The Indian cricket team started their tour of Ireland on a high note as the Men in Blue thrashed Ireland by 76 runs to take a lead in the two-match series at Dublin. Skipper Virat Kohli was full of praise for openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma who powered India set up a mammoth target of 209 for Ireland to chase and the bowlers who did a clinical job as the spinners were on song once again. (IND vs IRE MATCH HIGHLIGHTS)
The opening pair put on 160 in 16 overs to set the foundation as Dhawan (74) and Rohit (97) were running roit till they were dismissed. However, India lost three wickets in the final over, Raina (10), Dhoni (11) and Kohli (0), preventing them from scoring in excess of 225, which looked likely on a placid track. But the score was above par for an Ireland side, which rarely gets to play quality opposition. (IND vs IRE MATCH SCORECARD)
The skipper lauded the team's overall performance.
"I can't complain about anything today. Opening combination was excellent. The last over bowled by Ireland was terrific. Great effort by Rohit and Shikhar to put us in a good position. And good strikes from MS, Raina and Pandya in the end. Bowlers did a clinical job too," said Kohli during the post-match presentation. (READ: INDIA THRASH IRELAND BY 76 RUNS)
Kohli, who surprisingly came out to bat at No.6, was dismissed for a duck. However, the skipper said that they would 'experiment' with the middle-order in the upcoming T20I matches.
"We have already announced that apart from the opening combination we are going to do a lot of experiments in the middle order. We are going to be flexible in the next few T20s."
One of the main reason's for Kohli to make a few changes here and there is to surprise the opposition and alongside give players a chance who missed out as well.
"We will look to throw in guys when the situation requires them to come in and try to surprise the opposition. It presents the opportunity for the batsmen who couldn't get the opportunity to bat. The guys who couldn't get a chance today will get an opportunity in the next match."
"The guys had a great time in IPL but they need to get time in the middle here too. The team management decided to give a go to everyone in the squad. The guys are fine with this decision. 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."
Dubbed as dress rehearsal for the marquee England series, the formidable Indian team outbatted the opposition scoring an imposing 208 for five, courtesy openers Rohit and Dhawan.
In reply, Ireland could only manage 132/9 in 20 overs despite a breezy innings of 60 off 35 balls by opener James Shannon. The spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav (4/21) and Yuzvendra Chahal (3/38) once again harassed the bowlers with their spells and ensured a win for the Men in Blue.
India will take on Ireland on Friday (June 29) in the second and last T20I of the series.