- Sinchan Saha | June 29, 2022 | 2:01 pm
India vs Ireland 2nd T20I: Deepak Hooda scored his maiden T20I hundred. Sanju Samson provided international cricket with its most memorable genuine look at his rich gifts. Paul Stirling reminded the IPL that he exists. Andy Balbirnie trudged and connected frequently enough to make up for the times he slogged and missed. Then Harry Tector, George Dockrell and Mark Adair showed that Ireland have hitting ability right down their line-up.
It boiled down to one ball and six to get, in a chase of 226.
Umran Malik had held Ireland to 11 off the initial five balls of this last over, and four of those runs had fallen off an edge. He had ensured a tough debut, delivering simply the one over in a rain-shortened game, and had yielded 31 in his initial three overs. Not awful at all considering the scoring rate of this match, yet all that matters is this one final ball.
Malik bowled it wide of off stump and Adair cut through cover-point, however he was unable to find the elevation he expected to transform this fearsome chase into a party like Bengaluru or Nelson or Southampton. India wrapped up the series 2-0, however this was the kind of game that was expected to have wider implications in terms of cricket’s scheduling and economic flows. Will it? Nobody knows for sure, but In any case, what a game.
Malahide has been one of the freest-scoring grounds in world cricket of late. Before today, its usual run rate of 9.12 had put it 6th among the 69 grounds that have facilitated at least five T20Is since the starting of 2018. By the end of Sunday’s dreamlike slugfest, Malahide had climbed to third on the list, crossing Hamilton, Centurion and Mount Maunganui.
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Samson and Hooda flaunt India’s bench strength
Hooda was on the seat all through the last T20I series India played, and Samson wasn’t even in the squad. This was regardless of India resting some of their standard top-order batters. Hooda got his opportunity in this series because Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer were inaccessible, and Samson came into the side for this game because Ruturaj Gaikwad was out with a calf niggle.
Neither looked anything like a fringe player today during a partnership of 176 in only 87 balls – the highest for the second wicket in all T20Is and India’s highest for any wicket. It was just more proof of India’s sheer depth of assets.
One needs to be a unique player encountering an exceptional day to outscore Samson as well as better him for eye-getting strokeplay, and Hooda did both. The forays down the pitch to utilise his long levers to hit long and straight were amazing, yet surprisingly better was his ruthless pulling and snaring of anything short. His maiden T20I fifty came off 27 balls, and his hundred off 55.
Ireland hit back after they dismissed the Hooda-Samson stand, with Young and Adair yielding only 13 off the last two overs while taking three wickets. As it ended up, this small scale rebound, and Hooda’s stoppage, would almost proceed to have a result-changing impact.
Ireland give India serious alarm
Stirling’s T20I record against top restrictions – he had passed 20 just a single time in 17 innings against the conventional top eight groups – is one potential purpose for his never having highlighted in the IPL, yet when he gets rolling, even the best can find him hard to stop. Bhuvneshwar Kumar found this out as Stirling pulled, slapped and whipped him for 6, 4, 4, 4 off the last four bundles of his first over.
The following nine balls brought no limits, and Ireland abruptly required 102 off the last 48 balls. Tector, their half-centurion in the principal T20I, was in the centre.
Dockrell hit the main ball he looked for a back to front six over the covers, and that started a stage when Ireland hit three sixes and four fours in about 16 balls to bring the conditions down to 38 off 18. Bhuvneshwar dismissed Tector in the eighteenth over, yet that didn’t stop Ireland either, as Adair kept their limit rush going.
It descended, eventually, to one ball, and one hit. On one more day, Adair might have associated all the more pleasantly. On this one, Malik and India won. India 225 for 7 (Hooda 104, Samson 77, Adair 3-42) beat Ireland 221 for 5 (Balbirnie 60, Stirling 40, Tector 39, Dockrell 34*, Bishnoi 1-41) by four runs.