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Hooda stars with century as India hold their nerve in last-over thriller against Ireland

 Dublin, June 29, (Fast Mail News):-- The game went into the last over, though India managed to hold on to wrap up the T20I series against Ireland 2-0.

 

Beginner's luck went Hardik Pandya's way for the second time in a row as he won the toss and opted to bat first in the second T20I.

 

India made three changes to their winning combination – Sanju Samson, Harshal Patel and Ravi Bishnoi replaced the injured Ruturaj Gaikwad, Avesh Khan and Yuzvendra Chahal respectively. Ireland, on the other hand, remained unchanged.

 

Samson slotted right at the top for Gaikwad and made his intention clear by smashing a four off the very first ball of the innings. Ishan Kishan, though, couldn't get going and was caught behind off Mark Adair in the third over.

 

Deepak Hooda, India's top run-scorer in the previous game, plundered a six off in the very first over at the crease, and that set the tone for the marathon partnership between him and Samson.

 

The pair made full use of the rest of the Powerplay, with the last three overs fetching 33 runs.

 

After a quiet over from Gareth Delany, the carnage continued as Samson and Hooda made full use of the short boundaries in Malahide. Hooda welcomed Andy McBrine to the attack with two sixes and got to his maiden T20I fifty on the stroke of the halfway mark of the innings.

 

Samson and Hooda picked up pace after that, with the next five overs costing Ireland 80 runs. Samson too in the process moved to his first T20I half-century while Hooda smashed his way into the nineties.

 

The pair surpassed the highest partnership in T20Is for India in the 16th over but the 176-run stand soon came to an end when Adair yorked Samson for 77.

 

 From 189/1, India lost their way towards the end. Though boundaries kept flowing off the bat, Ireland kept chipping away to ensure that the visitors do not finish strong.

 

Deepak Hooda got to his century but was out the same over. Josh Little got Suryakumar Yadav too after a 5-ball 15. Craig Young got two consecutive wickets, dismissing both Dinesh Karthik and Axar Patel for a duck.

 

Adair scalped Harshal Patel for nought in the final over for the third duck of India's innings as the visitors finished with 225/7.

 

Chasing a mammoth total of 226, Ireland needed a brisk start and Paul Stirling delivered just that. The veteran batter plundered Bhuvneshwar Kumar for 18 runs and went on to punish the rest of the India bowlers in the Powerplay.

 

Hardik introduced spin in the final over of the Powerplay and the decision paid off immediately, with Ravi Bishnoi dismissing Stirling for 40. Gareth Delany departed for a duck, courtesy of a brilliant direct hit from Hardik.

 

Skipper Balbirnie ensured that the two wickets didn't derail the chase as he kept taking the attack to the India bowlers en route to his fifty. He smashed Harshal for a four and a six but holed out in the deep the very next ball.

 

After a quiet over from Axar Patel, Harry Tector and George Dockrell went all guns blazing and took the game deep.

 

With the equation down to 38 off 18, Tector holed out in the deep at a crucial juncture. Having done his job with the ball, Adair turned the game around with the bat with a six and a four off the penultimate over.

 

 

Playing just his second international game, Umran Malik was trusted to bowl the final over. He started with two dots but the second ball was ruled a no-ball, which was followed by two boundaries by from Adair.

 

Thankfully for India, Umran finished well and successfully defended eight runs off the last three balls. Needing six off the last ball, Adair failed to hit a maximum as India won the match by four runs and wrapped up the series 2-0.

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