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Revisiting past Indo-Irish international matches


Ireland_India_Cricket_ODI_T20IIndia have kick-started their all-important tour of the United Kingdom with a couple of T20 internationals against Ireland at The Village in Malahide, Dublin. This is the first time since their inaugural meeting in international cricket, an ODI back in 2007, that the two teams are playing each other in a bilateral engagement. In fact, they have faced off only four times so far across both limited-overs formats combined. Here is a look back at those instances.

Only ODI, Belfast, 2007

Ireland took the world by storm with their performance at the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean, defeating the likes of Pakistan and Bangladesh in what was their first appearance at the showpiece tournament. Two months later, they got an opportunity to reproduce their gutsy brand of cricket at home in a solitary ODI at the Civil Service Cricket Club in Belfast, where they took on Rahul Dravid’s Indians, who would go on to win the Test series in England later on the tour.

After being put into bat, Ireland lost wickets at regular intervals and slumped to 83/5 in the 27th over. Wicketkeeper Niall O’Brien, batting at number four, held the innings together, top-scoring with an anchoring 52 from 79 balls. His seventh-wicket stand of 48 with captain Trent Johnston was the highest of the innings. Johnston chipped in with 34, including two sixes, as Ireland’s innings ended at 193 after 50 overs. Leg-spinner Piyush Chawla, aged 18, bowled tidily for 3/29.

A rain intervention meant that India faced a revised target of 171 from 39 overs. Ireland struck in the very first over as debutant medium pacer Roger Whelan, a singer and guitarist in his spare time, bowled Sachin Tendulkar with only nine runs on the board. However, that was to be Ireland’s only success, as the left-handed duo of Sourav Ganguly (73*) and man of the match Gautam Gambhir (80*) put on an unbroken 162 to seal a nine-wicket win with 25 balls to spare.

World T20, Group Stage, Trent Bridge, 2009

This was the final match of the group stage of the second edition of the World Twenty20. India, the defending champions, and Ireland had both already qualified for the super eight round on account of defeating Bangladesh in their respective opening games. Prior to this game, Ireland had won all of their four completed T20 internationals since their debut in the shortest format in 2008. They chose to rest Niall O’Brien and Johnston, both of whom were nursing niggles.

Damp conditions greeted the players, and the game was reduced an 18-over affair. Indian captain MS Dhoni had no hesitation in electing to field, and his strike bowler Zaheer Khan did not disappoint, rattling the Irish top order with an incisive display. The left-arm seamer removed Jeremy Bray, captain William Porterfield and Andre Botha in his first spell to leave Ireland tottering at 17/3 in four overs. The score soon fell to 48/5, and reaching 100 appeared difficult.

All-rounder Andrew White, with a breezy 29, provided some respectability to the total, which improved to 112/8. Zaheer finished with 4/19, dismissing White as his fourth victim. India’s openers Gambhir and Rohit Sharma hardly broke a sweat in a partnership of 77, and despite some disciplined bowling from the Irish spinners, the result was never in doubt. Sharma remained unbeaten on 52, and hit the winning run that ensured an eight-wicket win in 15.3 overs.

World Cup, Group Stage, Bangalore, 2010-11

The Chinnaswamy Stadium had previously been the scene of two high-scoring games at the 2011 World Cup - India’s nerve-jangling tie with England, and more significantly, Ireland’s stunning chase of 328 against England, made possible by a memorable hundred from Kevin O’Brien. Thus, there was an added edge to this fixture, which pitted the hosts, one of the tournament favorites, against the giant killers, who were looking to net another major scalp on the big stage.

Zaheer (3/30) was in his element from the start, sending Paul Stirling and Ed Joyce back within the first three overs after Ireland were put in to bat. However, Porterfield led from the front, and found an ally in the dependable Niall O’Brien. Coming together at 9/2, the two southpaws rebuilt with a stand of 113, until O’Brien was run out for 46. This gave India the opening they needed, and Yuvraj Singh, with his innocuous left-arm spin, made short work of the batting to follow.

Yuvraj took a career-best 5/31, including the wicket of Porterfield for 75, as Ireland subsided to 207 in the 48th over. The 36-year-old Johnston troubled the Indian batsmen with his canny pace, getting rid of Virender Sehwag and Gambhir with only 24 on the board, before a knee injury forced him off. Ireland kept fighting with vital wickets, but Yuvraj did the star turn with the bat as well, compiling an unbeaten 50 to steer India home by five wickets with four overs remaining.

World Cup, Group Stage, Hamilton, 2014-15

With big wins over Pakistan and South Africa, defending champions India were in pole position to top their group at the 2015 World Cup in the Antipodes. The Irishmen had beaten higher-ranked West Indies and Zimbabwe to keep themselves alive for a quarterfinal berth, but India proved to be a different kettle of fish in their penultimate group game at Seddon Park. Porterfield called correctly at the toss, and along with fellow opener Stirling, raised hopes of a sizeable total.

Porterfield (67) and Stirling (42) dominated India’s fast bowlers in the course of an 89-run association in 15 overs, but the entry of spin stymied the flow of runs. Even then, at 206/3 in the 39th over, with Niall O’Brien (75) and Andrew Balbirnie looking settled, a total of 300 was possible. However, a mixture of rash batting and clever bowling, particularly by fast bowler Mohammed Shami (3/41) and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, duly brought about Ireland’s downfall.

Ireland lost their last seven wickets for 53 to get bowled out for 259 in 49 overs. They needed early wickets to stay in with a chance, but openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan did not give an inch, amassing a stand of 174 in less than 24 overs. Both batsmen were accounted for by the medium pace of Stuart Thompson, Sharma falling for 64 and Dhawan for an 85-ball 100, but the damage had been done. It took India only 36.5 overs to achieve a comfortable eight-wicket victory.


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Rustom Deboo is a cricket aficionado and freelance writer from Mumbai. He is an ardent devotee of T...

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