Indian cricketers laughing during a sunny match day. Indian cricketers laughing during a sunny match day.

Mighty India set to kick off their campaign against tricky Ireland

Rohit Sharma will be leading the Indian side in yet another World Cup and their first assignment will be against Ireland in New York. India arrive at this edition of the World Cup hoping to finally win their first ICC trophy in over 10 years. They missed out on the opportunity in 2023 at the ODI mega event as after a streak of 10 wins, Australia managed to beat them in the final. 

The men in blue haven’t lived up to their potential in the last two editions of the T20 World Cup with an exit from the Super 12s stage in 2021 and an embarrassing defeat at the hands of England in the Semi Final in 2022. India, as always, will rely on their star batters, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and Suryakumar Yadav to deliver, who also are expected to be Nos. 1, 2 and 3.

On the other hand, Ireland will be hoping for their frontline seamer Josh Little to turn up on the big occasion, and if he can trouble Indian openers early on the innings, who happen to have a history of being vulnerable against left-arm pacers, the job would be half done in no time. 

India would be the happier side looking at the conditions that we have witnessed in these early days of the tournament. The slowness and unpredictability of the pitch at the Nassau Stadium will allow Jasprit Bumrah to showcase his brilliance while Kuldeep Yadav will also enjoy bowling with his immaculate air speed. A lot will depend on the renowned Irish batters Paul Stirling, Harry Tector, and Curtis Campher. Discipline more than strength in approach seems to be the way forward at this T20 World Cup.

Wicketkeeper batter Rishabh Pant will be returning in the Indian colors after a long break due to injuries he suffered after a freak road accident less than two years ago. All eyes will be on him and his flamboyance with the bat. 

The player to watch out for in this Ireland side will most certainly be Harry Tector, who has his highest T20I score against India, a powerful 64 off 33 balls, although against a second-string Indian bowling attack. The middle-order batter with his power and temperament has what it takes to deliver at the big occasion, and this might just be the perfect stage for him.

Virat Kohli is expected to open for India alongside Rohit Sharma with Suryakumar Yadav likely to be slotted at number 3. Yashavi Jaiswal is likely to miss out on making it to the playing XI as Shivam Dube might be preferred in the middle order accompanied by Pant, Hardik Pandya, and Ravindra Jadeja.

Ireland have the depth to their batting with a good mixture of power hitters and consolidators. Andy Balbirnie is likely to open the batting with his captain Stirling with Lorcan Tucker expected to come one down. The middle order might comprise Tector, Campher, George Dockrell, and Gareth Delany. 

The overhead conditions in New York have been perfect for cricket, with the weather not too hot or cool, and no worry about the dew either. However, the playing surface will be once again under scrutiny after the match on Monday where South Africa bowled out Sri Lanka for just 80 runs but found it tough to chase it down and were able to complete it in 16.2 overs.