Having opened their campaign with a commanding seven-wicket win over the West Indies, England Women will be expected to ruin Ireland Women’s T20 World Cup debut when the two teams meet in Paarl on Monday.
Ireland have never previously featured in the Twenty20 showpiece, but have five appearances at the 50-over World Cup to draw upon, including having reached the quarter-finals in 1997 in India.
England, meanwhile, are four-time winners of the 50-over competition and also took the honours in the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2009.
|What||Ireland Women v England Women|
|Where||Boland Park, Paarl|
|When||13:00, Monday 13th February 2023|
|How to watch||bet365 Sports Live Streaming, Sky Sports Cricket & Main Event|
|Odds||Ireland Women 18/1, England Women 1/50|
Ireland head coach Ed Joyce, a former international batter for both Ireland and England, is confident that his side can compete against England, who are 9/2 to win the T20 World Cup for the second time in their history.
His upbeat approach is understandable given that Ireland come into the tournament on the back of a 2-1 series win in Pakistan in November and a superb three-wicket victory over holders Australia in their warm-up meeting last Wednesday.
Those results prove that Joyce is probably correct in stating: "We're confident we can compete with the best teams, if not necessarily beat them."
2022 also featured a T20 victory over South Africa in Durban, only the second Irish win over the Proteas in any format, so they could hardly wish to be in better shape, with a youthful squad also having plenty of time for future improvements.
Experienced right-hander Laura Delany was the leading runscorer in the one-day series in Pakistan, but struggled in the T20 action, before top-scoring against the Aussies, making 32 as Ireland chased down 169 with two balls to spare in Stellenbosch.
She is 7/1 to be Team - Top Batter on Monday, with Gaby Lewis leading the same market at 12/5 and the latter will surely need to impress if Ireland are to pull off a massive shock.
Right-hander Lewis has scored 1,441 T20I runs for Ireland, more than 400 more than anyone else, having made her debut as a 15-year-old. She has also scored the only ever Irish century in this format - making 105 not out against Germany in August 2021.
She made 69 not out, four and 71 as Pakistan were beaten a matter of months ago and she will undoubtedly be the batter England will hope to dislodge as quickly as possible.
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Having not triumphed in the T20 World Cup since the first-ever staging of the tournament in 2009, England - who took the honours as hosts - are determined to try and break the Australian stranglehold on the tournament.
England lost to the Aussies in the finals in 2012, 2014 and 2018, while at the last T20 World Cup they were eliminated in the semi-finals as their clash with India was washed out in Sydney.
This time around, having promised to follow the attacking mantra of the men's team, Jon Lewis' side began with a commanding victory over the West Indies, with their run rate of 9.5 the highest recorded by a side chasing more than 100 in the history of the competition.
Captain Heather Knight said: "We have set up our (batting) order to go hard at the top," and that certainly worked out well against the Windies as Sophia Dunkley's quickfire 34 off just 18 deliveries put England in charge early on in their chase of 136 for victory, which was reached with 5.3 overs to spare.
Knight and Nat Sciver-Brunt finished the job off and the England batting looks to be in rude health heading into Monday’s encounter.
Dunkley is 13/5 to be Team - Top Batter against Ireland, with Sciver-Brunt available at 4/1.
With the ball, left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone remains the key figure for England, with the 23-year-old having outstanding career stats of 89 wickets in 66 T20I appearances - at an average of 15.93 and an economy rate of 5.90.
She claimed 3-23 in the win on Saturday and is 12/5 to be Team - Top Bowler on Monday.
As a footnote, these two teams have surprisingly only ever met once previously in T20I cricket, with England winning by 51 runs in Loughborough in June 2012.