Muhammad Waseem ©, Asif Khan, Vriitya Aravind (wk), Basil Hameed, Rameez Shehzad, Rohan Mustafa, Ali Naseer, Muhammad Jawadullah, Zahoor Khan, Karthik Meiyappan, Junaid Siddique.

Sri Lanka and UAE have met twice in ODI cricket previously, with the Lankans winning by huge margins on both occasions. The first meeting was in the 2004 Asia Cup in Dambulla, where Sri Lanka secured a 116-run win. In the second match, which was in the 2008 Asia Cup in Lahore, the Lankans won by 142 runs.

Match 2: Ireland vs Oman

Ireland suffered a shock defeat against the Netherlands in their last warm-up match

In the fourth match of the qualifiers, Ireland will be taking on Oman. Unlike the first match of the day, the contest could be much more even in this encounter, with the two teams separated by six places on the ICC rankings.

Ireland, who are ranked 12th in the standings, have not played their best cricket in recent times. They will be coming into this match on the back of two back-to-back ODI series defeats against Bangladesh, with their last win coming against Zimbabwe way back in January.

The performance in the warm-up games was also not up to the mark of Andrew Balbirnie’s team. They did start well, as in their first match, Ireland chased down a massive 313-run target posted by the USA, with 29 balls to spare.

But in their second game, their batting totally collapsed, yet again exposing the issues with lack of consistency in the team. In that game, Ireland was bowled out for 193 by the Netherlands, before the Oranje chased the total down in only 37.3 overs.

The story is almost the same for Oman as well. Zeeshan Maqsood’s team’s last ODI outing was in the ACC Premier Cup, where they suffered losses against both Nepal and UAE.  However, they did beat teams like UAE, Namibia and Papua New Guinea last year.

Oman played decent cricket in spells during the warm-up games, but overall, they were not very promising. In the first match, they did well to stay in the game against Zimbabwe despite facing a huge target of 367 runs, but couldn’t ultimately score more than 339 runs. 

In the second match, Oman was up against Nepal. They scored 267 runs while batting first, but succumbed to a narrow two-wicket defeat.

Ireland Predicted XI: Paul Stirling, Andrew Balbirnie ©, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker (wk), George Dockrell, Gareth Delany, Mark Adair, Curtis Campher, Craig Young, Joshua Little, Barry McCarthy.

Oman Predicted XI: Kashyap Prajapati, Jatinder Singh, Aqib Ilyas, Zeeshan Maqsood ©, Mohammad Nadeem, Shoaib Khan, Ayaan Khan, Naseem Khushi (wk), Bilal Khan, Kaleemullah, Fayyaz Butt.

History will be made in Bulawayo on Monday, as this will be the first meeting between Ireland and Oman. These two teams have never crossed paths in ODI cricket previously.