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History will be made in 2020 when Ireland's adventure into the elite of world cricket brings them to Birmingham for the first time, for an ODI on Saturday 12th September.

History will be made in 2020 when Ireland’s adventure into the elite of world cricket brings them to Birmingham for the first time, for an ODI on Saturday 12th September.

Men’s World Cup champions England will take on an Ireland side which has gone from strength to strength, receiving full Test-match status in 2017, and is capable of embarrassing the biggest cricket nations.

England found out the hard way just what a punch Ireland pack when the teams met in the World Cup in Bangalore in 2011. A hefty total of 327, including half-centuries from Bears pair Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott, appeared more than good enough for England, only for it to be reeled in with five balls to spare as Kevin O’Brien smashed 113 from just 63 balls.

It was one of the most spectacular upsets in World Cup history but far from the only knockout blow that Ireland have delivered over the years. Four years earlier, Ireland defeated Pakistan in a 2007 World Cup campaign that unveiled them as a serious white-ball threat.

How far Irish cricket has continued to advance was made clear in the summer of 2019 when they played their first Test in England – and bowled the hosts out for 85 on the first morning. Joe Root’s side fought back to win, but it was another vivid reminder that these days, whatever the format, Ireland pose a threat.

They will bring an exciting new dimension to Edgbaston’s international history next September – and will arrive in Birmingham with several players who have the Bear, as well as the shamrock, close to their hearts. Former Warwickshire batsman William Porterfield has been a pivotal figure in Ireland’s rise while seamers Boyd Rankin and Mark Adair, both proud former Bears, would love to bowl their country to glory at their former home county ground.

They will seek to evoke the spirit of 1862, when the ‘Gentlemen of Ireland’ first turned over English opposition, defeating MCC Club and Ground at Lord’s. That was the first time that a representative Irish team had played in the capital and they responded with a win. Next September they come to the Second City for the first time – and will be aiming for the same.

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