Buoyed by Jasprit Bumrah’s impressive return, fancied India will hope for better weather and a chance for the team’s young batters to prove their mettle in the second T20 International against Ireland here on Sunday.
After the Bumrah-led bowling attack impressed to restrict Ireland to 139 for seven in the series opener, incessant rain denied the middle-order batters an opportunity to prove their worth.
India was declared winner by two runs via the Duckworth/Lewis method and both the teams will hope that they get to play a full match in the second game.
Expected to lead the Indian batting in the coming years, the likes of Shivam Dube, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Rinku Singh will hope they get a chance to spend sufficient time in the middle.
Having got out after getting a good start in the first match, opener Yashasvi Jaiswal will look for a big score and so will Tilak Varma, who was dismissed for a golden duck days after his stupendous performance in West Indies.
While the newcomers in international cricket dominate the top-order, wicketkeeper-batter Sanju Samson lends a bit of experience to the Indian batting order in the absence of Suryakumar Yadav, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Shubman Gill and Hardik Pandya.
Though injuries have remained a part of his career, all-rounder Washington Sundar has also gained enough experience at the top level, and he will be pressed into service by Bumrah, who is leading the team in the absence of regular T20I skipper Hardik.
As far as the batting is concerned, India was cruising until Craig Young’s two wickets in the last over pegged it back a bit.
Leading the side on his return after an 11-month injury layoff, Bumrah claimed two for 24 in his first match in almost a year, including bowling nine dot balls, while forming a formidable partnership with T20I debutant Prasidh Krishna (two for 32) - also on a comeback trail - to restrict Ireland to a modest total after opting to bowl.
In these conditions, toss can play a vital role and India was lucky in that aspect, and the visitor wouldn’t mind if the coin lands in its favour on Sunday, too.
In the post-match press conference, leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi, who also picked up two wickets in an excellent spell, had no qualms in admitting that India didn’t mind winning the toss.
As far as Ireland is concerned, it struggled to recover after Bumrah claimed two wickets in his very first over, setting the platform for his side’s win. The home team will have to dish out a much-improved performance with the bat if it is to challenge India, which is strong enough even in the absence of the seniors.
Like Bumrah did for India, the seasoned Paul Stirling will have to lead the way for Ireland. The Irish will also look up to men like Andrew Balbirnie, Joshua Little, Craig Young and George Dockrell for guiding their team.
The series is significant for Bumrah, who gets an ideal opportunity to test himself and get into the groove ahead of the Asia Cup and World Cup, tournaments where his presence will be vital from the Indian perspective.
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