Dublin: India set themselves up nicely for the sterner tests ahead with a dominant performance as they outclassed Ireland by a whopping 76 runs in the opening T20 International, in Dublin on Wednesday.
Dubbed as dress rehearsal for the marquee England series, the formidable Indian team outbatted the opposition scoring an imposing 208 for five, courtesy openers Rohit Sharma (97 off 61 balls) and Shikhar Dhawan (74 off 45 balls).
In reply, Ireland could only manage 132/9 in 20 overs despite a breezy innings of 60 off 35 balls by opener James Shannon.
Irish batsmen didn't have a clue how to play chinaman Kuldeep Yadav (4/21 in 4 overs). His partner in crime Yuzvendra Chahal was hit for four sixes but eventually ended with improved figures of 3 for 38 in his four over spell.
As Kuldeep-Chahal ran through the top and middle-order, the rest of the batsmen were incapable of making a match of it. Such was their plight that save Shannon, none of the other home team batsman scored above 15.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (0/16 in 4 overs) and Jasprit Bumrah (2/19 in 4 overs) were as usual steady at the start and effective at the death.
However, a lot of credit should once again go to Rohit, who missed out on a well-deserved third T20 international century. The Indian vice-captain made amends for his poor IPL form with a breathtaking innings in company of an in-form Dhawan, who was also keen to send the bowlers in a leatherhunt.
The opening pair put on 160 in 16 overs to set the foundation. India lost three wickets in the final over, preventing them from scoring in excess of 225, which looked likely on a placid track. But the score was above par for an Ireland side, which rarely gets to play quality opposition.
Young right-arm medium pacer Peter Chase finished with career-best figures of 4 for 35 with a memorable 20th over in which he accounted for Mahendra Singh Dhoni (11), Rohit and skipper Virat Kohli (0).
Rohit went for a wild slog and was bowled thereby missing out his hundred by a whisker. His innings had eight fours and five sixes while Dhawan five boundaries and an equal number of maximums.
India reached 50 in the fifth over. When the team total reached 61, Rohit-Dhawan completed 1000-run in the form of their partnership in T20 Internationals.
India's 100 came up in the 11th over and neither batsman had offered a chance to the bowlers till then. Dhawan reached his seventh T20 half-century off 27 balls, while Rohit's 15th T20 half-century came off 39 balls.
Such was their dominance on the Irish bowling that there were only a couple mishits until then.
Ireland did have their opportunities. There were a couple of miscommunications while running between the wickets and Ireland even managed a direct hit but didn't get a favourable decision.
Stuart Thompson had a nightmarish time on the field. First, he dropped Rohit at long off in the 15th over off George Dockrell (0-40) and then let go another one at long on in the next over off Kevin O'Brien (1-36). Finally, he managed to latch onto a chance off Dhawan in that same over.