Rohit Sharma's swashbuckling 61-ball 97 and 74 from Shikhar Dhawan set up India's 76-run victory against Ireland on Wednesday in the first game of a two-match Twenty20 series. Openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan put a great 1st wicket partnership. While the first half of the match offered great entertainment with Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan going hammer and tongs, the second innings proved to be rather tiresome with the hosts managing just 132 in reply to India's 208.
Perhaps it was a marker of this crucial impending assignment that India chose to stay on and practice in London on Monday. Dhoni didn't have much to do in the previous match as he batted in the dying stages of the Indian innings. The likes of Kohli, Rahul and the opening duo had a hit at the nets at the Merchants Taylor School while Umesh and Bhuvneshwar along with Pandya honed their bowling skills. Kohli, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and MS Dhoni were rested for the T20 tri-series in Sri Lanka in March. Umesh Yadav last played an ODI in September 2017 against Australia at Bengaluru.
With Pandya as the third seaming option, it will also be interesting to see whether medium pacer Siddharth Kaul makes his India debut after an impressive stint in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Ireland fell to the one of heaviest defeats in Twenty20 worldwide history as India secured a mammoth 143-run success in Malahide.
Ireland replaced Stuart Poynter with William Porterfield to strengthen the batting with skipper Gary Wilson taking over the wicket-keeping duties but at halfway it looked mission impossible for their hopes of squaring the series.
India likely XI for 2nd T20I: KL Rahul, Virat Kohli (c), Suresh Raina, Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthik, Washington Sundar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Siddarth Kaul, Yuzvendra Chahal. Meanwhile, 31-year-old Punjab-born off-spinner Simranjit Singh will enjoy the spotlight of playing against his erstwhile nation. The match starts at 8:30 PM IST on June 27.