India thrashed an industrious but limited Ireland attack to claim an untroubled eight-wicket victory at Seddon Park on Tuesday at the ICC Cricket World Cup. The Irish won the toss and William Porterfield opted to bat first. Porterfield and Paul Stirling’s opening partnership got their side off to an excellent start.
The pair scored the best partnership of 89 for the Emerald Island against the defending champions, but therafter Ravichandran Ashwin removed Stirling for 42. New batsman, Ed Joyce followed as he was bowled by off-spinner Suresh Raina for 2. With pressure resting on Porterfield and Niall O’Brien, the captain led from the front as he scored his half-century in the 24th over.
Porterfield was looking to go big, but was dismissed by Mohit Sharma. O’Brien mounted another attack in the Powerplay, and the Indians were tested again by the 61-run stand between him and Andrew Balbirnie. Ashwin swung the balance back his side’s way when he removed Balbirnie for 24.
O’Brien scored 75 making him the only man outside the openers to score big, thereafter the Irish lost several wickets in quick session and were bowled out for 259. The 2011 World Cup winners started brilliantly in their run chase, passing the 50 mark in just 9 overs. The opening stand of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan reached 100 runs in the 15th over, making it their sixth century opening stand at World Cups.
Dhawan, in magnificient form, scored a quick succession boundries. The pair surpassed India’s previous record, scoring the best opening stand of 172 runs. The superb partnership was broken when Sharma was dismissed for 64 by Stuart Thompson.
Dhawan was dropped twice and this proved to be costly as he went on to score a century, but departed when he was caught for 100 runs by Porterfield. Virat Kohli’s 44 and Ajinkya Rahane’s 33, both not out, took their team to victory with 13.1 overs to spare.