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Ireland make classy India work hard for victory

 

By Ian Callender in Malahide

As expected, India came, saw and conquered on their first visit to Ireland for 11 years, but James Shannon and Peter Chase ensured the third best T20 side in the world did not have it all their own way at a sun-kissed Malahide.

It must have felt like home for India, such was the temperature in Dublin yesterday and with more than half the 9,000 spectators supporting the visitors, but Chase - with three wickets in the last over - restricted them to 208 for five when 220 looked a minimum. And what a triumvirate it was.

With his second ball he had MS Dhoni caught on the mid-wicket boundary by Stuart Thompson, next ball he bowled Rohit Sharma who was three runs short of his third T20 century, and two balls later he claimed the scalp of Virat Kholi thanks to another catch by Thompson.

A straight six by Hardik Pandya gave the final say to India, but 4-35 were Chase's best figures for Ireland in any format.

Skipper Gary Wilson hoped it was just the start of bigger and better things for the Malahide pace man.

"We backed Chase to bowl those death overs, he showed in training what he can do and he got two of the biggest names in world cricket. With every game he plays he will gain in confidence that little bit more," said the captain.

And he was also delighted that James Shannon - preferred to the vast experience of William Porterfield - succeeded against one of the world's best attacks.

"It's always good when a new player comes into the side and does well, and hopefully he too can kick on," added Wilson.

Shannon enjoyed a couple of early lives - on 17 he was walking back to the pavilion having skied Jasprit Bumrah to mid-wicket but, somehow, Rohit Sharma dropped the catch and the Instonians batsman went on to reach his first 50 for Ireland from 29 balls.

Six balls later he was leg before to man of the match Kuldeep Yadav for 60 but with a satisfying nine boundaries, four of them sixes, to his name.

The next best score was 12 as Yadav, a left arm chinaman bowler, and leg spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, the third ranked T20 bowler in the world, shared seven wickets and reduced Ireland to 123-8 after 16 overs.

At the same stage, India had just lost their first wicket at 160, Kevin O'Brien having Shikhar Dhawan caught at long-on, by Thompson, as the ball seemed to follow the Eglinton all-rounder who ended up with three good catches.

If Ireland can find a way to play Chahal and Yadav tomorrow at the same venue, the second T20 could be closer.

Belfast Telegraph

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