by Rex Clementine

India were clinical in their opening encounter of the T-20 World Cup in New York cruising past Ireland with an eight wicket win with more than seven overs to spare. It’s a good warm-up for one of the pre-tournament favorites before the epic clash against arch-rivals Pakistan later this week.

As for Ireland, they did not have the strength to test one of the strongest sides in the competition. Nevertheless, the experience of playing against big boys would have stood in good stead for them.

One of the highlights during the game was the return of Rishabh Pant in India colors again. The hard-hitting wicketkeeper batsman capable of changing the course of a game within a couple of overs was involved in a nasty motor accident two years ago. After several surgeries and extensive rehabilitation, he had featured in domestic cricket and this was his first international game.

India have been presented with a comfortable schedule for the tournament. They have been based in New York and played their warm-up game against Bangladesh there while three of their four first round games will be played in New York.

Jasprit Bumrah was unplayable as his three overs cost just six runs. While Bumrah will be always tough to play, India coach Rahul Dravid will take heart with the fact that his other bowlers were firing on all cylinders. Dravid is in his last series as India Coach.

Hardik Pandya finished with three wickets while Arshdeep Singh shared the new ball and claimed two wickets.

The Irish folded away inside 16 overs which meant that the spin options of Axar Patel and Ravindra Jadeja were required for only one over each.

Rohit Sharma has had several opening partners during his career and for this tournament he is having a new partner in Virat Kohli. The former captain was dismissed in the fifth ball, but there was no stopping Rohit.

Rohit smashed 57 off 37 balls with four fours and three sixes before retiring.

Pant was at number three and finished on 36 not out off 26 balls.

With this kind of explosive batting power with the likes of Rohit, Kohli and Pant, a strong middle order comprising Suryakumar Yadav and Shivam Dube followed by more fire power comprising Pandya, Jadeja and Axar Patel, India have one of the strongest sides in the competition. It will be no surprise if they go all the way. Fielding is their only drawback.

India have been a spectacular failure in ICC events having not won a tournament since 2011. They will be trying to change that during this competition.