Rohit Sharma's sublime 97, guile of India spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal crush Ireland in first T20

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Dhawan and Rohit were on song for India. Image - BCCI/Twitter.

India didn’t have to extend themselves as they eased to a 76- run win in the first of two T20s against Ireland in Dublin on Wednesday.

Rohit Sharma hit a blistering 97 and added 160 for the opening wicket with Shikhar Dhawan (74) as the Indians made 208-5 in Malahide.

In reply, Ireland looked decent as they reached 72-2 in the tenth over with James Shannon scoring his maiden T20 fifty.

But wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav (4-21) and Yuzvendra Chahal (3-38) restricted the hosts to 132-9.

Virat Kohli’s team thus started their nearly three-month tour of England and Ireland on the perfect note.

SELECTION SURPRISE

KL Rahul was benched by Kohli.

KL Rahul was benched by Kohli.

India made a controversial selection move by keeping KL Rahul and Dinesh Karthik out of the playing XI.

Rahul was in red-hot form in the IPL for Kings XI Punjab and according to most pundits should be a guaranteed starter in white ball cricket. Karthik, meanwhile, was the star for India in the Nidahas Trophy T20 final against Bangladesh as he hit a eight-ball 29 to snatch victory from the jaws of certain defeat in a tense chase.

However, both players were overlooked by Kohli, with the Indian skipper going for the as of yet unimpressive Manish Pandey and the experienced Suresh Raina.

OPENERS ON FIRE

A flat wicket and a non-threatening Irish attack meant  Dhawan and Rohit didn’t need a second invitation.

Aided by a dropped chances – on 66 at deep cover by Stuart Thompson – Rohit blazed away to 97 from 61 balls which included eight fours and five sixes.

He added 160 for the opening stand with Dhawan who made 74 from 45 with five hits to the fence and as many over it.

Rohit missed out on his third T20 century as he tried to hoick Peter Chase over the leg side but lost his leg stump.

LAST OVER MAYHEM

With India at 201-2 and Rohit on the verge of a ton, Chase had the unenviable task of stopping the bleeding. And he did an exemplary job.

He first got MS Dhoni to hit one straight to midwicket before getting the well-set Rohit in the next ball. Another ball later,the tall seamer got the biggest scalp of his career – captain Virat Kohli caught for a duck at midwicket.

Ireland gave away seven runs for three wickets in the final over, which was some consolation. Seamer Chase finished with splendid figures of 4-35 ultimately.

INDIA’S UNCONVINCING START

Indian fielding was not up to mark in the opening overs. Hardik Pandya dropped Shannon running backwards in the first over. Chahal misjudged a chance from Shannon running in from square leg with Bhuvneshwar Kumar denied a wicket again.

Rohit capped a poor start in the field for India as he grassed a sitter after Shannon top edged a Jasprit Bumrah slower one to short mid wicket.

Shannon made India pay for their largesse as he cracked his maiden fifty in T20 Internationals.

SPIN DOES IT FOR INDIA

Kuldeep Yadav picked up four wickets.

Kuldeep Yadav picked up four wickets.

Batsmen can slog against fast bowlers and get away with it, but they can’t against proper wrist spin.

Once Kuldeep and Chahal came on to bowl, the wheels came off Ireland who had moved on to 72-2 in the 10th over.

After a couple of confident lbw appeals against captain Gary Wilson, Kuldeep got one to land right in front of the stumps and hit Shannon’s pad for an lbw verdict.

From there, it was a procession. Two tantalising leg breaks from Chahal accounted for Kevin O’Brien and Wilson in successive deliveries.

At 123-8 in the 16th over, it was game over.

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India team news: Washington Sundar suffers injury blow ahead of first T20I against Ireland

Sudhir Gupta 27/06/2018
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Sundar (L) landed awkwardly on his right ankle during training.

India were give a huge injury scare just hours before the team takes on Ireland in the first of the two T20Is at Dublin on Wednesday. All-rounder Washington Sundar injured himself during the team’s training session on Wednesday and hobbled off the field.

The 18-year-old landed awkwardly on his right ankle during a game of football and had to be attended to by team physio Patrick Farhat and trainer Shankar Basu immediately.

The extent of Sundar’s injury is not yet known and the BCCI are yet to make an official announcement regarding the same. The youngster has also been picked for India’s T20 and ODI squads for the series against England and as such, it remains to be seen if he can continue to play.

In case the all-rounder’s injury is long term, India have a wealth of options to replace him with the India ‘A’ side currently touring England for a tri-series. The likes of Krunal Pandya and Axar Patel could fill in the spinning all-rounder’s slot in the team in case Sundar is ruled out.

Sundar has so far played one ODI and six T20Is for India already in his career so far and was adjudged as the player of the series in the Nidahas T20I tri-series held in Sri Lanka earlier this year.

With his injury on Wednesday, Sundar is unlikely to feature in the first T20I against Ireland. With India naming a strong squad for the series which serves as a precursor to their long tour of England, Sundar’s chances of being named in the playing XI were already slim as it is.

In the latest net session for team India, skipper Virat Kohli was seen in action while Manish Pandey had an extended session with the bat along with pacers Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. With Pandey’s extended session, it is likely that the batsman could feature in the playing XI on Wednesday which could cause Dinesh Karthik to miss out.

INDIA LIKELY XI

Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (captain), KL Rahul, MS Dhoni (wk), Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal

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Virat Kohli and team India arrive in Ireland for two-match T20I series

Sudhir Gupta 26/06/2018
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MS Dhoni and Co arrive in Dublin. Image - BCCI/Twitter.

The Indian cricket team arrived in Ireland for the two-match T20I series against the hosts which begins on Wednesday at Dublin.

The limited-overs squad, led by skipper Virat Kohli, departed for Dublin from London on Tuesday. The Indians had been training at the Merchant Taylor’s school in London since Monday after arriving in England for their 11-week tour of the UK and Ireland.

Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Dinesh Karthik and Suresh Raina all took to Twitter to post images of the team waiting at the airport prior to their departure to Dublin.

Hours later, the BCCI posted images of the Indian team arriving in Dublin.

Both the T20Is between Ireland and India will be held at the Malahide Cricket Club ground in Dublin with the second match taking place on June 29.

Following the completion of the T20I series against the Irish, team India will return to London to resume their England leg of the tour. There, Kohli’s men will play a three-match T20 series which will be followed by as many ODIs.

The Indian will then complete their tour of the UK with the five-match Test series against hosts England which will culminate in the second week of September.

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