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T20 World Cup | India navigate New York minefield to win by 8 wickets against Ireland

On a borderline dangerous pitch, India showed up as thoroughbred professionals to put Ireland away in their opening T20 World Cup tie at the Nassau County International stadium.
Last Updated : 05 June 2024, 17:25 IST
Last Updated : 05 June 2024, 17:25 IST

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New York: It swung, it seamed. It bounced, it didn’t. Wednesday offered a scary insight into what is to come.

On a borderline dangerous pitch, India showed up as thoroughbred professionals to put Ireland away in their opening T20 World Cup tie at the Nassau County International stadium.

Before the eight-wicket victory coaxes you into revelling in India’s one-sided dominance, being cognisant of the conditions might have you feeling otherwise for India play two more games at this very venue, including Pakistan on June 9.

None of what is to follow is not an effort to dismiss India’s calculated dismantling of their opponents, least of all how good Rohit Sharma (52, retired hurt) and Rishabh Pant (36 n.o.) were in India getting to 97 for 2 in 12.2 overs.

These observations will serve well in assessing the future of this World Cup, at least on these four drop-in pitches here. Initially, one did wonder why Rohit won the toss and decided to bowl first.

Maybe it was the overcast conditions? Maybe he felt better chasing? It turns out that it had everything to do with getting an early read on Pitch No.4.

This was more of an experiment because it is early days, and they have the world-class personnel to mitigate any risks. It’s safe to say the experiment worked swimmingly.

Hardik Pandya, who couldn’t borrow a wicket during the Indian Premier League last month, noticed the first three seamers - Arshdeep Singh, Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah - get enough purchase without really trying.

The lack of complication, bowling wicket-to-wicket is all anyone needs do here, resulted in him picking up three wickets for 27 runs in a four-over quota which included a maiden.

Bumrah bagged two for six runs in three overs. Arshdeep was but an amateur with control, and even he ended up with two for 35 runs.

There wasn’t much for the spinners, but then again, Axar Patel and Ravindra Jadeja only bowled one over apiece.

Ireland were bundled out for 96 in 16 overs, a score which seemed implausible until Gareth Delany decided to have a good ol’ heave-ho en route 26.

With this level of proficiency, you’d think the Indians would have been chuffed. Yeah, no.

Watching batter after Irish batter getting flummoxed by the waywardness of the pitch, especially the short balls, was so unsettling that neither the bowlers nor the fielders celebrated as raucously as they typically do. Even Virat Kohli was uncharacteristically subdued.

The rationale was perhaps that if their bowlers could do damage to this degree, the opponents could as well.

Sure, Ireland don’t have the best bowling line-up in the tournament, but all this pitch needed was bowlers to keep it in the slot and let the surface do its thing.

Moreover, the playing area is larger than the cricket world has seen in a while, and the outfield has the characteristics of a mouse trap.

So, when Rohit and Kohli came out for the chase, there were some questions about how the next hour or so would play out. Kohli’s silly dismissal didn’t help the cause, nor the vibe at the stadium.

But, Rohit made up for that minor lull in stadium energy with a lesson in how one needs to go about batting on sticky pitches. He was patient in letting his skill take over when it was time.

He got to a half-century, but a blow to his shoulder in the ninth over off Josh Little meant he would walk off retired hurt. At this point, India needed 21 runs from 60 balls. The pitch was not a problem anymore.

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Published 05 June 2024, 17:25 IST

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