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India open T20 World Cup campaign with a crushing eight-wicket win over Ireland | Cricket News

NEW DELHI: Captain Rohit Sharma‘s unexpected upper arm injury cast a shadow over India’s commanding eight-wicket victory against an inexperienced Ireland in their opening game of the T20 World Cup on Wednesday.
The ‘Men in Blue’ will likely be concerned heading into the Pakistan match on June 9 following Rohit’s injury. The Mumbai batsman, after a well-crafted half-century (52 off 37 balls), had to leave the field when he missed a pull shot off a short-pitched delivery from Gujarat Titans pacer Josh Little, striking him on the upper part of his right arm, causing considerable pain.
Despite facing a drop-in track with variable bounce and extra seam movement, India’s pace quartet, including Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj, didn’t need to bring their best game. Arshdeep Singh and a rejuvenated Hardik Pandya were sufficient to dismantle Ireland for 96 runs in just 16 overs.

Arshdeep (2/35 in 4 overs), Pandya (3/27 in 4 overs), Siraj (1/13 in 3 overs), and Bumrah (2/6 in 3 overs) suffocated the Irish batsmen, making them appear amateurish against swing, seam, and extra bounce throughout the 14 out of 16 overs they bowled.
Apart from Gareth Delany’s valiant effort (26 n.o, 14 balls), none of the Irish batsmen managed to surpass the 20-run mark. Delany’s innings helped Ireland approach the 100-run mark.
Later in the chase, Rohit thrilled the crowd with his trademark pull shots, guiding India to victory in 12.2 overs. While Virat Kohli (1) and Suryakumar Yadav (2) missed out on batting practice, Rishabh Pant (36 not out) showed promise in his debut at No. 3.
The enthusiastic Indian fans, many of whom took a mid-week leave, returned home content.
However, concerns lingered about the playing conditions and variable bounce on the Nassau County ground ahead of the highly anticipated India vs Pakistan match in three days’ time.

There were deliveries flying off from length and some not rising above knee roll, raising injury concerns for every batsman, as evidenced by Rohit’s arm injury and Pant’s forearm and knuckle discomfort.
Rohit’s fortunate toss win and the overcast conditions favored Arshdeep, who bowled an ideal Test match length with the white Kookaburra, troubling seasoned duo Paul Stirling and Andrew Balbirnie.

Mohammed Siraj maintained pressure from the other end, making it difficult for the openers to handle the jagging deliveries, allowing Pant to dive full stretch on both sides of the track.
Stirling’s attempt to pull a delivery climbing up on him from a good length resulted in Pant pouching the skier, while Balbirnie’s ‘one-leg’ stance failed against Arshdeep’s delivery pitched on middle and moving slightly towards off.

Ireland’s Powerplay went awry at 26 for 2, sealing their fate in the match.
Pandya’s entry as the second change bowler saw him breaching through Lorcan Tucker’s defence with a perfect nip-backer, while Bumrah further rattled Harry Tector with a menacing bouncer that almost knocked off his helmet.
At the halfway stage, Ireland, fresh from a T20I victory against Pakistan at home, were 49 for 6, effectively sealing the match’s outcome.

The highlight of the game was Pandya bowling his full quota of overs and the variety in lengths he delivered, providing his captain flexibility in team selection for future matches.
Pandya’s three dismissals showcased different skills—swing, seam, and extra bounce.
(With inputs from PTI)

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