Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma shared a record 174-run opening stand to help India register an emphatic eight-wicket victory over Ireland in ICC World Cup 2015 Pool B match on Tuesday.
Umesh Yadav and Virat Kholi, celebrate the wicket of George Dockrell
Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane remained unbeaten on 44 and 33 respectively to take India to the victory target of 260 in just 36.5 overs.
The openers – Dhawan and Rohit bettered Sachin Tendulkar and Ajay Jadeja’s 163-run stand against Kenya in 1996 to set India’s highest opening stand in World Cups.
Rohit scored 64 and en route his half century the right-hander completed 4,000 runs in ODIs (132nd match). This was Rohit’s 25th ODI fifty.
Shikhar went on to score a hundred – his second in World Cup 2015. The right and left-handed combination of Rohit and Shikhar scored in quick time to pile up 174 runs in 23.2 overs. Also, the duo’s 174-run partnership is the highest at ICC World Cup 2015 so far, surpassing Moeen Ali and Ian Bell’s 172 against Scotland.
In the chase, Shikhar Dhawan had his share of troubles but was lucky to survive twice. Once John Mooney could not catch him off his own bowling and then Porterfield could not hold on to what could have been a stunning catch at the backward point.
From thereon though, Dhawan smashed the Ireland bowling attack across the field, without much trouble. Rohit Sharma, meanwhile, looked in fine touch as he cashed in on all the chances to score freely. India were 73 for no loss after the end of 10 overs.
Earlier, Niall O’Brien top-scored for the Irish, reaching 75, including three sixes, one of which was helped over the boundary rope by Mohammed Shami leaping high to try to take the catch.
India, captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, turned to his spinners, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Suresh Raina, who combined to frustrate the batsmen and made boundaries hard to come by.
Ireland captain William Porterfield opted to bat after winning the toss and set the early pace when he hooked Umesh Yadav for six over mid-wicket and followed up with a firm push through mid-off which beat the fielders to the boundary.
Paul Stirling lofted Shami for six on the leg-side in the next over and hit two off the back foot to the boundary.
The pair raced to fifty from 47 balls before Dhoni decided to introduce spin in the form of Jadeja and Ashwin who immediately put a brake on the scoring.
Porterfield was reduced to pushing the ball for singles and was finally caught for 67, skying the ball while trying to accelerate when paceman Mohit Sharma was reintroduced to the attack.
Niall O’Brien, swinging vigorously on the leg side and kept the scoreboard moving. But wickets fell regularly at the other end, including that of his brother, the dangerous Kevin O’Brien, who was caught behind for one from a thin edge off Shami.
Two wickets fell in one Shami over when Niall O’Brien was caught followed by that of Stuart Thompson who was run-out for two following a direct hit on the stumps at the bowler’s end by Virat Kohli.