T20 World Cup 2021 | Paul Stirling’s contribution will be crucial for Ireland, says Andrew Balbirnie

T20 World Cup 2021 | Paul Stirling’s contribution will be crucial for Ireland, says Andrew Balbirnie

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Andrew Balbirnie stated that the form of Paul Stirling will be crucial for Ireland in the T20 World Cup


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Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie has stated that opening batsman Paul Stringling’s form will be crucial for the team in the T20 World Cup 2021. Balbirnie further added that the experience of Stirling and Kevin O’Brien will give youngsters the opportunity to learn during the ICC mega event.

Ireland have been a regular side in the T20 World Cup since 2009, but the team has failed to progress beyond the first round in their last four appearances. Ireland are placed in Group A of Round 1 along with Sri Lanka, Netherlands, and Namibia. The Andrew Balbirnie-led side claimed a 3-2 victory against Zimbabwe in the T20I series recently, and the world No. 12-ranked team is hopeful of carrying their good form into the T20 World Cup 2021 which begins on October 17 in UAE and Oman.

Meanwhile, Andrew Balbirnie stated that Paul Stringling’s form will be crucial for his side in the marquee event. He further added that Stirling and Kevin O’Brien have featured in all the T20 World Cups for Ireland since 2009, and the experience of the duo will benefit the youngsters in the team.

"Paul is hugely important for us. You just have to ask the other teams: when they're playing against us, he is - no doubt - the wicket they want to get. He's played all around the world in various different leagues and teams and he's just got better and better. If he has a really good week next week, it will go a long way for us trying to qualify for the next phase," Balbirnie told ESPNcrincinfo.

"We've got our two main guys at the top of the order in Kevin O'Brien and Paul Stirling, who has been at all the T20 World Cups that Ireland has been in since 2009. They've got loads of experience they can hand down to the younger generation - people like Gareth Delany, Josh Little, Ben White, Mark Adair, and Neil Rock,” he added.

Speaking further on Ireland’s chance in the T20 World Cup, Balbirnie reckoned that the team has got a bunch of big hitters who can accelerate the innings. He further added that in order to clinch big wins in the tournament, the contribution of Stirling and Kevin O’Brien matters the most.

"Six-hitting is a big thing for us and we know we have the batters [in the middle order] to go out and score at a pretty good strike rate, but the starts we have been getting with the two lads have been setting us up for some of our big wins in the format," he said.

"The last couple of T20 World Cups have been pretty disappointing for us, most notably Dharamsala in 2016 and Bangladesh in 2014. It's shaping up to be a really exciting group for the neutral - I'm not sure if any team is going to win all three games; I think that's going to be very difficult," he added.

Ireland will lock horns with Netherlands in the qualifier round on October 18 in Abu Dhabi.

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