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Team India won by eight wickets against Ireland achieved and made a good start in the ICC T20 World Cup. On the spicy New York pitch, India’s pace attack overcame Ireland and gave the team a good win in first match.

India brushed away Ireland in their opening encounter of the ICC T20 World Cup 2024, led by their pace group who shared nine wickets between them. They first managed to restrict Ireland to a paltry 96 before a fifty from captain Rohit Sharma helped finish the chase without any hiccups.

The pitch in New York showed for the second game in a row that it was not going to aid run-fests. While Sri Lanka were bowled out for 78 against South Africa a couple of nights earlier on the same ground, it was Ireland’s turn to face the heat tonight. The balance between bat and ball stretched to one extreme with the primary skills being tested were that of survival rather than scoring. For the conditions on offer, India made the right choice in bulking up their pace attack and it paid rich dividends as all of them delivered in a collective fashion.

Being sent in to bat first, Ireland faced up a decked-up Indian seam attack on a spicy pitch in New York. The ball was seaming both ways and both Arshdeep Singh and Mohammed Siraj kept things simple and stuck to largely Test match-lengths which worked wonders. Ireland’s top-order found it difficult to merely middle the ball, let alone look for boundaries. With survival being difficult, the chances taken were even riskier. Paul Stirling was caught off a short ball from Arshdeep while Andrew Balbirnie missed a good length ball and was bowled. The pitch though showed no signs of relenting and the story of the powerplay continued later on.

Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah were the next in line to cash in on the assistance on offer. Pandya got one to seam in big and burst through Lorcan Tucker’s ambitious drive while Bumrah bounced out Harry Tector. Curtis Campher then nicked Pandya behind as the wickets procession refused to abate. Brought back into the attack, Siraj had a slice of the pie as George Dockrell was caught after being dropped in the over. Ireland ended up losing a wicket in each over after the powerplay until the 13th.

Even Axar Patel who was brought in sneaked in a caught and bowled as everything that could go wrong did so for Ireland. Gareth Delany used the long handle to good effect as Ireland notched up 96 before a run-out brought an end to a shambolic innings on a tough pitch.

The pitch did not show any signs of easing up when India went in to chase either. Virat Kohli got out before getting his eye in as he attempted a big shot and was caught at third man. His opening partner, skipper Rohit Sharma had a difficult time against Mark Adair, off whom he was put down at slip, in particular. But he managed to put away the balls whizzing past the bat to keep hitting timely boundaries. He hit four of the five that India hit in the powerplay and got the chase going at a decent clip.

Rohit Sharma kickstarted his campaign with a well-earned fifty as he shifted gears with a couple of pull shots. He had good company in Rishabh Pant who remained unbeaten on 36 as the duo put on a 69-run stand. The pitch continued to make an impression even through this partnership as both batter got hit off steep bounce from awkward lengths. While Pant managed to see through the innings despite a blow on his left hand, Rohit had to retire hurt as he was hit on the neck while attempting a scoop. Nevertheless, India saw through these challenges to emerge victorious by a handsome margin.

Brief Scores: Ireland 96 all out (Gareth Delany 26; Hardik Pandya 3-27) lost to India 97/2 (Rohit Sharma 52, Rishabh Pant 36) by 8 wickets

(With inputs from agencies)

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