Andy Balbirnie, Ireland’s skipper was proud of the effort from his players in the 2nd T20I but said that the narrow margin of defeat was a “bitter pill to swallow”.
After a record 176-run stand between Deepak Hooda and Sanju Samson – the highest for any wicket for India in T20Is – propelled their side to 225, Ireland gave them an almighty scare, dragging the second T20I down to the last ball. Mark Adair, however, didn’t connect well enough and managed just a single, as Ireland fell five short of a famous victory in Malahide.
Andy Balbirnie: The Loss Certainly A Bitter Pill To Swallow
A spirited Ireland fought till the last ball in a massive 226 chase but their stupendous effort went in vain as India registered a narrow 4-run win in the second T20I in Dublin. With the victory, India clinched the 2-match series 2-0.
“Yeah, we’re all [feeling] pretty good,” Andy Balbirnie said at the post-match presentation. “It’s not every day you get that close against a team like India. We did a lot of good stuff with the bat. We said at the halfway stage there’s just one way we’re going to chase: go out and be expressive.”
Paul Stirling, Andy Balbirnie, George Dockrell, and Mark Adair kept Ireland in the game before Umran Malik closed it out for the visitors.
“I think we did that but we’re bitterly disappointed when you come so close. It was a great game of cricket for everyone here. The crowd has been amazing [in] the last two games, but it’s certainly a bitter pill to swallow now.”
In the opening T20I – a rain-hit 12-over shootout – Ireland fell behind in the powerplay, with both bat and ball. On Tuesday in the 2nd T20I, the message from Andy Balbirnie was to go hard with the bat in the early exchanges.
Paul Stirling launched an audacious assault against Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the first over of the chase, cracking him for 18 runs including 3 fours and 1 six.
Andy Balbirnie, becalmed until the third over, got into the act himself when he flicked and swatted Bhuvneshwar Kumar for a four and six. Although opener Paul Stirling was bowled by a signature wrong ‘un by Ravi Bishnoi in the last over of the powerplay, Ireland racked up 73 – their third-highest powerplay score in T20Is. Such a start freed up the middle order even further.
“Certainly make use of the powerplay,” Andy Balbirnie said.
“That’s a bit of a no-brainer. I thought Paul did that brilliantly.”“He went after Bhuvi in the first over and set the tone. I obviously took a bit more time to get going and eventually did. The opening partnership set the tone for the rest of the guys to come in and express themselves. I think they did that pretty well all the way down.”
Harry Tector followed up his unbeaten 64 off 33 balls in the first T20I with 39 off 28 balls in the second. George Dockrell, who has remodelled himself into a batter, and Mark Adair also played their shots as Ireland shellacked 14 sixes – the most by them in a T20I inning.
“I think at the moment it [the feeling] is a disappointment, but at the same time we’ve gone toe-to-toe with a really good team [India],” Andy Balbirnie said.“We’ve put up a very good score, which on any other day will be a potentially winning score, but we have to take that confidence,” he added.
“We play New Zealand next week in ODIs and T20s, and we have an exciting summer. We can’t let this be a flash in the pan. We have to make sure we keep improving, going out with the same mindset in T20 cricket.”
Andy Balbirnie said that this is the batting template he wants the team to emulate during their home summer, which also includes visits by three other Full Members – New Zealand, South Africa, and Afghanistan – in the lead-up to the 2022 T20I World Cup, which starts in October.
Harshal Patel: India Held Nerves To Finish The Game
India seamer Harshal Patel, who was among the bowlers targeted, conceded that Ireland’s attack caught the visitors by surprise.
“But they came pretty close, played some really good shots. The wicket was an absolute belter, and the outfield was fast. But that’s what we pride ourselves on; we held our nerve and finished the game.”
“They played some exceptional shots, and we were sort of surprised by the way they batted today. There’s no doubt about the quality of the Irish batters, and that was on show today.”
Ireland will face New Zealand in the first of three ODIs at the same venue on July 10. It will be a reunion of sorts for Ireland coach Heinrich Malan, who was part of New Zealand and Auckland Aces’ support staff before taking up the Ireland job.
India 225 for 7 (Hooda 104, Samson 77, Adair 3-42) beat Ireland 221 for 5 (Balbirnie 60, Stirling 40, Tector 39, Dockrell 34*, Bishnoi 1-41) by four runs