Belfast : Unbeaten half centuries from Gautam Gambhir and Sourav Ganguly helped India register a facile nine-wicket victory over Ireland in a rain-curtailed one-off one-day international match at the Civil Service Cricket Club here Saturday.
Chasing a target of 171 in 39 over set by the Irish team, Gambhir made an unbeaten 80 while Ganguly scored 75 not out as India reached 172 runs for one wicket in 35 overs after more that two and half hours of the play were lost due to rain. Put into bat first Ireland made 193 but the target for India was revised to 171, according to the Duckworth-Lewis method.
Though Ireland kept on losing wickets at regular intervals but a determined 52 by wicketkeeper-batsman Niall O’Brien helped the team to manage a respectable score after half the side fell with just 83 on the board at one point.
India’s decision to field first wasn’t the least bit surprising, considering the leaden skies that greeted Rahul Dravid when he walked out to toss. India were to soon go into the game without their most experienced bowler, Zaheer Khan, as well as their newly-appointed vice-captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, but Dravid didn’t hesitate at the toss, neither did the new-ball bowlers hesitate to pitch it up soon after.
Overcast skies over the Civil Service Cricket Club provided the Indian seamers the ideal setting but it was the 18-year-old leg spinner, Piyush Chawla, who had the richest haul of three wickets for just 29 runs in his full quota of 10 overs.
While chasing, Sachin Tendulkar lasted just three deliveries but lefthanders Gambhir and former skipper Ganguly put India firmly on track for a comfortable win.
India will now take on South Africa in a three-match one-day series here starting Tuesday and then will play a one-off one-day match against Pakistan July 3. The focus will then shift to England where India will take on the hosts in a three-match Test series and seven one-dayers starting July 19.
India vs. Ireland, ODI match, Civil Service Cricket Club, Stormont, Belfast, June 23
William Porterfield b Agarkar 16
Kenneth Carroll c Karthik b Sreesanth 7
Dominic Joyce c Ganguly b Sreesanth 18
Niall O’Brien c Sharma b Singh 52
Gary Wilson b Chawla 13
Kevin O’Brien c Singh b Chawla 3
Andrew White c Karthik b Chawla 8
Trent Johnston c Yuvraj b Sreesanth 34
Kyle McCallan b Rudra Pratap 4
Thinus Fourie not out 4
Roger Whelan st Karthik b Tendulkar 5
Extras: (lb 12, w 16, nb 1) 29
Total: (all out in 50 overs) 193
Fall of wickets: 1-14 (Carroll, 4.1 overs), 2-47 (Joyce, 13.5), 3-56 (Porterfield, 16.2), 4-75 (Wilson, 24.1), 5-83 (Kevin, 26.3), 6-111 (White, 34.3), 7-159 (Niall, 44.4), 8-168 (McCallan, 46.4), 9-187 (Johnston, 48.6)
Sreesanth 10-0-50-3 (3w)
Rudra Pratap Singh 10-2-36-2 (7w)
Ajit Agarkar 10-2-27-1 (3w)
Sourav Ganguly 6-1-15-0 (1nb, 1w)
Piyush Chawla 10-2-29-3 (1w)
Sachin Tendulkar 4-0-24-1 (1w)
Sourav Ganguly not out 74
Sachin Tendulkar b Whelan 4
Gautam Gambhir not out 80
Extras: (lb 7, w 7) 14
Total: (for one wicket in 35 overs) 172
Fall of wickets: 1-9 (Tendulkar, 0.6 over)
Roger Whelan 8-0-56-1 (3w)
Thinus Fourie 7-0-22-0 (1w)
Kevin O’Brien 4-0-25-0
Trent Johnston 7 0 25 0 3.57 (1w)
Kyle McCallan 8-0-32-0 (2w)
Andrew White 1-0-5-0
Result: India won by nine wickets (Duckworth-Lewis method)
Man of the Match: Gautam Gambhir (India)
Umpires: Mark Benson (England) and Billy Bowden (New Zealand)
TV umpire: Aleem Dar (Pakistan)
Match referee: Alan Hurst (Australia)