Shikhar Dhawan plays a reverse shot
INDIAN bowlers reigned supreme after an indifferent start as they dismissed a spirited Ireland for 259 in 49 overs in their penultimate Pool B match of the cricket World Cup, in Hamilton on Monday (March 9).
Opting to bat, Ireland were cruising at one stage with scorecard reading 206 for three but Indian bowlers made a fantastic comeback at the back-end of the innings, claiming as many as six wickets for 32 runs in a phase of 6.3 overs.
In an astonishing record, India now have bowled out opposition for the fifth time in a row.
Niall O’Brien with a run-a-ball 75 that had seven boundaries and three sixes was the top-scorer while skipper William Porterfield’s patient 67 off 93 balls gave the Irish a platform.
However despite losing wickets in a heap, Ireland’s score is the highest among the five teams that have played against India. The middle and lower-order collapse hurt Ireland as Ravichandran Ashwin (2/38) was the most impressive Indian bowler on view although Mohammed Shami (3/41) got more wickets.
Umesh Yadav (1/34) got a bit of stick while Suresh Raina (1/40) did more than what was expected of him.
For the first time in the tournament, India’s new ball attack didn’t strike in the opening spell as Porterfield and Paul Stirling batted with a lot of positive intent. Both Yadav and Shami bore the brunt of their wide blades.
With hardly any movement in the air and nothing much off the pitch on a track that was not as pacy as it has been in Seddon Park over the years, Porterfield and Stirling backed themselves to play some audacious shots.
It started in the third over when Porterfield rocked back to a short delivery from Yadav and hit it over mid-wicket for a six. The India fast bowler then followed up with a fuller delivery which was then driven past the mid-off fielder.
Stirling also showed his intent as he lofted Shami over mid-wicket for his six. The 50 came in the 8th over and Ireland took advantage of the early field restrictions better than many of India’s earlier opponents.
The left-right combination doing well also meant that bowlers had to alter the line repeatedly which created problems. The pair added 89 runs at a quick clip before India’s best bowler on the day Ashwin beat Stirling in flight as he lofted one without reaching to the pitch of the delivery and Rahane at long-off took a simple catch.