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T20 – India Opens With Comfortable Win Over Ireland

T20 - India Opens With Comfortable Win Over Ireland

T20 – India Opens With Comfortable Win Over Ireland

NEW YORK, NY (IANS) – India’s fast-bowlers blew away Ireland on a tepid pitch, followed by captain Rohit Sharma top-scoring with 52 and Rishabh Pant being unbeaten on 36 to help India open their Men’s T20 World Cup Group A campaign with a comfortable eight-wicket win over Ireland at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium on June 5.

Everything went right for India from the time they elected to bowl first on a bowler-friendly pitch which had some variable bounce too. The fast bowlers, led by Hardik Pandya’s 3-27, dominated thoroughly by picking eight wickets collectively to bowl out Ireland for just 96 in 16 overs, with four overs left unused. In reply, Rohit and Pant hung around to begin their campaign with a win by completing the chase with 46 balls remaining and getting their eighth successive victory over Ireland in men’s T20Is. Rohit went past 4000 T20I runs and 1000-run mark in T20 World Cups during his impressive 52, before retiring hurt due to a sore elbow.

Pant, making a comeback in international cricket after nearly 17 months due to injuries suffered in a car accident in December 2022, hit the winning runs through a typically audacious reverse ramp going for six to complete the chase of 97 with 46 balls remaining and give India their eighth successive victory over Ireland in the format. Apart from Hardik thriving in helpful bowling conditions, Arshdeep Singh was superb in his first spell to give India the early edge. Player of the Match Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, and Axar Patel were solid in their bowling spells to bowl out Ireland just four runs short of 100.

For Ireland, Gareth Delany top-scored with 26 and was involved in partnerships of 27 and 19 for the tenth and eleventh wickets respectively in a miserable performance on a tough batting pitch, which will lead to more questions being raised about surfaces in New York.

With prodigious seam and swing along with variable bounce on offer under overcast conditions, India wasted no time in running through the Ireland batting line-up. Arshdeep got extra bounce on a length ball to extract a top edge from a slog by Ireland skipper Paul Stirling and it landed safely in Pant’s gloves.

Arshdeep ended Andrew Balbirnie’s stay by beating him on the outside edge and rattling the off stump. With Arshdeep getting extra bounce consistently and Jasprit Bumrah getting the ball to jag both ways, things became more dire for Ireland.

Tucker went for a big booming drive off Pandya but was castled through the gate by a fuller delivery. Bumrah joined the wicket-taking party when Harry Tector’s top edge on a pull was caught by a short extra-cover.

Wickets continued to tumble for Ireland as Pandya had Curtis Campher nicking behind to Pant and got Mark Adair to toe-end a cut to deep point running in while Siraj got George Dockrell to give a top-edge to mid-on and Axar took a brilliant catch off his own bowling to see Barry McCarthy’s back quickly.

Joshua Little and Delany had a 27-run partnership off 18 balls for the ninth wicket, including hitting three boundaries, which got the side past the 68-run mark, their lowest T20I total.

Bumrah ended the standby clattering the base of Little’s stumps with a 145kmph yorker. Delany hit Arshdeep for two fours and a six before he was run out for 14-ball 26 as Ireland’s chaotic innings came to a tame end.

With the pitch doing all sorts of tricks, India decided controlled aggression would be the right way to go about a low chase. For Ireland, it was about latching on to the smallest chances to try to make a match out of it.

It became a bit tough when Balbirnie failed to hold on to a tough chance at second slip when Rohit threw his bat at a wide outswinger from Mark Adair. Rohit was lucky to have an inside edge off little run for four, followed by dispatching a full toss over long-on for six.

But Virat Kohli fell in the third over, as he sliced a short and wide ball to deep third man off Adair. Pant was off the blocks by smashing a full ball from Adair down the ground for four. Rohit then used Little’s pace to slice over backward point for four, as India ended the Power-play at 39/1.

With strike-rotation going steady, it made life easier for India as Pant hit McCarthy for a straight four, while Rohit pulled Little for consecutive sixes and then swiped an Adair full toss through vacant deep mid-wicket region for four to bring up his fifty in 36 balls.

But shortly after, Rohit retired hurt on 52 due to a sore elbow caused by a previous blow sustained off Little. Pant took two blows off Little, including on the left elbow, before pulling a short ball for six. He smashed Ben White through extra cover for four, though the leg-spinner had Suryakumar Yadav holing out to deep mid-wicket.

Pant finished the chase in style with an astonishing trademark reverse paddle-scoop over the keeper’s head for six to be 36 not out in his comeback international game and get India’s campaign in the tournament off to a flying start.

Brief scores:

Ireland 96 all out in 16 overs (Gareth Delany 26; Hardik Pandya 3-27, Jasprit Bumrah 2-6) lost to India 97/2 in 12.2 overs (Rohit Sharma 52, Rishabh Pant 36 not out; Ben White 1-6, Mark Adair 1-27) by eight wickets

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