Despite the absence of a number of frontline players and Harry Tector’s brisk half-century of 29 balls in a 12-over shootout, India ran to victory in the first T20I on Sunday. Rain is also forecast for Tuesday, but India hopes the weather will allow it if they want to test their bench strength again ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia in October.
Tearaway Umran Malik made a lukewarm international debut, blasting the ball around in his only over, which cost 18. Tector ran half a volley down the middle for four, then hooked a 145 mph bounce for six. However, Deepak Hooda seized his chance in his very first serve as a T20 opener, hitting an unbeaten 47 from 29 balls. Hooda is one of the most dynamic mid-range hitters in the IPL and on Sunday, instead of Ruturaj Gaikwad, he proved that he could also slide in the top ranks.
Will Malik get another chance in the second T20I? Will Rahul Tripathi get his first international cap if his Maharashtra team-mate Gaikwad doesn’t recover sufficiently from a calf problem?
As for Ireland, they need a more stable base than 22 for 3 of their top order. Paul Stirling can be hit or miss in swinging conditions, so it’s up to Andy Balbirnie and Gareth Delany to avoid Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s opening spell.
Josh Little and Mark Adair were penalized for bowling too short with the new ball, and Craig Young admitted Ireland missed their height.
“None of Us Is Quite” [Bhuvneshwar] Kumar, we don’t have the skills those guys have, but we’re lucky we know Malahide quite well and know how long to bowl, although we don’t always hit them right away,” said Young after the first match. Again, you can don’t go too full because they shoot you over the head, you have that small margin. We often had the right line, but the length let us down.”
Better power play with both bat and ball for Ireland could narrow the gap between the two teams somewhat.
Ireland LLWWW (last five completed matches, most recent first)
Prior to the two-match T20I series, Irish captain Balbirnie was particularly wary of the threat of Yuzvendra Chahal, hoping the conditions wouldn’t be too conductive to run. The Malahide circuit offered more swing than corner on Sunday, and Chahal needed three jerseys to face the cold, but he still cast a limitless three-over spell. His 1 to 11 was the most economical spell of the evening.
When Conor Olphert came on the attack in the seventh over from India’s chase, the game was all but over. Hooda scooped his first ball in international cricket for six, and he only had a peripheral role on the debut. However, his great lengths and resilience are a crucial part of new coach Heinrich Malan’s plans for the home summer, which will also include visits from three other Full Members – New Zealand, South Africa and Afghanistan.
While Curtis Campher is a tempting option with his all-round skills, Ireland is likely to keep the XI which has challenged India on some points.
Ireland (probably): 1 Paul Stirling, 2 Andy Balbirnie (capt), 3 Gareth Delany, 4 Harry Tector, 5 Lorcan Tucker (wk), 6 George Dockrell, 7 Mark Adair, 8 Andy McBrine, 9 Craig Young, 10 Josh Little, 11 Conor Olphert
If Gaikwad is not fit, India can hand a debut to Tripathi or recall Sanju Samson. Harshal Patel will miss again if India gives Malik another game or brings in Arshdeep Singh.
India (probably): 1 Ishan Kishan, 2 Ruturaj Gaikwad/Rahul Tripathi/Sanju Samson, 3 Suryakumar Yadav, 4 Deepak Hooda, 5 Hardik Pandya (capt), 6 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 7 Axar Patel, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9 Avesh Khan, 10 Umran Malik/Arshdeep Singh 11 Yuzvendra Chahal
Occasional showers on Sunday prevented the ball from reaching the bat, as is often the case in Malahide. If the rain stays away, the field could be in favor of the batters.
“He played some great shots, and he’s clearly 22, and I batted him too. So maybe he can score some more sixes and maybe get an IPL contract and I wish him luck.”
India and IPL winning captain Hardik Pandya is impressed by Harry Tector
“Our guys were good enough. We came up against a very, very good team and went head to head for 80-85% of the game. We have to find that little bit extra on Tuesday.”
Craig Young counts the positives of Ireland