Given the form that India are in, they were always expected to get the better of Ireland with ease at Hamilton. The margin of victory, eight wickets, is a clear pointer to the fact that they established what was predicted with ease. However, while Ireland shouldn't be upset about the defeat, they should certainly be disappointed with a couple of aspects of their game. Batting first, they got off to a wonderful start courtesy their openers, and the middle order too shone. There was a point when it seemed that they would cross 300 with ease. However, they faltered in the last few overs to lose the advantage. Also, while fielding, they dropped Shikhar Dhawan twice early, and the Indian opener made them pay.
Knowing very well that they are extremely weak in the bowling department, it was imperative for Ireland to get as big a score on the board as possible batting first. This is why they would rue to fact that none of their batsmen carried on after getting starts. William Porterfield and Niall O'Brien batted with purpose for their half-centuries, and Paul Stirling also came up with a good supporting act. But, what Ireland needed was for one of them to convert the score into a big hundred. That did not happen, and the runs that Ireland failed to score towards the end of the innings cost them in a big way.
Owing to Ireland's batting collapse towards the end, they did not have a big total to defend. But, it was a workable one if the bowlers could display some fire. Sadly, Ireland do not have too much talent in the bowling department, and their lack of skills were evident in abundance again, against India. The only way they could have run India close was if they had 330 plus on the board. That did not happen, and after that it seemed like a lost cause for Ireland. Alex Cusack bowled well against Zimbabwe, but against a superior Indian batting line up, he could not keep his line and length in tact. Stuart Thompson claimed a couple of scalps, but he was expensive as well. As a bowling outfit, Ireland were found out again.
Although most things went India's way, they would be pleased that their in-form pacers were tested early on. Porterfield and Stirling took the attack to the Indian camp, and for the first 15 overs, the trio of Umesh Yadav, Mohammad Shami and Mohit Sharma had no answer to the opening duo's assault. It was a good workout for the Indian bowlers, and a stern lesson that they still have some areas to work on in the bowling department. Shami came back credibly well even as Yadav and Sharma finished with unflattering figures. It was spin that caused real trouble for Ireland as Ravichandran Ashwin, with help from Suresh Raina, strangled them.
The positives continued for India in the batting department. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan batted with ease, and their massive partnership took India more than halfway. Sharma again looked good, but did not convert his fifty into a big score. This should perhaps be their only disappointment in the batting department. Dhawan returned among the runs after a couple of failures, and his form at the top is making a big difference to India's fortunes. He was reprived twice early on, but displayed the hunger to make it count. Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane also took the opportunity to spend some time at the crease. All in all, another fruitful outing for Team India.
--By A Cricket Analyst