India cruise to record-busting win after Rahul and Raina rampage

Ire v Ind, 2nd T20I, report

Hit For Six!

A stunning assault by India's top order secures the two-match series against Ireland.


Lokesh Rahul and Suresh Raina tuned up for the English leg of India's tour with a pair of brutally elegant half-centuries as the tourists secured their highest-ever T20I win at a sun-dappled Malahide ground in Dublin.

The bumper Irish crowd were treated to a sumptuous batting masterclass from India's in-form strokemakers. Rahul has emerged this year as one of the world's most prolific T20 batsmen, while Raina continues to adorn the format year upon year, and the two added 106 in 9.3 overs of controlled carnage. 

Rahul's 36-ball 70 featured six sixes and three fours and took him past 700 T20 runs for the calendar year, at a strike rate in excess of 150 and an average north of 50. Raina was marginally less destructive, but his 69, made from 45 balls, took him to his fiftieth half-century in the format. There are few more consistent batsmen in the T20 era than the Indian left-hander.  

T20 gun Lokesh Rahul was unstoppable once more
T20 gun Lokesh Rahul was unstoppable once more

If there was one dud note in India's showing it came with the early dismissal of Virat Kohli, who fell for his second single-figure score of this mini-series, miscuing a pull to deep square leg to give Peter Chase – who was again the pick of Ireland's seamers – another well-deserved scalp.

His brace of Kohli wickets – Chase removed the Indian skipper for a duck in the first match – will live long in the memory, while offering further evidence of his emergence as the best young seamer in Ireland.

Kevin O'Brien continued his dream summer by nipping in with three wickets, checking India's progress in the second half of their innings, but Hardik Pandya was unstoppable at the death, powering India to their second 200+ score of the series, striking four sixes from nine balls to finish unbeaten on 32.

India's target was always going to present a tough ask for Ireland's batsmen and when Paul Stirling went in the first over, well caught at first slip by Raina from a pumped-up Umesh Yadav, the innings subsided thereafter.

Siddarth Kaul was given his debut in the format and he was rewarded with the wicket of James Shannon, who was too late on an attempted pull shot and could only spoon it into the off-side.

Ireland's middle order were unable to halt the procession, and India's exceptional spin twins Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal shared six wickets between them as India applied the squeeze in the middle overs. 

Kohli expressed his delight at how his charges are shaping up. "All the guys have got a good hit. In the field as well, it has been great. I am having a headache right now who to pick. But it is a good problem to have for any side. The bench strength has shown in these games where we stand. It is a great phase for India cricket."

India move on to England in good spirits. They will face the No.1 ranked ODI side in world cricket in three T20Is and three ODIs before kicking off a mouthwatering five-Test series. The first T20I kicks off on Tuesday.

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