India’s Dominating Victory over Ireland with Stellar Bowling on Challenging Pitch in T20 World Cup

India’s bowlers led a masterclass on a treacherous New York pitch, dismantling Ireland for a meager 96.

With outstanding performances from Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, and Arshdeep Singh, India cruised to an eight-wicket victory in their T20 World Cup opener.

India’s Dominating Victory over Ireland with Stellar Bowling on Challenging Pitch in T20 World Cup
Rohit and Virat ready to open the batting•ICC via Getty Images

Ireland 96 (Delany 26, Hardik 3-27, Bumrah 2-6, Arshdeep 2-35) lost against India 97 for 2 (Rohit 52, Pant 36*) by eight wickets.

With just 97 runs needed to win, Rohit Sharma and Rishabh Pant put India up early in the T20 World Cup 2024.

The second Twenty20 International match played in New York was tough and low scoring, much like the first. India bowled Ireland out for 96 here, two days after South Africa bowled Sri Lanka out for 77. For this game, a different strip was used, yet batting was just as challenging, if not more so, due to the uneven bounce.

India made an excellent selection, benching Kuldeep Yadav in favour of two spin-bowling all-rounders and four fast bowlers, including Hardik Pandya, to extend their batting attack. They crossed the boundary with 46 balls left thanks to the combined efforts of Rohit Sharma and Rishabh Pant, so they didn’t need to bat as much in the end, but the fast attack was really helpful.

Throughout an Ireland innings that lasted only 16 overs, Arshdeep Singh, Mohammed Siraj, Jasprit Bumrah, and Hardik combined to score 8 for 81, extracting seam movement and up-and-down bounce.

Despite the excellent performances, the conditions of this encounter will remain in memory. Both teams’ batters suffered physical knocks; Rohit had to retire injured on 52 after being hit in the arm. By the time India had secured their victory, they would have started thinking about June 9 at the same location and the type of field they might have to face Pakistan on.

The way this pitch would behave was hinted at in the opening two overs, as Arshdeep and Siraj both extracted erratic bounce. The most of the inconsistency was up rather than down, with one delivery from Arshdeep forcing wicketkeeper Pant to make a leaping, overhead save in the style of a goalkeeper. However, one ball from Arshdeep bounced twice before reaching Pant, which was seam-up rather than slower or a cutter.

Paul Stirling top-edged a heave across the line to claim India’s first wicket at the beginning of the third over thanks to extra bounce.

Arshdeep had removed both of the openers by the end of that over. He was finding methods to alternate balls that continued with the left-armer’s angle across them with his stock inswinger to the right-hander, and one of these away-slanters bowled Andy Balbirnie, who stayed leg-side of the ball and attempted to direct one down to third.

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Ireland was still only two down at the end of the powerplay, but Harry Tector was batting on 1 off 10 after taking hits to the glove and thigh pad. Before Bumrah’s vicious short ball hurried him and he ended up gloving the attempted pull into his helmet and subsequently to the fielder at short extra-cover, that turned into 4 off 15. By then, Lorcan Tucker had also been lost, having failed to drive a nip-backer from Hardik.

Ireland continued to lose wickets as India continued to get the length ball to nip around and the short-of-length ball to ascend. When a ball from Axar Patel lodged in the pitch and bowled Barry McCarthy, not even the addition of spin could save the collapse. With their score of 50 for 8, Ireland was in danger of eclipsing their lowest T20I total, which was 68 against the West Indies in the 2010 tournament.

India’s Dominating Victory over Ireland with Stellar Bowling on Challenging Pitch in T20 World Cup
Rishabh Pant hits down the ground •Getty Images

They eventually achieved it, thanks to a 14-ball 26 from Gareth Delany, who took risks that, for the most part, his teammates did not. This helped Ireland reach 96.

Perhaps believing that the new ball and powerplay field constraints offered them the best opportunity of fast runs, Rohit and Virat Kohli came out swinging and had somewhat different results. While lunging towards Mark Adair and attempting to slap him over the covers, Kohli stumbled early and got trapped on the deep-third boundary.

After enjoying two pieces of early luck, Rohit went on to achieve his 30th T20I fifty. In the first over, Balbirnie dismissed a difficult chance at second slip off Adair, then in the second over, Josh Little gave him an inside edge that allowed him to run away for four past the stumps.

The pitch was unforgiving, and Rohit’s control % stayed in the 40s for the majority of his innings before rising to 51 when he was forced off with a leg injury. However, he also delivered some devastating smashes, most notably two of Little’s signature pulls off consecutive balls, which resulted in his 599th and 600th sixes in international cricket. He also surpassed 4000 runs in T20Is prior to that.

Pant scored an undefeated 36 off 26 balls, looking more fluid than Rohit—in fact, more fluid than anyone could have on this surface. He smacked three sixes and two fours. He was hit on the elbow and the shoulder, and his reaction to the latter described him well as a cricket player and person: he reverse-scooped McCarthy for six over the wicketkeeper to end the contest.

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