Hardik Pandya tasted success in his maiden venture as Team India captain. The Men In Blue secured a 2-0 series win over Ireland courtesy of a slender four-run victory in the second T20I at The Village, Dublin. After a lukewarm debut, the spotlight was on Umran Malik as he was handed the task of defending 18 runs in the final over.
Chasing a record 226 at the venue, the Ireland openers got off to a sensational start. Racking up 72 runs in the powerplay, their pursuit slowed down once wickets began to tumble. A frenzied 20-ball 47-run partnership for the fifth wicket brought the contest back to life.
Ireland continued to exploit the short boundaries on offer and took the game to the last over. The right-arm fast bowler conceded 10 off the first three deliveries following a no-ball and a slew of boundaries. However, he kept his composure to get his areas right and got India to safety off the final delivery.
Explaining the thinking behind giving Umran Malik the final over of the innings, Hardik Pandya said during the post-match presentation:
“I was trying to keep all the pressure out of my equation. I wanted to be in the present and I backed Umran. He has pace, with his pace it’s always going to be tough to get 18 runs. They played some amazing shots, they batted very well, credit to them and credit to our bowlers for holding their nerves.”
India received a tremendous reception over the course of the short tour with a full house crowd on display at the top of their voices.
Noting that Dinesh Karthik and Sanju Samson were the crowd’s favorites, Pandya added:
“The crowd, their favourite boys were Dinesh and Sanju. Great experience to experience this side of the word. A lot of support comes for us, we try to entertain them and hope we did that. Thanks to everyone who supported us. As a child it’s always a dream to play for your country. Leading and getting first win was special, now winning the series is special as well. Happy for Deepak and Umran.”
Team India will next be seen competing against England in an all-format tour, beginning from July 1 onwards.
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