Ireland captain Gary Wilson cut a very dejected figure in the press room following Ireland’s 76 run defeat to India in the first of two T20 Internationals this week.
Under glorious summer sunshine, in front of a big crowd of over 9,400, the best T20 side in the world showed just why they are the best.
Put in to bat by Wilson Indian openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan combined for a whopping 160 runs before Stuart Thompson, on his third attempt, caught Dhawan at long-off for the first wicket of the day in the 16th over. However, by then most of the damage was already done.
Suresh Raina followed shortly after, before MS Dhoni came to the crease roared on by the thousands of Indian supporters. Dhoni got big Boyd Rankin for four off the first ball before sending the crowd wild with a six, smashing the back over Rankins head to finish the over.
The final over of India’s innings had lots of excitement, as Peter Chase took the wickets of Dhoni, the unfortunate Sharma and captain Virat Kohli. Sharma, on 97 totally mid-judged a length delivery and it hit leg stump. Thompson caught both Dhoni and Kohli to make it three catches on the day.
Ireland’s rebuttal didn’t exactly get off to a great start as Paul Stirling went in the second over, as he edged straight to to Kuldeep Yadav at mid-on.
Andrew Balbirnie replaced Stirling, and he and James Shannon combined well, with Shannon in particular looking comfortable. He did have a little bit of luck in the fourth over when he was amazingly dropped by Sharma, when it looked easier to catch.
In the seventh over Balbirnie was stumped by Dhoni and Simi Singh came to the crease. Shannon was moving along nicely, and when he blasted a six to bring up Ireland’s fifty the tannoy belted out ‘Don’t stop believing’ as Ireland looked to be making a game of it.
He continued to bat well, bringing up his maiden 50 in just 29 balls. However, when Shannon was bowled lbw by Chahal it signaled the beginning of the end, as only Kevin O’Brien (10) and Stuart Thompson (12) made it into double figures.
Credit must be given to both Boyd Rankin and Peter Chase who batted out the remaining overs to see out the game.
Irish captain Wilson tried to look at the positives after the game, but couldn’t hide his disappointment, “They’re obviously a very good side. I think, we’ve lost by 70 odds runs, so we’re pretty disappointed. Whilst I do think there was some positives, like the way James Shannon played. It’s always nice whenever a young player comes into the side and does well. Also the way Peter Chase bowled, and Boyd Rankin executed his wide Yorkers. So there were some positives, but also disappointment to lose by 70 odd runs.”
The man-of-the-match Kuldeep Yadav, who took four wickets for just 21 runs including a maiden over was asked about the conditions in the game and he said, “The conditions were normal. Look it’s the first game of the season. The conditions are different from India, it’s a little bit cold (which drew some laughter as Ireland are currently in the midst of a heatwave). The wickets are on the slow side. It was easy to adjust to the conditions and for me it was normal.
The two sides will do it all again on Friday in front of a full-house in Malahide at 4pm, a game which is part of a double-header as the Ireland Women will host Bangladesh in a T20 International at 11am.
Picture Credit: Cricket Ireland