Written by Staff Writer
10 Mar, 2015 | 1:32 pm
India confirmed the top spot in their group, took their winning streak in World Cup matches to nine, their longest and now only behind the great Australian run between 1999 and 2011, and also maintained their record of bowling oppositions out in this World Cup, claiming their 50th wicket in five matches in the 50th over of Ireland’s innings.
Ireland scored the highest score against India in this World Cup, William Porterfield and Paul Stirling registered the best partnership 89 against them, Niall O’Brien came within one run of the best individual score against their unbeaten opponents, but India’s excellent offspin bowling and aggressive captaincy restricted them to 259, well below par on a flat pitch, small Seddon Park boundaries and given Ireland’s weak bowling. Shikhar Dhawan, with his second hundred this World Cup, and Rohit Sharma knocked the runs off with ease.
Porterfield and Stirling attacked the Indian quicks with gusto, reaching 57 in nine overs before R Ashwin dragged them back. A period of quick overs and slow runs followed, and when Niall O’Brien began to pull Ireland back out, Ashwin came back to start another slide. Ireland went from 206 for 3 to their eventual middling total. This was the first time any batting side tested India. Unlike, say South Africa, India refused to go on the defensive. Ravindra Jadeja didn’t have a great day, but Suresh Raina filled in superbly. Between Ashwin and Raina bowled 20 overs for 78 runs. That’s where the match turned.
To turn this chase into a contest, Ireland needed early wickets. Dhawan provided them two opportunities, but John Mooney and Porterfield dropped him on five and 10. Now Dhawan has a sensational record when he is dropped. Even against South Africa he was dropped by Hashim Amla. At 174 he and Rohit he put together India’s biggest opening stand in World Cups, and their partnership aggregate soared to 1760 runs, the fourth-highest for India.
Dhawan moved to No. 2 on the runs list this World Cup, second behind Kumar Sangakkara. Once he reached the fifty Dhawan accelerated even as Rohit fell to a somewhat lazy dab, playing Stuart Thompson on. Dhawan went from 50 off 54 to 96 off 74 before bringing up the hundred with the 84th ball he faced and getting out to the 85th. However, India needed only 70 at that time, and got them without drama.
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