Ruturaj Gaikwad anchored India’s innings with a fine fifty while Sanju Samson and Rinku Singh dished out impactful knocks in carrying visitors to a competitive 185-5 against hosts Ireland in the second T20I at Malahide on Sunday.
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.
Brief Scores: India 185-5 in 20 overs (Ruturaj Gaikwad 58, Sanju Samson 40; Barry McCarthy 2-36, Craig Young 1-29) against Ireland.