If the first T20I showed a distinct gap in skills between India and Ireland, the second T20I displayed exactly how wide that gap really was. In front of a 9000-strong crowd at the packed Malahide ground, Ireland capitulated at the hands of India’s bowling attack, all out for their second-lowest T20I score to lose the two-match series 2-0.
It was the third-shortest innings in T20I history as India’s spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal shared six wickets to cripple Ireland’s middle- and lower-order into submission and set up their biggest margin of victory in the format. It was also the second-biggest victory (by runs) overall.
The game, however, was won in the afternoon’s first innings, when incoming opener KL Rahul thumped a 36-ball 70 to give India a flying start. Suresh Raina then anchored the innings with a 45-ball 60 to set the base for a big total, after which Hardik Pandya’s nine-ball blitz of 32* ensured India crossed the 200-run mark in consecutive matches for the first time.
With a target that big, It was, obviously, going to be a difficult chase, especially after how the first game turned out. But Ireland’s batsmen made the same mistakes that marred their loss on Wednesday, looking to play cross-batted shots to Chahal and Kuldeep, eventually crashing and burning to the wristspinners’ guile and dexterity inside 12.3 overs of the chase.
Playing only his second T20I match – and his first after missing 65 games – Umesh Yadav was given the responsibility of India’s new ball. He struck off his second delivery when an outswinger found the outside edge of opener Paul Stirling’s bat for a duck. In his next over, Umesh was smashed for 12 off the first three balls, but a comeback delivery aimed at the base of middle stump sent William Porterfield back as well. Trying to play a ramp shot over short fine leg, Porterfield shuffled across way too much only to expose his middle stump. When debutant Siddarth Kaul prised the wicket of James Shannon with a short ball that was sliced to cover, Ireland were reeling at 22 for 3 with eight overs of spin still to play.
There was still work to do, or atleast do enough to reach a respectable total with Andy Balbirnie, Simi Singh and the captain Gary Wilson to follow, but when the spinners came on, Ireland’s trio of middle-order batsmen weren’t sure how to pick them. In his first over, Kuldeep bowled five straight deliveries, while the sixth turned just about enough – away from Balbirnie – to sneak past the outside edge of his front-foot defense and crash into middle stump. Three balls later, Kevin O’Brien perished to Chahal, holing out to third man while trying to clobber the ball to cow corner and by the time Simi was trapped lbw in front of off stump, Ireland were 36 for 6 and staring at potentially their lowest-ever T20I total. (ESPNCricinfo)