Jasprit Bumrah back with a bang for India against plucky Ireland

Visitors eke out two-run win in rain-affected opening match of T20 series

Jasprit Bumrah picked up two wickets on his return to the Indian team. Getty
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Fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah made a promising return to the Indian team after being sidelined for almost a year as he picked up two wickets in a two-run win over Ireland in the first T20 in Malahide that was cut short due to rain.

India raced to 45 without loss in six overs in pursuit of a target of 140 and, even though Craig Young then took two wickets in two balls, they were still narrowly ahead on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method when a lengthy shower prevented any further play on Friday.

Bumrah, 29, was returning from back surgery and captaining India in the three-match series in the absence of Rohit Sharma. He led from the front by dismissing Andy Balbirnie and Lorcan Tucker in the opening over.

Balbirnie got a thin inside edge into his stumps while Tucker's attempted ramp merely lobbed to wicketkeeper Sanju Samson. Bumrah finished with encouraging figures of 2-24 from his four overs.

Ireland stumbled to 59-6 after losing the toss, with returning pace bowler Prasidh Krishna and Ravi Bishnoi also taking two wickets.

Barry McCarthy's aggressive 51 not out from just 33 balls helped take Ireland to 139-7, with the number eight hitting four fours and as many sixes.

Ireland would have sensed an opportunity when India lost Yashasvi Jaiswal and Tilak Varma off successive balls before rain stopped play.

India, meanwhile, would not be too confident ahead of the second T20 against Ireland at the same venue on Sunday. The Ireland squad has a number of T20 veterans while the visitors are largely inexperienced on the international stage.

Also, the conditions in Ireland will keep seam bowlers interested throughout, which will be a challenge for the Indians. Irish pacers Josh Little, Young and others kept Indian batsmen on their toes and looked as threatening as their more celebrated counterparts.

The Indians recently lost a five-match T20 series against the West Indies and any slipups against the Irish will send them into panic mode ahead of the T20 World Cup next year in the Caribbean.

Updated: August 19, 2023, 11:56 AM