India vs Ireland, 2nd T20I Preview: Indian heavyweights challenge hosts Ireland
The conditions are tailor-made for Bhuvneshwar Kumar with both swing and seam on offer on a greenish Malahide pitch.
Series' significance for hosts
The two-match T20I series between India and Ireland may not be hogging the limelight but it has its own significance. One, it is instrumental in growing the game in Ireland as there was a full house at Dublin at the first T20 and the spectators decided to stay back despite having to wait for a couple of hours due to rain.
Two, the Ireland players get to face and mingle with some of the best cricketers in world cricket which will certainly help them massively in their careers.
For India, the T20 Internationals bring an opportunity to try out a few players. Umran Malik who impressed one and all with his pace in IPL 2022 got a chance to make his debut. Although he conceded 14 runs from his only over and gave away one four and one six, what matters is the exposure and the chance to represent your country. There is little doubt that he will only get better the more he plays.
Deepak Hooda also got an opportunity in place of Rishabh Pant who is with the Indian squad preparing for the rescheduled Test match which starts on July 1.
With little doubt that he will be on the flight to Australia for the upcoming T20 World Cup, Harshal Patel was rested.
Bhuvi, Chahal shine
The match was curtailed to 12 overs per side due to the stop-start rain. Ireland slumped to 22 for 3 within the first three overs with Bhuvneshwar Kumar keeping a tight leash on the batters.
The conditions were tailor made for him with both swing and seam on offer on a greenish Malahide pitch and he made full use of it, giving away just two runs from his first two overs.
Hardik Pandya took the new ball alongside Kumar and dismissed Paul Stirling. However, Ireland recovered well despite some brilliant middle overs spin bowling from Yuzvendra Chahal.
Harry Tector was the star of the show for the home side and smashed an unbeaten 64 off just 33 balls with the help of 6 fours and 3 sixes, going at a strike rate of 193.94. Avesh Khan also picked up one wicket for India.
It was an unfamiliar Indian opening combination as Deepak Hooda came out to bat alongside Ishan Kishan to kick start India's chase. Ruturaj Gaikwad had a slight calf niggle and the team management did not want to risk him.
Hooda made the most of the opportunity and returned with an unbeaten 47 off just 29 deliveries with the help of 6 boundaries and 2 sixes at a strike rate of over 160. Ishan Kishan gave India a flying start before being castled by left arm pacer Craig Young for a well made 11-ball 26.
Hardik Pandya all but finished the job with a 12-ball 24 as India chased down the target to win by 7 wickets with as many as 16 balls remaining in just a 12 overs per side game.
Craig Young was the pick of the bowlers and gave away 18 runs while picking up two wickets. Joshua Little also took one scalp but was very expensive.
Ireland's leading spinner Andy McBrine who has done a fine job for the team over the last couple of years was treated with disdain by both Deepak Hooda and Hardik Pandya as they clubbed 21 runs from his only over with the help of 3 sixes.
It will be interesting to see whether Ireland keep him in the side. If they do, how does he match up against a powerhouse Indian batting line-up with not much assistance from the surface?
Predicted Playing XIs
Ireland - Paul Stirling, Andrew Balbirnie (c), Gareth Delany, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker (wk), George Dockrell, Mark Adair, Andy McBrine, Craig Young, Joshua Little, Conor Olphert
India - Sanju Samson/Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan, Deepak Hooda, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya (c), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Avesh Khan, Yuzvendra Chahal, Umran Malik
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