The fact that the Ireland outing is merely a tune-up for India ahead of a much arduous challenge on English shores can be sugar coated but not convincingly disputed. Cricket demands that every opposition be respected, but truth be told, all the hype and preparation post IPL wasn’t for this. And even Gary Wilson, the Ireland skipper, before the start of the first T20I had said that his team would like to stage an ‘upset’ over India. The hosts aren’t shy in admitting that it would require a monumental effort on their part, and a bit of a slip up from the visitors for them to be able have an upper hand in the contest. At the end of the opening game, the 76 runs that separated the two teams was proof of the same.
Two days later, the scenario is unlikely to change much, even as India’s best T20I bowler – Jasprit Bumrah – is likely to be rested after he hurt the webbing of his left hand. Virat Kohli has clarified that the aim is to give everyone an opportunity – more match time with the bat, ball and on the field. And yet, if India doesn’t field the XI they did in the previous game, by including Umesh Yadav, Siddarth Kaul, KL Rahul and Dinesh Karthik, the challenge isn’t getting any easier for Ireland.
Ireland’s struggle against spin aside, the fact that India’s spin twins could find their rhythm and strike in these conditions is good news for the team for the challenges ahead. What, however, is not, is the catching – two high catches dropped in the previous game would have made the “to improve” list.
For Ireland, improvements must come from every corner if they are to square the series.
When: June 29, 2018
Where: The Village, Malahide
What to expect: Like in the first game, the weather is expected to be sunny and pleasant. No rains forecast.
India: There are injury scares for Jasprit Bumrah and Washington Sundar, who hurt himself in a football drill before the first game. The team management is unlikely to risk playing them.
Ireland: David Delany has been drafted into the squad for the injured Josh Little, who has been ruled out of the series. But having been brought in on ‘development capacity’ he is unlikely to feature in the Playing XI
What they said:
“I did not expect it to spin as it did in the second innings… we need to go back and have a look at how we are going to play Kuldeep and Chahal in the second game.” – Gary Wilson, Ireland skipper, said at the end of the first T20I.
“They did use their feet, but did not show much footwork. We vary the pace, bowl slow, and (I can understand) they possibly are not used to such kind of bowling, but the more they play they will get better.” – Kuldeep Yadav, India spinner.
Ireland: Gary Wilson(c), Andrew Balbirnie, Peter Chase, George Dockrell, Andy McBrine, Kevin O Brien, William Porterfield, Stuart Poynter, Boyd Rankin, James Shannon, Simi Singh, Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson
India: Virat Kohli(c), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Lokesh Rahul, Suresh Raina, Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Washington Sundar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Siddarth Kaul, Umesh Yadav
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