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    Can Ireland surprise India?
Can Ireland surprise India?
Heinrich Malan. Source: bbc.com

Can Ireland surprise India?

Ireland's coach Heinrich Malan says his team needs to believe they can defeat the elite opponents when they play India in their opening T20 World Cup match on June 5 in New York.

Malan says he's "excited about playing India" and wants his players to have the same mindset. Malan recently inked a contract extension that would keep him in the Ireland position through the summer of 2027.

"When you look at T20 cricket you need maybe one or two players to have a special time out and you can take down any team in the world," said the South African native.

Malan can use his team's triumph over eventual tournament champions England at the most recent T20 World Cup in Australia two years ago as evidence for his claim.

"India are coming fresh off the IPL and I see they’ve rested a couple of guys in their warm-up stuff. [But] T20 cricket has shown up over a fair period that if you play a certain way and you have the right intent and players come to the party on the day, that all teams that are going to compete at this competition are equally matched."

In the World Cup final of 50 overs, Australia defeated India at home.

Sixteen months after surviving a terrible automobile disaster, Rishabh Pant is one of two wicketkeepers in their tournament team, while Yuzvendra Chahal, the only bowler to take 200 wickets in IPL history, is one of four spinners.

Malan is hopeful that Irish Americans living in the US will take advantage of the chance to support their team in Nassau County Stadium on Long Island, as India is sure to receive a tremendous amount of support there, as they do everywhere, they play.

"We need everyone there to be honest," added the Ireland coach. "It doesn’t matter where you play India. We’ve played them at home over the last couple of years and they get people behind them. It will be nice to get some Irish supporters out there and I’m sure we will. Hopefully, we can play some good cricket over the week that we’re there and catch up with them for a beer afterwards."

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