The Indian cricket team demonstrated their dominance on Irish soil after the Virat Kohli led Team India demolished the hosts to win by 76 runs at the Village in Dublin on Wednesday. Shifting their focus onto the second and final match of the series, India would aim to strike the perfect balance while ringing changes in the staring XI at Dublin.
The Men in Blue got their three-month long tour of Ireland and England off to a fine start with a thumping 76-run win on Wednesday.
Riding on half-centuries from Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, India scored 208-5. Thereafter Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal shared seven wickets to restrict the Irish to 132-9. (IND vs IRE MATCH SCORECARD)
It indicated that India's first-choice eleven was functioning properly after a break of three months, and tuning itself for the England tour.
"We are going to do a lot of experiments in the middle order...We are looking to give everyone game-time and want them to portray the qualities they possess because many guys go on tour and never get an opportunity to play," said skipper Virat Kohli post the first T20I. (Also Read: Kohli lauds Team India's all-round performance against Ireland)
It indicates that India have zeroed in on Rohit and Dhawan as their first-choice opening combination for the limited-overs' leg of this tour.
It also confirms that Rahul will bat in the middle-order whenever an opportunity presents itself, and it could be as early as the next game, keeping the England series in mind.
Kohli's words though do not shine enough light on whether India will go in for wholesale changes to their bowling attack as well.
Talking after the game he did say that 'looking at the squad, the changes are obvious'. Yet, at the same time, there are a few names that cannot be left out Rohit, Dhawan, Kohli himself, Dhoni and the two leg spinners.
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.
Both Kuldeep and Chahal were able to garner purchase from the strip, and Ireland skipper Gary Wilson went as far as to say that it "wouldn't have mattered if they had bowled first or second". Clearly, the gap in quality between the two sides is too far to bridge even for this gutsy Irish side.
Barring an unimaginable upset then, India do have the luxury of going with a batsman short and accommodating an extra bowler.
Kohlis 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.
There is also the small matter of getting some time at the crease for himself after Kohli got out for a two-ball duck on his first outing on this tour.
While it is too early to worry about, it did ring in memories of his troubles in 2014 where he just couldn't buy a run, irrespective of formats.
Irrespective of the scope of team changes, on the strength of their batting and bowling, India will be firm favourites going into this second game.
Fielding though is a different matter, and the coaching staff will be expecting a better display from the Indian players than in their first outing.
As many as three outfield catches were dropped in the power-play overs, and a stronger opposition like England will definitely punish these errors.
For Ireland, it won't simply be a matter of turning up on the day. While the 200-plus target was far beyond their reach, they showed enough wherewithal to stick out in the middle and attempt to compete.
Asking for an upset on Friday will be too much, but they remain capable of springing a surprise or two on home soil. The biggest incentive for the hosts is another chance to play against one of the top T20 sides in the world in front of a festive and raucous crowd.
India: Virat Kohli (C), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL 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 (C & 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.