Ruthless India show their class as Tector half-century comes in losing effort at Malahide

Ireland’s number four averaging 86 in last four T20I innings but powerplay struggles haunt Ireland

India (111-3, 9.2 overs)(Deepak Hooda 47*; Craig Young 2-18) beat Ireland (108-4; Harry Tector 64*; Yuzvendra Chahal 1-11) by seven wickets

In the end, the world’s number one ranked T20 side - well, minus those in the Test squad for their impending England series - were brutally efficient with both bat and ball as Ireland were blown away by India in a rain-shortened seven wicket defeat at Malahide.

In a game reduced to 12 overs, Bhuvneshwar Kumar moved the new ball both ways, in the air and off the pitch. Yuzvendra Chahal bowled three incredibly economical overs for just 11 runs as some of his seamers at the other end struggled, while Deepak Hooda - only opening because an injured Ruturaj Gaikwad spent too much time off the pitch while India were in the field - was belligerent with an unbeaten knock of 47 off 29 balls to break the back of the chase almost as soon as it started.

Harry Tector continued his good form in both formats for Ireland, blasting a career best 64 off 33 deliveries, good for a strike-rate of 194 as he gave his side something to bowl at in a first innings that stuttered from the off.

After the start was delayed by nearly two and a half hours by rain, the gap between an Indian squad that has just completed a two-month stint at the world’s premier T20 competition and an Irish group that has had just four domestic T20 games was readily apparent.

Kumar’s new-ball skills did for captain Andrew Balbirnie. He watched in-swingers to Paul Stirling, was surprised by an out-swinger first up and missed another that moved back in the next delivery.

Hardik Pandya gave himself the new ball from the other end, and while some of the width he offered was punished, his third delivery caught the toe end of Stirling’s bat and offered a simple chance to Hooda at mid-off.

Gareth Delany nicked Avesh Khan behind to leave Ireland 23 for three off their powerplay. That was where the game was lost but Tector ensured the margin wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

He was magnificent through the offside, carving Axar Patel’s left arm offies for boundaries over extra cover. India countered by bringing on their rapid debutant Umran Malik, but for all the talk of his extra pace, his lengths were poor. Still, Tector looked at ease driving a half-volley down the ground before pulling a 90m/ph bouncer with authority over square-leg.

Lorcan Tucker offered able support, launching Pandya for back-to-back maximums over the leg side but that was tolerable for India so long as Chahal was squeezing as he was.

In reply, Ishan Kishan put any hopes of an upset firmly on the back-burner, punishing Ireland’s shorter length into the pitch with strokes over point and mid-wicket;15 runs off the first over and all the momentum with the visitors.

After watching India extract plenty of swing with fuller lengths, Ireland didn’t give the ball a chance to move in the air and were punished. Craig Young was the first to bowl consistently full and he got the reward, bowling Kishan with one that swung back late before pinning Suryakumar Yadav first ball with a nip-backer.

“You miss your length, it happens sometimes and then you can go bang-bang when you get the ball in the right area,” explained Young afterwards. “You can put the ball in the right area but you can’t just put it there because those guys will smack it everywhere.

“None of us are quite Kumar, we haven’t got the skills them boys have but we are lucky that we know Malahide quite well and we know the lengths to bowl, albeit we don’t always hit them straight away. You can’t go too full because they’ll blast you over your head, you’ve got that small margin.

“We got the line right a lot of the time but the length is what let us down.”

With India 45 for two at the end of their powerplay, the game was done. Pandya and Hooda took a liking to Andy McBrine, carting him over the short straight boundary. Josh Little returned to swing a full one back through Pandya’s defences and trap him in front but India didn’t let up, Hooda finishing the game with consecutive boundaries through the off side.

Nathan Johns

Nathan Johns is an Irish Times journalist