Australia to play Ireland in an ODI in 2012

Wed, Sep 28, 2011 5:02 PM

Cricket Ireland (CI) announced on Wednesday that it will play Australia in a One-Day International next year. The game will take place at the Civil Service ground at Stormont in Belfast on Saturday 23 June.

Cricket Ireland Chief Executive Warren Deutrom was clearly ecstatic at securing the high profile fixture stating: "We are delighted to welcome Australia to Belfast in 2012 after their exciting RSA Challenge ODI against Ireland in Dublin 2010. Although opportunities to find space in the Future Tours Programme are rare against the world's leading teams, it is apparent that Cricket Australia is committed to ensuring that the top Associates, like Scotland and Ireland, have a chance to test themselves against the best and help us to improve. Off the field, the visit of such teams gives a massive boost to the profile of the sport, delivers a terrific return on investment to our valued partners and a wonderful day out for our fans."

Ireland coach Phil Simmons is already excited by the prospect of pitting his wits against the number one ranked side: "It's fantastic that we're taking on Australia on home soil again. We had a wonderful opportunity to beat them in Dublin last year but let the game slip. I know just how much that defeat hurt the players, so it's great to get another chance to play them. As a coach and a player, these are the sort of fixtures that you thrive on, and with the backing of the crowd in Belfast, we've a genuine chance of pulling off another famous win."

A Cricket Australia spokesman said: "The players are looking forward to playing against and visiting Ireland again. We had a great visit there last year and eventually won a very competitive game. The hospitality we experienced was first class and we look forward to bringing high quality cricket to Northern Ireland next year."

Australia, currently the number one ranked side in the one-day format of the game, played Ireland last year in Dublin in the RSA Challenge, emerging victors by 39 runs following an enthralling contest. Ireland had reached 80 without loss in pursuit of an Australia total of 231, before James Hopes claimed a five wicket haul to get his side out of serious trouble.

It's been ten years (12 August 2001) since Australia played in Northern Ireland, when the last international fixture at Ormeau saw a star-studded Australia line-up featuring Ricky Ponting, Glenn McGrath, Mark Waugh, Justin Langer, Brett Lee and Matthew Hayden.

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