Dublin: Ruturaj Gaikwad’s second T20I fifty and a 42 runs flurry by Shivam Dube and debutant Rinku Sigh in the last two overs helped India win the three-match T20I series 2-0 against Ireland at The Village here on Sunday.
Sent into bat, India posted 185/5 in the stipulated 20 overs. In reply, Ireland could muster only 152/8, losing to India by 33 runs.
Rinku (38 off 21, 2x4s 3x6s) and Dube (22* off 16, 2x6s) came to the party after half-centurion Gaikwad lost his wicket in the 16th over and India were looking at the threshold of losing momentum. Both stitched a crucial 45 runs for the fifth wicket in quick time.
They played out a couple of overs without taking too many risks, but cut loose in the final two overs helping the visitors march past the 180 runs mark.
Put into bat, India lost Yashasvi Jaiswal and Tilak Varma for 18 and 1, respectively. India were then 32/2 in 4.1 overs when Sanju Samson walked in and built the innings.
Samson struck form, scoring 40 off just 26 balls with 5 boundaries and a six, lifting India to 105/3 in 12.2 overs. Gaikwad raced to his fifty with a boundary by sweeping Benjamin White behind square on the leg-side.
Samson and Gaikwad stitched a 71-run stand for third wicket, before he was cleaned up by White after he tried to eke out a thick inside edge that deflected back onto the stumps.
Gaikwad soon followed suit as he could not put the finishing touches. For Ireland, Barry McCarthy bagged two wickets for 36, while Mark Adair, Craig Young and White picked up a wicket each.
In reply, only Andrew Balbirnie made a notable contribution, but that was not enough as others did not make a big contribution. Jasprit Bumrah was in top gear, picking up 2 wickets for 15 runs.
Arshdeep Singh received a raw deal in the beginning, but came back well, scalping a wicket. Prasidh Krishna gave the early jolt to Ireland and Bishnoi added two to his tally.
Ireland began the run chase poorly as they lost three wickets inside six overs.
Captain Paul Stirling (0), Lorcan Tucker (0) and Harry Tector were picked up by pacer Prasidh Krishna. He had Stirling and Tucker in the same over, while Tector was cleaned up by right-arm leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi for 7.
Opener Balbirnie and Curtis Campher took the score from 28/3 to 63 in 10th over, before the No.5 batsman was caught by Dube off Bishnoi.
Balbirnie carried on Ireland’s chase, this time with George Dockrell (13) who built a 52 runs fifth wicket partnership before he was unfortunately run out of Bishnoi-Samson effort.
Soon Balbirnie was caught by Samson behind the stumps off Arshdeep Singh after making an excellent 72 off 51 balls with 5 boundaries and 4 sixes.
McCarthy, who had cracked a half century in the last match, could not show his magic in this match as he was caught by Bishnoi off skipper Bumrah.
Ireland lost the momentum after McCarthy’s return, and it was a big ask for Young and Joshua Little to get over the mark.