Fresh from a 76-run win in the opening match, India will look to ring in a few changes as they attempt to finish off their assignments in Ireland on a winning note during the second and final T20 International here on Friday.
India were runaway winners in Wednesday’s opening T20I, scoring 208/5 in their 20 overs, with Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan contributing 97 and 74 runs, respectively before wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal shared seven wickets between them to restrict Ireland to 132/9.
It indicated that India’s first-choice eleven was functioning properly after a break of three months, and tuning itself for the England tour.
The big question is of bench strength and chances for the likes of Lokesh Rahul, Dinesh Karthik and Umesh Yadav.
Going into the second match, Kohli had hinted at making a few changes in the middle order to give everyone game-time so they could acclimatise to the conditions.
India will have an advantage from the fact that the pitch for the second T20I is expected to play much in the same fashion as on Wednesday.
Kohli’s mantra of giving chances to those sitting on the bench could be extended to the bowling line-up as well, where both Umesh Yadav and Siddarth Kaul are raring to go and longing for game time.
Leaving out all-rounder Hardik Pandya for three full-time pacers and two spinners still gives Kohli five bowling options, enabling him to leave out Suresh Raina and Manish Pandey and bring in both Rahul and Karthik.
On the other hand, Ireland will need to work on their batting, which fell like nine pins to India’s wrist spin twins — Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav.
Barring opener James Shannon’s 60 off 35 balls, none of the Irish batsmen could apply themselves and all they could afford was the dull sweep shot against the Indian spinners.
While an upset looks improbable, Ireland are more than capable of springing a surprise or two on home soil.
India: Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul, Manish Pandey, Suresh Raina, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni (WK), Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Siddarth Kaul.
Ireland: Gary Wilson (Captain & WK), Andrew Balbirnie, Peter Chase, George Dockrell, Josh Little, Andy McBrine, Kevin O’Brien, William Porterfield, Stuart Poynter, Boyd Rankin, James Shannon, Simi Singh, Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson.