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Posted: Wednesday 5 June, 2024 at 6:18 PM

Rohit Sharma and pace bowlers star as India beat Ireland in New York

Players shake hands following the completion of the game (T20 World Cup/ICC Photo0
By: Staff Reporter,

    ...India beat Ireland by eight wickets in both teams’ opening match of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 in New York on Wednesday.


    NASSAU COUNTY, New York-- India captain Rohit Sharma showed his class with a fine half-century to help his side successfully chase down a manageable target of 97 to win, although the skipper wasn’t able to carry his bat after retiring hurt on 52 (37).


    India captain Rohit Sharma showed his class with a fine half-century to help his side successfully chase down a manageable target of 97 to win, although the skipper wasn’t able to carry his bat after retiring hurt on 52 (37).


    India lost Virat Kohli early in their chase of 97, with the opener departing for 1 (5)


    But Rishabh Pant, promoted to No. 3, did a strong job on a challenging batting track and hit the winning runs with a huge and unorthodox six, finishing on 36* (26) as India wrapped up the win with 7.4 overs and eight wickets to spare.


    Earlier, India’s bowlers produced a sizzling display on a helpful surface to rip through Ireland, bowling them out for just 96 in the Group A contest at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium.


    Hardik Pandya took 3/27, with Jasprit Bumrah brilliant with his 2/6 from 3 overs, and Ashdeep Singh impactful with the new ball but expensive late on as he finished with four-over figures of 2/35.


    Only four Ireland batters reached double figures, with a late flurry of runs from Gareth Delany (26 from 14) helping his side up to a total that at least gave the bowlers something to work with.


    The world’s top-ranked men’s T20I team won the toss and opted to bowl first against Ireland at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium, with Rahul Dravid’s India hoping to end the nation’s 17-year wait for a Men’s T20 World Cup trophy win.


    India captain Rohit Sharma picked an XI with five front-line bowling options, with Mohammed Siraj Jasprit Bumrah and Arshdeep Singh all included along with Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel.


    And India's pacers made early inroads on a surface with plenty on offer for the bowlers, with Arhsdeep Singh proving hugely dangerous with the new ball.


    Such was the dominance of seam over spin that India turned to Hardik Pandya ahead of the spin options, and the all-rounder made a big impact with the ball to continue the flurry of wickets.


    Hardik bowled out, finishing with 3/27 from his four overs, removing the only two Ireland top-order batters to reach double figures – Lorcan Tucker (10) and Curtis Campher (12).


    Ireland’s batters struggled to cope with all members of India’s attack, but it was Jasprit Bumrah who proved the trickiest to get away, with the star quick conceding just four runs from his first two overs and picking up the big wicket of Harry Tector.


    But, with the side eight-down with plenty of over remaining, it was all-out attack that proved the successful policy for Gareth Delany and Josh Little, who plundered a partnership with 27 runs from just 18 balls to at least give the Irish bowlers something to work with.


    Rohit brought Bumrah back to stem the flow of runs, and he did just that, cleaning up Little (14) with the perfect yorker.


    With the No. 11 at the other end, Delany let loose, slamming late runs off Arshdeep. But the Ireland innings ended in slightly shambolic fashion as Delany was run out of a free hit, with Ben White looking to come back for a second run to get the set batter on a strike for the next over.


    A target of 97 to win should be well within India’s reach, despite the challenges of the Nassau County surface.


    Ireland produced a number of early chances as they searched for wickets, with Rohit getting away with two edges – off Mark Adair and Josh Little respectively.


    The excellent Adair did get the breakthrough, tempting Virat Kohli into a hack into the deep to depart for 1 (5).


    But Ireland were unable to get into India’s middle order, as Rohit and Rishabh Pant built a strong partnership worth 54 runs from just 44 balls to break the back of the chase.


    There was one point of concern for India when their captain walked off with what appeared to be a shoulder injury, having by that point reached his half-century and bringing up career milestones of 4000 T20I and 1000 T20 World Cup runs.


    But, after Suryakumar Yadav (2) holed out off Ben White, it was Pant who finished the job to give an Indian-dominated crowd something special to cheer in New York, bringing up the winning runs with a remarkable shot.


    India won the inaugural ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in 2007, but have been in unsuccessful in the following seven events, reaching the final just once more, a decade ago.


    But Dravid’s side go into the 2024 edition at the top of the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s T20 Rankings, and will have strong hopes of going all the way in the USA and Caribbean.


    Opponents Ireland will be eyeing a top-two finish in Group A to seal an against-the-odds spot in the Super 8 stage, but know they will likely need to win all of their remaining group matches – against Canada, USA and Pakistan – in order to achieve that goal.


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