Ireland to play Bangladesh in three T20 games in Belfast

Niall O'Brien batting for Ireland against Bangladesh at the Twenty20 World Cup in 2009

Ireland will start their preparartions for the World Twenty20 with a three-game series against Bangladesh next month at Stormont in Belfast.

The matches will be played on 18, 20 and 21 July while the tourists will also take on an Ireland XI at Stormont on 16 July.

"This will be valuable preparation as we build towards the World Cup in Sri Lanka" said Irish coach Phil Simmons.

Ireland beat Bangladesh by six wickets in their only Twenty20 game in 2009.

"We played an exciting brand of cricket in winning the recent qualifying tournament in Dubai and we're now eighth in the world rankings in this format of the game," added Simmons.

"In Paul Stirling we have one of the most exciting players in international cricket at present and I'm sure the Belfast public will relish the opportunity to watch him on home soil."

Shakib Al Hasan, the world's number one ranked Test and ODI all-rounder, is looking forward to the series.

"We are always looking for tough challenges as professional cricketers and I am sure the tour of Ireland would test our skills and resolve," he said.

"This will be wonderful preparations for both teams heading into the ICC World T20."