Deepak Hooda hit an unbeaten 47 off 29 balls as India registered a seven-wicket win over Ireland in a rain-hit first T20I on Sunday. Hooda, who opened the innings surprisingly with Ishan Kishan, hit six fours and two sixes in Malahide to help the tourists cross their target of 109 runs in 9.2 overs. Continuous bowling before the match delayed the start and was reduced to 12 overs per side. (Also read | ‘Shoaib Akhtar who?’: Speedometer shows Bhuvneshwar bowled at 208 kph against Ireland, Twitter stuns,
Hooda, who enjoyed a decent IPL season with Lucknow Super Giants, was handed the opening duties and found his momentum after looking poor at the start. He shared a match winning partnership of 64 runs with Hardik Pandya. Hooda stayed till the end to hit the winning boundaries – a testament to India’s batting prowess and depth in all three formats of the game.
While Hooda earned praise for his match-defining innings, many questioned Sanju Samson’s absence from the playing XI. The Rajasthan Royals captain returned to the India squad after missing the previous home assignment against South Africa.
Former India pacer Ashish Nehra explained why Hooda came up with Samson’s substitute for the Twenty20 series opener. He underlined the “confidence” of the LSG batsman after a stellar IPL season with the franchise.
“No, it’s not a tough call. Sanju Samson and Rahul Tripathi have come in for Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant. Deepak Hooda was already in the team and Venkatesh Iyer didn’t even play against South Africa. And Deepak Hooda The way he performed in IPL because he is one of those players who played for Rajasthan in Ranji Trophy, scored runs throughout the season, then in IPL too,” he said on a pre-match show. sonyliv,
“He started the tournament, playing at 5 or 6 (for LSG) and then he was promoted to No. 3, and he did well there too. So his confidence should be high.”
Hooda shone with the bat but it was Bhuvneshwar Kumar who took full advantage of the conditions. The senior pacer’s inswinger broke Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie’s defence. Hardik Pandya and Avesh Khan also took a wicket each, as Ireland were bowled out for 22 for three.
But the hosts staged a spirited recovery thanks to Harry Tector, who scored 64 off just 33 balls. Yuzvendra Chahal, who returned 1/11 in his three overs, was adjudged the player of the match for his economical performance.
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