Ruturaj Gaikwad anchored India’s innings with a fine fifty while Sanju Samson and Rinku Singh dished out impactful knocks in carrying India to a competitive 185-5, which set the base for them to beat Ireland by 33 runs in the second T20I at Malahide on Sunday and take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-game series.
Opener Andy Balbirnie was the lone ranger for Ireland with his 72 off 51 balls, but it went in vain as India’s bowlers, led by a superb Jasprit Bumrah, kept Ireland to 152-8. Prasidh Krishna launched a double-strike in his first over of the powerplay, as well as Ravi Bishnoi and Arshdeep Singh being amongst the wickets on a sunny day at Malahide.
For India, Gaikwad made 58 off 43 balls and shared a crucial 71-run partnership with Samson, who made a quick-fire 26-ball 40. Though it appeared that India was losing some momentum in the back-end of the innings, Rinku found his groove in a late burst to make 38 off 21 balls and with Shivam Dube being 22 not out, the duo hit 42 runs in last 12 balls to take India past 180.
Pushed into batting first, runs began to flow for India from the second over with Gaikwad clipping Josh Little for four. Yashasvi Jaiswal swivelled twice off the backfoot to take a four and six off the left-arm pacer. When Barry McCarthy gave width, Jaiswal was quick to cut him past short third man for four more.
Jaiswal pulled again off Craig Young, but this time, it brought his downfall as deep mid-wicket took the catch to his left. In the next over, Tilak Varma went for the pull off McCarthy, but the top-edge was caught by deep square leg.
Gaikwad led the rebuilding act for India with three glorious pulled fours off the backfoot in the arc between long-on and deep square leg. From the other end, Samson found timing and placement right in his five boundaries off the fast-bowlers, including three on the trot off Little.
The sold-out crowd at Malahide cheered at its loudest when Samson hammered a listless Little for a pulled six behind square leg in an 18-run 11th over. His 26-ball blitzkrieg ended in the 13th over when he chopped on his stumps in a bid to go big against a short and wide ball from leg-spinner Ben White.
Gaikwad went on to get his fifty with a sweep past deep square leg for four off White and followed it up with a thumping six over long-on in the same over. His 43-ball stay at the crease came to an end when miscued a slower ball off McCarthy to long-off in the 16th over.
Rinku, batting in T20Is for the first time, got going with a brace of fours, before carting McCarthy for sixes over long-on and extra cover. Dube joined the six-hitting party in the final over with a flick over fine leg and swing over mid-wicket. Rinku hit third six of the over with a nonchalant pull over deep mid-wicket, before holing out on the very next ball, as India crossed 180-mark.
Ireland’s chase began with Balbirnie taking a brace of boundaries off Arshdeep in the second over. But Krishna pushed Ireland on the backfoot in the next over – taking out Paul Stirling and Lorcan Tucker with short balls. Bishnoi dealt Ireland another blow in the power-play by castling Harry Tector.
But Balbirnie continued to march forward and resurrect Ireland’s chase. He began with a brace of slog-sweeps for fours off Washington Sundar just after power-play ended. Though Curtis Campher fell after reverse-paddling to point off Bishnoi, Balbirnie smacked Dube for a brace of sixes and slog-swept Bishnoi for four to reach his fifty.
Despite this, Ireland’s required run-rate continued to soar, though Balbirnie and George Dockrell took a six each off Krishna and Bishnoi. India’s upper hand strengthened when Dockrell was run-out by Bishnoi while Balbirnie had a faint edge caught behind by Samson off Arshdeep.
Bumrah returned in the back-end of the innings to take out McCarthy and a rampaging Mark Adair, who hit three sixes off Arshdeep and Prasidh. The Indian skipper didn’t concede any boundary in his four overs, one of which was a maiden coming off in the last over of the game, as the visitors’ have now won the series with a match left.
Brief Scores: India 185-5 in 20 overs (Ruturaj Gaikwad 58, Sanju Samson 40; Barry McCarthy 2-36, Craig Young 1-29) beat Ireland 152-8 in 20 overs (Andy Balbirnie 72; Jasprit Bumrah 2-15, Prasidh Krishna 2-29) by 33 runs