Pace sensation Jasprit Bumrah ticked all the boxes on his much-anticipated return to lead India to a two-run win over Ireland by DLS Method in a rain-interrupted first T20I of the three-match series, here on Friday.
Leading the side on his return after an 11-month injury layoff, Bumrah claimed 2 for 24 with nine dot balls and formed a formidable pair with T20I debutant Prasidh Krishna (2/32) to restrict Ireland to 139 for 7 after opting to bowl.
Things looked bleak for the hosts after they were down 59 for 6 in the 11th over but their No 8 Barry McCarthy produced an amazing recovery, blazing his way to a 33-ball 51 not out (4x4, 4x6) to lift their total to a respectable 139 for 7.
He stitched a seventh wicket 57-run partnership with Curtis Campher (39) as Ireland reeled off 54 runs in the last five overs, losing just one wicket.
McCarthy was the stand out batter for the hosts as he reached his maiden half-century with a last-ball six off Arshdeep Singh who leaked 22 runs in the last over with McCarthy going hammers and tongs with two sixes and a four.
Chasing the tricky target under overcast conditions, India were off to a fluent start with Yashasvi Jaiswal (24; 23b) and Ruturaj Gaikwad (19 not out) putting together 46 runs in 6.2 overs.
But Craig Young produced a double blow, taking the left-handed duo of Jaiswal and Tilak Varma who was out for a golden duck.
India vice-captain Gaikwad, however, showed maturity and watched through the tricky phased, well aware that they were ahead of the DLS par score.
There was no stopping rain as umpires decided to call off the game at 6.15pm local time with India taking a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
The victory also saw India return to winning ways after it went down 2-3 in the T20I series in the West Indies. The second T20I is slated to be held here on Sunday.
All eyes were on Bumrah, and the Indian pace sensation did not disappoint.
Bumrah bowled upfront only to see Irish opener Andy Balbirnie nudging his fuller delivery for a boundary behind the square boundary.
Bumrah was quick to bounce back and knocked over Balbirnie’s off-stump with a searing inswinger.
He grabbed in-form wicketkepper-batter Lorcan Tucker in his fifth delivery to get his campaign up and running.
After four overs, Prasidh, who made his T20I debut, was handed the ball and he ended the struggle of Harry Tector (9) with the batter giving a simple catch to Tilak Varma while looking for a ramp shot.
The wily Bishnoi then bamboozled skipper Paul Stirling (11) with a googly as Ireland slumped to 27 for 4 in the powerplay.
The hosts continued to pay the price for poor execution as Prasidh had George Dockrell (3) caught by Ruturaj Gaikwad at cover with a back-of-a-length delivery.
Campher hit a welcome boundary with a reverse sweep, while Mark Adair (16) picked up two fours to take Ireland to 50 for 5 in 9 overs.
However, Bishnoi came back to remove Adair after winning a video referral for an LBW decision. The batter danced down the track and looked to play a slog shot only to be hit on the pads by a ball turning in from outside.
Campher and McCarthy then stitched an important partnership to take Ireland to a decent total, but with rain playing spoilsport, the hosts succumbed by just two runs.
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