Deepak Hooda reached a first century in the masterclass as India survived a huge scare before beating Ireland by four runs in a nail-biting, high-scoring second T20 International to win Tuesday’s two-match series. Hooda scored 104 from 57 balls and became only the fourth Indian to hit a T20 International barrel, while Sanju Samson contributed 77 from 42 balls to take India to a massive 225 for seven after opting to hit.
Ireland gave chase to the last over with skipper Andy Balbirnie (60 out of 37), Paul Stirling (40 out of 18), Harry Tector (39 out of 28) and George Dockrell (34 out of 16) beaming but they came ended up falling short as rookie India pacer Umran Malik defended 17 runs in the final over.
Hooda chose to bat and showed he belonged to the big stage with his sparkling stroke play on both the fore and hindfoot.
While Hooda was elegant and comfortable on the forefoot, he was equally good on the hindfoot, sending the ball a couple of sixes over the midwicket line.
Hooda topped off his knock with nine fours and six hits over the fence.
He was ably supported by Sanju Samson, who opened the at bat in place of the injured Ruturaj Gaikwad, played second fiddle but grabbed his chance with both hands.
Both Hooda and Samson’s stroke play on the ground were a sight to behold.
Ireland got off to a heady start to their chase, with Stirling and Balbirnie sharing 72 runs for the opening wicket of just 34 balls. Stirling went hammer and tongs from around the world.
Stirling took Bhuvneshwar Kumar under his wing and hit the bowler for a six and three limits to take over 18 runs from the opening. Stirling then beat skipper Hardik Pandya for a six. The opening duo continued their attacking play, scoring Ireland’s 50 without a loss in just four overs.
Leg spinner Ravi Bishnoi broke the dangerous-looking opening lead of 72 points in the sixth and cleared Stirling.
In his next over, Bishnoi had Balbirnie stumped by Ishan Kishan, but it turned out to be a huge no-ball.
Balbirnie seized the opportunity and took all Indian bowlers to all parts of the ground to keep Ireland on par with the requested rate.
He was particularly strict on the young speed sensation Malik, sending the pacer’s short deliveries over the fence as Ireland made their 100 in nine overs for the loss of two wickets. Balbirnie took his sixth T20 International 50 off 34 balls and continued his charge for some time before being caught by Bishnoi at Harshal Patel.
But Tector, Dockrell and Mark Adair (23 off 12 balls) kept Ireland in the hunt until the last ball the hosts needed a six to win the game and tie the series. Adair could only make one point, however, as Malik lived up to his captain’s call.
Earlier, India didn’t have the best start as they lost Ishan Kishan (3) early. The left-handed opener lost another chance and sipped a Mark Adair delivery to Lorcan Tucker behind the stumps in the third over. Hooda and Samson teamed up and the duo struck effortlessly, albeit with two difficult chances, to share 176 runs from just 85 balls to lay the foundation for India’s huge tally. It was a one-way street after Kishan’s resignation when Hooda and Samson played with the Irish bowlers and wouldn’t let them settle down.
Except for a tricky chance that Paul Stirling dropped in extra time in the eighth, Hooda played a perfect knockout.
Samson also got a life in the ninth when leg spinner Gareth Delany dropped a tough catch. Samson also played some glorious strikes, especially on the hindfoot during his half-century knock. However, he was cleared by Adair in the 17th over.
Hooda spent his first T20I century of 55 balls with a single to join Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Suresh Raina in the elite club of just four Indian Centurions in the format.
Once Hooda left with the team score of 212, Surya Kumar Yadav (15) and skipper Hardik Pandya (13 not out) tried to speed up the score but failed as India lost three wickets and made just 14 runs in the last two overs.
(This story was not edited by DailyExpertNews staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)
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