Despite a brilliant start, Ireland were befuddled by the spinners as some clever tactics from captain Mahendra SinghDhoni helped India bowl out the Associate team for 259 in a World Cup Pool B match at Seddon Park here on Tuesday.
It was a mixed sort of innings from Ireland who got off to a blazing start via openers William Porterfield (67) and Paul Stirling (42). However, they stuttered against the spinners and from what seemed as a 300 plus total at one point, Ireland collapsed to being all out in the 49th over.
This is the first time ever that India have bowled out their opposition in five consecutive One-Day Internationals (ODI).
Electing to bat, captain Porterfield and Stirling looked in good touch as they hammered the Indian pacers all over the small ground. The confident start from Ireland made Dhoni bring in third pacer Mohit Sharma (1/38) in only the fifth over.
Despite the change, Ireland still scored quite easily off the pacers, who looked impeccable in the previous four matches of the tournament. However, the Irish duo seemed to handle the pace very well.
Dhoni, understanding this, brought in spinners Ravindra Jadeja (1/45) and Ravichandran Ashwin (2/38) in the ninth over onwards. The change took some time but finally yielded success in the 15th over, bringing an end to the opening-wicket partnership of 89.
Realising that the minnows were struggling against the slower bowlers, Dhoni brought in part-time off spinner Suresh Raina (1/40) and it immediately yielded success. Just three runs later after the fall of the first wicket, Ed Joyce, who scored a sensational century against Zimbabwe in their last match, was bowled by Raina.
Seeing the ball turn and the Irish struggle against the spinners, the Indian skipper kept Ashwin and Raina bowling in tandem and the duo slowed down the run rate, which was run-a-ball till the 15th over.
The quality of the Ireland batting order showed when Niall O’Brien (75) struck two important partnerships. First Porterfield and Niall struck a 53-run stand before Mohit broke the partnership. Next up, Niall and Andy Balbirnie (24) scored 61 for the fourth wicket to take Ireland past the 200-run mark.
Batting at 206/3 in the 39th over, Ireland looked set for a 300-plus score. But Ashwin once again came to the rescue as he broke the partnership in his 10th over which proved to be the catalyst in Ireland’s collapse.
From 206/3, India clinched six quick wickets to make Ireland totter at 238/9 before the last pair added 21.
Ashwin and Raina’s three wickets together in 20 overs for 78 runs and Dhoni’s acumen proved to be the difference. Shami also pitched in with 3/41 from his nine overs.