Sharma plays down injury scare after India rout Ireland

Published June 6, 2024
NEW YORK: Indian captain Rohit Sharma bats during the Group ‘A’ match against Ireland at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.—AFP
NEW YORK: Indian captain Rohit Sharma bats during the Group ‘A’ match against Ireland at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.—AFP

NEW YORK: Indian captain Rohit Sharma allayed fears about an injury after making 52 before retiring hurt as his side thrashed Ireland by eight wickets in the teams’ T20 World Cup opener in New York on Wednesday.

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 Sharma 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.

“Just a little sore,” said Sharma at the presentation ceremony. “New ground, new venue, wanted to see what’s it like to play on. I don’t think the pitch settled down, there was enough there for the bowlers.”

Ireland, all out for just 96, needed to hold every chance to have any hope of a shock upset.

But Sharma had made just two when, off the last ball of the first over of India’s chase, he edged Mark Adair through the hands of Andrew Balbirnie at second slip.

Adair dismissed Virat Kohli for just one, when the star batsman sliced to deep third man, but the damage had been done as India launched their bid to win a first major title since their 2013 Champions Trophy triumph with a commanding Group ‘A’ victory.

Sharma 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 wicket-keeper, 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 next two balls from the paceman for resounding sixes.

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

India’s joy, however, 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.

Bumrah, however, had few qualms, with the fast bowler saying, “Coming from India, when you see the ball seaming around [here], I would never complain when there’s help for the bowlers.”

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.

“A tough one,” said Ireland captain Paul Stirling. “The toss played a really important part in overcast conditions and then the pitch offered all sorts.

“We weren’t quite up to that challenge and India bowled really well to put us under pressure.”

Scoreboard

IRELAND:

A. Balbirnie b Arshdeep 5

P. Stirling c Pant b Arshdeep 2

L. Tucker b Pandya 10

H. Tector c Kohli b Bumrah 4

C. Campher c Pant b Pandya 12

G. Dockrell c Bumrah b Siraj 3

G. Delany run out 26

M. Adair c Dube b Pandya 3

B. McCarthy c&b Patel 0

J. Little b Bumrah 14

B. White not out 2

EXTRAS (LB-5, NB-1, W-9) 15

TOTAL (all out, 16 overs) 96

FALL OF WICKETS: 1-7 (Stirling), 2-9 (Balbirnie), 3-28 (Tucker), 4-36 (Tector), 5-44 (Campher), 6-46 (Dockrell), 7-49 (Adair), 8-50 (McCarthy), 9-77 (Little)

BOWLING: Arshdeep 4-0-35-2 (5w, 1nb), Siraj 3-0-13-1, Bumrah 3-1-6-2, Pandya 4-1-27-3, Patel 1-0-3-1, Jadeja 1-0-7-0

INDIA:

R. Sharma retired hurt 52

V. Kohli c White b Adair 1

R. Pant not out 36

S. Yadav c Dockrell b White 2

S. Dube not out 0

EXTRAS (W-6) 6

TOTAL (for one wicket, 12.2 overs) 97

FALL OF WICKETS: 1-22 (Kohli), 2-91 (Yadav)

DID NOT BAT: H. Pandya, R. Jadeja, A. Patel, J. Bumrah, A. Singh, M. Siraj

BOWLING: Adair 4-0-27-1, Little 4-0-42-0 (3w), McCarthy 2.2-0-18-0, Campher 1-0-4-0, White 1-0-6-1

RESULT: India won by eight wickets.

Published in Dawn, June 6th, 2024

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