India rode on brilliant half centuries from seasoned openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan to post a commanding 208/5 against Ireland in the first of the two-match T20I series here on Wednesday.
Put in to bat, India were off to a blast with Rohit (97 off 61 balls; 4×8, 6×5) and Shikhar (74 off 45 balls; 4×5, 6×5) forging the second highest opening stand of 160 runs before paceman Peter Chase applied the brakes with three wickets in the final over.
After seeing off the first over which yielded just a single, the Indian openers started the onslaught with Dhawan welcoming medium pacer Stuart Thompson with a boundary and a six.
The southpaw meted out similar treatment to Kevin O’ Brien’s medium pace and went on to bring up his fifty off mere 27 balls with a thunderous six off left-arm spinner George Dockrell.
Rohit, who till now was playing the perfect second fiddle, caught up with his partner with some exquisitely-timed boundaries and a couple of sixes to get to his fifty off 39 balls, and help India reach the three-figure mark.
The hapless Irish attack drastically failed to control the onslaught from the ruthless Indian openers as the score swelled to 150 runs by the 16th over.
Ireland had themselves to blame as Thompson dropped Rohit twice before finally managing to latch on to one to pack back Dhawan off Kevin.
Dhawan’s departure brought in Suresh Raina (10), who started with a boundary before a short pitched delivery from Kevin brought his downfall.
Joined by former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (11), Rohit continued his onslaught to near his third T20I century but Chase had other plans in the final over of the innings.
After giving a single off the first ball, the medium pacer packed Dhoni back on the second delivery before sending back Rohit with a slower one.
One ball later, Chase dismissed skipper Virat Kohli for a rare duck before Hardik Pandya (6 not out) ended the innings with a six.
Brief Scores: India 208/5 (Rohit Sharma 97, Shikhar Dhawan 74; Peter Chase 4/35) vs Ireland.