India thrash Ireland by eight wickets in T20 World Cup after skittling opponents for just 96 | Cricket News

India began their T20 World Cup campaign with a comprehensive eight-wicket win over Ireland in New York ahead of their blockbuster showdown against Pakistan this weekend.

India – looking for a second T20 World Cup title and first since the inaugural edition in 2007 – rolled Ireland for 96 in 16 overs on a bowler-friendly pitch, with Hardik Pandya claiming three wickets and Jasprit Bumrah and Arshdeep Singh two each in a clinical display.

Virat Kohli, the leading run-scorer across all T20 World Cups, was dismissed for one in the chase but skipper Rohit Sharma (52 off 37) went on to score a 36-ball fifty having been dropped on two by Andy Balbirnie at slip.

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Watch the best of Rohit Sharma’s half-century against Ireland as he passed 4,000 T20 international runs

Rohit promptly retired hurt with a shoulder injury having been struck by a delivery from Josh Little but he played down the problem afterwards, saying he was merely “sore.

Rishabh Pant (36no off 26) clinched India’s dominant victory with 46 balls to spare when he reverse-scooped Barry McCarthy over deep third for six.

India will play Pakistan, live on Sky Sports, at the same venue on Sunday (3.30pm), a side they have beaten six times out of seven in completed T20 World Cup matches, including in the previous edition in Australia in 2022.

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Rishabh Pant clinched India’s win with a revere scoop for six

Ireland’s next game is against Canada on Friday (3.30pm), also in New York, with Canada aiming to bounce back from an opening loss to co-hosts USA.

Pakistan, runners-up to England at the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia get, get under way against USA in Dallas on Thursday (4.30pm).

The 2009 champions must not overlook USA, for whom Aaron Jones thumped 10 sixes in a score of 94 not out from 40 balls against Canada.

But their fans may already be focused on the encounter with India, a match that currently only takes place in global white-ball events and Asia Cups due to political tension between the nations.

India impress as Ireland slump

India will head into the match in confident mood, not just because of their stellar T20 World Cup record against Pakistan but also because of how they breezed past Ireland.

Having seen Sri Lanka razed for 77 by South Africa in New York on Monday, India skipper Rohit had no hesitation in bowling after winning the toss – his decision perhaps also influenced by the overcast skies.

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India’s Axar Patel took an excellent catch off his own bowling to dismiss Barry McCarthy as Ireland were rolled for 96

Rohit’s bowlers proceeded to rip through Ireland’s batting line-up, with Paul Stirling (5) and Balbirnie (2) out to Arshdeep in the third over – Stirling ballooning behind to wicketkeeper Pant before Balbirnie was bowled off and middle stump.

The wickets kept on tumbling with only four Ireland players making double figures – Gareth Delany (26 off 14), Little (14), Curtis Campher (12) and Lorcan Tucker (10) – and extras (15) ending up as Ireland’s second highest scorer.

Stirling’s side were 50-8 in the 12th over but Little and Delany pumped up the total, albeit that a target of 97 was never going to realistically challenge India.

Rohit was reprieved on two when his slashed shot off Mark Adair burst Balbirnie’s hands in the cordon but Kohli departed early, slicing Adair to Ben White on the deep third fence.

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There was a moment of hush with the India fans stunned when Virat Kohli fell for just one in his side’s game versus Ireland

Rohit struggled for timing but passed 4,000 T20 international runs with an off-side four and and then smoked Little for successive sixes over the leg-side to seal his half-century.

He retired hurt after 10 overs with 21 runs still required and although Suryakumar Yadav, the top-ranked T20 batter in the world, made just two, India won at a canter.

What’s next?

Pakistan’s meeting with USA in Texas is one of four matches on Thursday, with Scotland – whose Group B opener against England was abandoned due to rain – facing Namibia in Barbados (8pm).

Australia’s first Group B fixture is against Oman in Barbados (1.30am), while Papua New Guinea tackle Uganda in Guyana in Group D (12.30am).

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