Rohit sets sights on Pakistan after easy win over Ireland in T20 World Cup

India only required 97 to win after a dominant display by their bowling attack


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India's captain Rohit Sharma plays a shot during the match against Ireland. — AFP
India's captain Rohit Sharma plays a shot during the match against Ireland. — AFP

Published: Thu 6 Jun 2024, 9:23 AM

Rohit Sharma is looking forward to the big game against Pakistan on Sunday after India got off to a great start in the T20 World Cup on Wednesday

The Indian captain made 52 before retiring hurt as India overwhelmed Ireland by eight wickets in New York.

India only required 97 to win after a dominant display by their attack, with left-arm quick Arshdeep Singh striking twice in the third over to reduce Ireland to 9-2 after Rohit won the toss.

All-rounder Hardik Pandya took two wickets in two balls on his way to 3-27 and Jasprit Bumrah, the player of the match, 2-6.

"Good to get the points. Stick to your basics, think about Test match bowling. Arshdeep can swing the ball into the right-handers and that set the tone," Rohit said.

"Don't think we can play four spinners here. If the conditions are there for the seamers, we wanted them in the squad. The spinners will play their part later in the tournament. We are open to making changes to the team's needs."

Victory was all but secured for India, the inaugural 2007 T20 World Cup champions, when they dismissed Ireland for just 96 as a drop-in pitch of variable bounce at a Long Island ground built specially for the tournament again proved tough to bat on.

India's joy in dismissing Ireland cheaply would have been tempered by the thought they too could be batting first on a similar surface when they return to the ground on Sunday to play arch-rivals Pakistan in the showpiece match of the group phase.

Only four Ireland batsmen reached double figures, Gareth Delany top-scoring with 26 before he was run out as the innings ended in the 16th over.

"I don't know what to expect from the pitch but we will prepare as if conditions are going to be like that," Rohit said of the Pakistan clash on the same ground.

"That will be a game where all XI of us need to come together and contribute. It was scratchy but good to spend time in the middle, hopefully we can do the same."

On Wednesday, Ireland needed to hold every chance that came their way to have any chance of a shock upset.

But off the last ball of the first over of the chase, India captain Rohit -- on two -- edged Mark Adair through the hands of Andrew Balbirnie at second slip.

Rohit punished Ireland with a 37-ball innings, including four fours and three well-struck sixes as he shared a stand of 54 with Rishabh Pant.

The wicketkeeper, returning to international cricket after a horror car crash in December 2022, finished on 36 not out and ended the match with a typically flamboyant reverse-scooped six off Barry McCarthy as India won with more than seven overs left.

Rohit was not there alongside him, however, having been previously struck on the arm by Josh Little, although he struck the two balls he faced immediately afterwards from the paceman for resounding sixes.

Star batsman Virat Kohli fell for just one, slicing Adair to deep third man, but it made little difference to India, bidding to win a major tournament since their 2013 Champions Trophy triumph.

One man who was not complaining about the pitch was Bumrah, India's bowling spearhead.

"When you come here and the ball is seaming around with some bounce and pace, I would never complain," he said.

"You have to be proactive, you can't preempt things. You realise how the wicket is and then go back to what works for you. Once the seam goes down the pitch does settle down. You have to be prepared to bowl in all conditions, so very happy today."

Brief scores:

India beat Ireland by eight wickets.

Ireland 96 all out, 16 overs (Gareth Delany 26, Josh Little 14; Hardik Pandya 3-27, Jasprit Bumrah 2-6, Arshdeep Singh 2-35)

India 97-2, 12.2 overs (Rohit Sharma 52 ret hurt, Rishabh Pant 36 not out)


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