Gaikwad, Rinku, and Prasidh shine as India secures the series victory

Ruturaj Gaikwad reached his second half-century in a T20I game

While Rinku Singh stole the show on his debut with a daring performance at the end as India defeated Ireland by 33 runs in the second T20I to win the series, Ruturaj Gaikwad contributed a half-century.

Following the loss of two wickets in the powerplay, Gaikwad and Sanju Samson added 71 runs to help India stay in the game. After they left, Ireland began to put pressure on India, and Rinku stepped up to help India score 42 runs in the final two overs and reach a total of 185, which proved to be too much for Ireland.

With a 51-ball 72, Andy Balbirnie put up a valiant fight for Ireland, but Prasidh Krishna, Jasprit Bumrah, and Ravi Bishnoi, who each took two wickets, led India’s defense, it wasn’t enough.

On a bright afternoon at Malahide, India was given the ball, and things picked up for them in the second over with Gaikwad and Yashasvi Jaiswal. Gaikwad pushed Josh Little behind square for the game’s first goal before Jaiswal pulled consecutive balls for a four and a six.

Before Craig Young cramped him with a short ball for the second time in a row, Jaiswal hammered Barry McCarthy for another four runs. Nevertheless, Jaiswal attempted the pull and was caught on the boundary by Curtis Campher who was sprinting to his left from deep midwicket and reaching above Jaiswal’s head.

As Tilak Varma skied a pull to deep square leg, McCarthy then hit in a similar way.

Soon after the powerplay, Gaikwad picked up the short ball and increased the pace. After dispatching Young on each side of the midwicket fielder off successive balls in the following over, he initially pulled leg spinner Ben White in front of midwicket.

After an excellent on-drive off Adair, Samson increased the pressure on Little by hitting him for three fours and a six in the 11th over, leading to the left-arm quick’s 48 runs in four overs. He was driven over cover by Samson for a one-bounce four, and he later smacked a length ball over extra cover. 

The score became 4, 4, 4, after which he guided a low, wide full-toss past the goalkeeper. A dot off the following ball provided Little with only a brief reprieve as she ran short and was eventually pushed behind square for a six.

However, Young turned things around with a 12-over five-run outburst before Samson drew off White and brought Rinku to the plate.

In the fifteenth over, Rinku swept White for his first four runs before Gaikwad responded with a sweep of his own to reach the fifty-over mark. Once India reached 129 for 3, they were set up for a possible score of more than 200 thanks to Gaikwad’s six-run hit that knocked him to the ground.

McCarthy, however, outwitted Gaikwad with a slower ball in the 16th over, and Ireland started to stifle India with clever usage of the short ball and slower ones. The 16th, 17th, and 18th overs were only able to produce 14 runs for India.

Both Rinku and Dube appeared to be battling to break free, making poor performance on a challenging task look inevitable. Then Rinku performed the action that had helped him win his India call-up during IPL 2023 so frequently.

In the 19th over, he cut McCarthy over backward point for four and hoisted the subsequent, slower ball over long-on for his maiden six. McCarthy followed it up with two consecutive wides and adjusted his angle to bowl around the wicket, but it was too late to stop Rinku’s onslaught as he hauled him over cover for another six.

The final over was launched by Adair with a leg-stump full toss, which Dube assisted behind square for the first of two sixes. The next ball, which was in the slot, was whacked by Dube over deep midwicket and far into the stands. The crowd’s applause grew louder with each hit as Rinku dutifully pulled a length ball for another six.

Rinku walked back for 38 off a pull attempt, but by that point, he had accomplished enough to help India reach a total that was more than competitive.

Ireland, which was chasing 186, finished Jasprit Bumrah’s first over, despite Balbirnie surviving a lbw challenge that reversed the umpire’s judgment at the stumps when India reviewed the not-out determination.

Balbirnie picked up the pace in the following over, smashing two boundaries on either side of the wicket off Arsheep Singh.

However, Prasidh used the short-ball strategy that had been successful for Ireland to blow the game wide open in the following over. When Arshdeep ran in from fine leg to claim a pull that Paul Stirling top-edged, he sent the Ireland captain back for a four-ball duck. Gaikwad managed to get it over from midwicket two balls later when Lorcan Tucker mishandled a pull towards mid-on, despite a brief collision with Dube.

Harry Tector was taken out by a wrong’un from Ravi Bishnoi, capping off a successful powerplay for India. Ireland required more than 11 runs per over when they were 31 for 3.

Balbirnie briefly gave them cause for optimism when he swept Washington Sundar for back-to-back fours in the seventh over, and Campher picked up the pace when he slog-swept Bishnoi for a six off his following over. However, a subdued Dube over increased the strain, and Campher spooned a catch off Bishnoi to backward point, leaving Ireland reeling at 64 for 4 after ten overs.

In spite of this, Balbirnie persisted, hitting Dube for two sixes and sweeping Bishnoi for four either side of a four-run 12th over bowled by Bumrah. The 13th T20I over saw Dockrell hit Bishnoi for six and Balbirnie reached his tenth T20I fifty.

From 42 balls, Ireland now has to score 92. In the 14th over, Gaikwad missed an opportunity for Dockrell to take a genuine catch off Washington’s bowling, but Dockrell quickly returned following a mix-up with Balbirnie.

Before Dockrell’s dismissal, Balbirnie had pulled Prasidh for six, and he did the same to Arshdeep. However, the left-arm quickly fought back by putting the ball wide and getting the opening to edge behind.

As McCarthy holed out off a slower ball from Bumrah, he was unable to repeat his heroics from the previous T20I, effectively sealing India’s victory. At the very end, Mark Adair delivered a few passionate blows, but the fight was already over. He was eventually caught in the deep by Bumrah, who also bowled a wicket maiden to end the game.