Men’s T20 World Cup: Heinrich Malan backs Ireland to challenge world’s best ahead of India opener in New York | Cricket News

Ireland head coach Heinrich Malan believes his side have the ability to beat the world’s best teams as they prepare for their T20 World Cup opener against India on Wednesday, live on Sky Sports Cricket.

Malan’s side will begin their campaign against the No 1 ranked side in New York (coverage from 3pm, first ball at 3.30pm), with the two teams in Group A alongside Pakistan, Canada and tournament co-hosts United States.

Ireland are ranked 10 places below India but have enjoyed recent success over leading sides, beating Pakistan by five wickets in May before going on to lose the series 2-1, and Malan believes his side have what it takes to go toe to toe with top teams.

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Michael Atherton looks ahead to the T20 World Cup, discussing England’s chances and who he thinks will come out on top.

“It’s not necessarily just about the World Cup or playing against India or anyone of the top sides, we try and put a process in place and a system and a structure in place that we can play consistent, good cricket,” Malan said in his pre-match press conference.

“Hopefully, if we do follow the process, we’ve shown over a period that we can play a good brand of cricket. If we do that well over time, like I’ve said, we’ve shown then you know we can beat the top sides.”

Ireland played India in a couple of T20s in Malahide last year, with India narrowly coming out on top with a two-run Duckworth-Lewis-Stern victory in one of the matches, while Malan is now looking forward to playing in conditions which neither side is too familiar with.

“I think it’s shown in the past that the luck of the Irish has always been with us and, playing in a country which we don’t know a lot about, it is what it is,” Malan added. “We’ve really had a nice opportunity to prepare and try and control some areas that we feel like we can control and part of that is making sure we do our preparation.

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Highlights from the 2022 Men’s T20 World Cup, where Ireland claimed a shock victory over England

“India is an experienced side, which means there’s a lot of dots (to connect) and a lot of information out there. So hopefully we can look to find a couple of areas we can try and exploit.”

Can India secure World Cup glory?

India have not won a T20 World Cup since 2007 and will be looking to end their 17-year wait to get their hands on the trophy, with captain Rohit Sharma expecting to see his side play with freedom despite that winless drought.

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India beat Pakistan 3-0 in a five-ball bowl-out at three stumps at the 2007 World Cup after their group match ended in a tie.

“I’m just going to play my game and help the team in whatever way I can and get everyone together to play as a team,” Sharma said. “Not looking at the larger picture, I don’t think those kinds of thoughts will help so much.

“I’m sure everyone in the team have their own way of dealing with tournaments like the World Cup. I think it’s important not to look too far ahead. Just think about what we need to do tomorrow. Play the game well and then take it from there. We won’t think too much and put ourselves under pressure.”

Can Ireland cause an upset against India? Watch live on Wednesday from 3pm on Sky Sports Cricket (first ball at 3.30pm). Watch every match from the Men’s T20 World Cup live on Sky Sports between now and June 29.

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