In the opening game of the three-math series, under Jasprit Bumrah’s captaincy, India’s bowling unit excelled, limiting Ireland to a total of 139/7.Unfortunately, persistent rain during India’s run-chase hindered the middle-order batters’ chance to display their skills.
The rain-hit game was eventually decided by the DLS method, giving India a two-run win, but both the teams would be looking forward to a full-match scenario on Sunday, when a win will give India a series-winning 2-0 lead.Names like Ruturaj Gaikwad and Rinku Singh, who look poised to lead India’s batting in the future, aspire to spend valuable time at the crease. Opener Yashasvi Jaiswal, having shown promise but falling short in the first match, aims for a big knock. Similarly, Tilak Varma, despite a golden duck following his impressive performance in the West Indies, would want to bounce back.
As the new talent dominates the top order, experienced wicketkeeper-batsman Sanju Samson lends stability to India’s batting line-up, especially in the absence of key players such as Suryakumar Yadav, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Shubman Gill and Hardik Pandya.
Washington Sundar, though faced with injuries, brings substantial experience to the team. Led by Bumrah, who has temporarily taken the reins in the absence of the regular T20I skipper Hardik, Sundar’s expertise will be an asset for India.
During India’s run-chase in the first T20I, the visitors seemed to be on course until Craig Young’s two wickets disrupted the momentum.
Bumrah, returning after an 11-month injury hiatus, made an impactful statement by securing figures of 2/24, forming a strong partnership with T20I debutant Prasidh Krishna (2/32). Together, they restricted Ireland to a modest total.
In overcast conditions, the toss could prove pivotal, and India benefitted from this aspect in the series opener. For the match on Sunday, the visitors wouldn’t mind if luck with the coin favoured them once more.
Shifting the focus to Ireland, they faced challenges in recovering from Bumrah’s quick double-wicket blow at the outset of their innings. To mount a challenge against India, the home team must elevate their batting performance as India remain a potent force despite the absence of senior players.
Seasoned Irish campaigner Paul Stirling holds a similar responsibility as Bumrah. The Irish side will also rely on individuals like Andrew Balbirnie, Joshua Little, Craig Young and George Dockrell to guide the team.
For Bumrah, this series holds immense significance. It offers an ideal opportunity for him to gauge his form ahead of the Asia Cup and World Cup, two big tournaments from the Indian perspective, where his presence will be crucial.
(With agency inputs)