ICC WT20: India Brush Aside Ireland At Trent Bridge
India 113-2 (R Sharma 52no, Gambhir 37) beat
Ireland 112-8 (White 29, Zaheer Khan 4-19) by eight wickets
ICC World Twenty20 Group A, Trent Bridge
The ICC World Twenty20 initial group stages concluded with India sweeping aside an Ireland side bereft of two of its major stars, the reigning champions cantering to an eight-wicket win in a rain-curtailed match.
The game was delayed and then reduced to 18 overs per side but Ireland were always up against it without Niall O'Brien and Trent Johnston, both struggling with injuries picked up in the win over Bangladesh two days ago.
Put into bat, India exploited friendly seaming conditions to have Ireland reeling at 17 for three and from there they never recovered, only relying on a late rally to make 112 for eight.
India then cruised to their victory target in the 16th over, losing only Gautam Gambhir and Mahendra Singh Dhoni along the way.
Zaheer Khan was on a hat-trick early on after he bowled Jeremy Bray and had William Porterfield well caught at slip by Yusuf Pathan on his way to figures of four for 19 while left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha struck with his first ball for the second match running as he returned two for 18.
Ireland's batsmen struggled to pick up the variations bowled by Harbhajan Singh and Ojha and it took an innings of 29 in 25 balls from Andrew White to add a touch of respectability to their score.
Ireland failed to get early wickets, the only thing that could have kept them in the game and Gambhir (37) and Rohit Sharma (52 not out) eased their way to a 77-run opening stand before Gambhir was caught by Boyd Rankin off of Regan West.
Gambhir helped Rankin over third man for a maximum while Sharma got in the act by hammering the same bowler over midwicket shortly before India brought up their century.
Dhoni (14) attempted to repeat Sharma's stroke, only to be caught by a diving Bray on the boundary to give off-spinner Kyle McCallan a wicket.
Sharma duly completed his half-century with a boundary before hitting the winning run one ball later.
Both sides had already qualified for the Super Eight stage of the tournament, India taking their place in Group E and Ireland playing in Group F.
© Cricket World 2009