India pips spirited Ireland; clinch T20I series 2-0
Every now and then history has inexorably arced towards underdogs pulling off heists in broad daylight that has heralded a not-so-good offing for the giants in the upcoming days. But then there are days when the dark horses have tried and failed, even though the destination was just a click away. Ireland was on the brink of such colossal larceny last night as India scraped through the skin of their teeth, pulling off a whitewash.
Hardik Pandya won the toss and opted to bat first which saw Deepak Hooda and Sanju Samson steering India clear of the early danger after Ishan Kishan would hole out to Lorcan Tucker for cheap. However, Hooda and Samson would make it took the hosts to the cleaners as boundaries and sixes rained.
Deepak Hooda induced his own brand of aggression as he used the small size of the ground to string together colossal strikes while Sanju Samson kept a destructive low profile as the duo stitched together India’s highest T20I partnership of 176 runs. Deepak Hooda's maiden international century and Samson's elegant 77 off 42 carried India to a massive 225 even as the middle order failed to fire at the death.
Much to India’s surprise, Ireland came out all guns blazing, Paul Stirling leading the charge. It was eventually Ravi Bishnoi to remove the dangerous Stirling as he would skid past the latter’s defense to disrupt his timbre. Despite a couple more wickets falling in quick succession, the Irish skipper took over the wheel as Ireland lunged towards a momentous chase.
The onslaught wouldn’t really stop as Ireland would come menacingly closer to the finishing line. Despite starting the final over on a sloppy note that would feature a free-hit on the second ball, Umran Malik would rally back to keep his calm as the hosts would fall short of the total by whiskers.
The whitewash of Ireland was another feather in India’s already bedecked T20 crown as they extended their winning streak to 5-0 over the Irish. India’s next assignment will be against England, starting with the pending one-off Test from the 2021 series, as the visitors will be desperate to script a historic triumph against England.