India claims first T20I despite Harry Tector heroics with the bat

June 26th 2022 by Wisden | International

India claims first T20I despite Harry Tector heroics with the bat

Harry Tector hit 64*

DUBLIN - A blistering Harry Tector half-century helped Ireland recover in the first LevelUp11 T20I but India’s power-packed batting line-up ensured a comprehensive win for the tourists in a game reduced to 12 overs a side.

After a lengthy, frustrating rain delay, during which the announcement of a start time was imminent on several occasions before the inclement weather returned, India made the new ball talk, having won the toss and elected to bowl.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar opened up and struck almost immediately, bowling Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie with a beauty fifth ball, a back-of-a-length delivery decking in sharply to clip the top of off-stump. Paul Stirling signalled Ireland’s intent in the shortened contest, hitting the first legal delivery of Hardik Pandya’s over to the fence, but perished straight after, slicing the India captain to mid-off. Gareth Delany also fell within the four-over powerplay, nicking behind off Avesh Khan, and as the fielding restrictions lifted Ireland were 22-3 and in need of a rescue act.

They got one from Tector, fresh off hitting a half-century in his previous T20I innings against UAE, and determined to make his fine form count. He got going against the left-arm spin of Axar Patel, driving the twirler through and then over the off-side ring field, and showed he could handle high pace too when Umran Maik was introduced.

The India speedster, on debut, clocked speeds in excess of 97mph in the 2022 Indian Premier League, and his first delivery at the top level was clocked at 92mph. But Tector was more than up to the challenge, driving through the on-side for four and then hooking imperiously for six.

Tector found an able partner in Lorcan Tucker, content to play the supporting hand at first before smashing Pandya for two consecutive sixes. The partnership was broken a ball after it had reached 50, Tucker slog-sweeping Yuzvendra Chahal to the fielder in the deep, but there was no stopping Tector. Bhuvneshwar, nigh-on unplayable earlier in the piece, was scythed through point for four before being driven high and handsome over extra cover for six. Chahal was watchfully played out in the penultimate over before Tector teed off once more, audaciously reverse-scooping Avesh for four before unfurling another glorious shot over the covers for six.

He walked off with 64 off 33 balls having dragged Ireland to a fighting total of 108-4, but India’s powerful batting line-up won out.

Deepak Hooda received an unexpected promotion to open the batting, but it was Ishan Kishan who did the early damage, smashing 14 runs off three Josh Little balls in the opening over. And while Mark Adair’s first over was a tight one, costing just five, Kishan would soon be onto the attack once more, taking 10 runs from Craig Young’s first two deliveries.

The right-arm seamer struck back, locating some inswing to beat Kishan’s expansive stroke and dismantle the stumps before removing Suryakumar Yadav lbw first ball. There was to be no hat-trick, but Young’s double strike had brought Ireland back into the contest.

The runs continued to flow however. Pandya hit a Young free-hit over mid-on to open his account, while Hooda, kept quiet to start with, got going with two boundaries off two consecutive legal Adair deliveries.

Out of the powerplay, Young snuck through a tight over, but Pandya signposted India were ratcheting up the gears when the spin of Andy McBrine was introduced, smashing the first and last balls of the sixth over for six. Hooda added a maximum of his own inbetween, and deposited Conor Olphert’s first ball, on Ireland debut, for six as well. That seven-ball, four-six stretch brought the required run rate down from nearly nine an over to a run a ball, with India in the box seat.

Olphert recovered well, conceding three runs from the remainder of his maiden international over, but the respite was only momentary, Hooda hitting consecutive boundaries off Little and Pandya slapping another six straight down the ground, before being given lbw one ball later.

Olphert continued to impress, extracting some extra bounce to hurry India’s batters, but the game was already over as a contest, and three consecutive fours saw Pandya’s side home with a flourish.

The second and final T20I in the series will take place on Tuesday, 28 June, at the same venue.

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