Andrew Balbirnie
Andrew Balbirnie. Image-Sky Sports.

Even though the India T20I team in Ireland was without several of their first-choice players, the Hardik Pandya-led team served as a timely reminder to their hosts that even second-string tourists can be difficult to manage.

India cruised to a seven-wicket victory in the opening T20I at Malahide despite Ireland setting a respectable target because of the rain. 

Hardik Pandya and Andrew Balbirnie, India vs Ireland, IRE vs IND
Hardik Pandya and Andrew Balbirnie (Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Andrew Balbirnie Admits His Team Would Need To Be At The Top Of Their Game

And Ireland skipper Andrew Balbirnie acknowledged that his team would need to perform at the top of their game if they were to have any chance of wrapping off the two-match series evenly. 

“We were good and we were bad. Against a team like India you have to be good,” Balbirnie said during the post-match presentation. 

Ireland team
Ireland team (Credits: Getty)

Multiple weather delays caused the game’s start to be delayed. The game was changed to 12-overs-a-side when the circumstances were finally favorable. At The Village in Dublin, where they were given the opportunity to bat first, Harry Tector hammered a quickfire half-century as Ireland produced 108/4. 

“Never easy when you come to the ground, do your full warmup and it’s delayed. Credit to the groundsmen,” Balbirnie said. 

“Tector batted outstandingly well to get up to the total, been in great form in ODI cricket and he carried that today,” he added. 

India Wins First T20I Comfortably

India team, IRE vs IND
India team (Credits: Getty)

India, however, had little issue surpassing the total. Ishan Kishan and Deepak Hooda started the innings together, adding 30 runs before being separated. 

Ishan was removed for an 11-ball 26 while Hooda scored an unbroken 47 off of 29. Suryakumar Yadav, who was making his competitive cricket comeback after a layoff due to injury, was nonetheless removed for a first-ball duck.  

Visitors concluded with 111/3 in 9.2 overs, taking a 1-0 lead with to captain Pandya’s 24 off 12. Yuzvendra Chahal, a legspinner, was selected as the game’s player of the match for his bowling statistics of 1/11 from three overs. 

On Tuesday, the same location will host the second game of the series. 

Also Read: IRE vs IND: Hardik Pandya Becomes First Indian Captain To Pick A Wicket In T20 Internationals