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Ireland’s T20 World Cup hopes take heavy blow with eight-wicket loss to India in New York

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India’s bowler Axar Patel reaches to catch and bowl out for a duck Ireland’s Barry McCarthy during an ICC Men’s T20 World Cup cricket match at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in Westbury, New York. Photo: AP Photo/Adam Hunger

India batsmen Rishabh Pant, center left, and Shivam Dube are congratulated by Ireland players for their 8-wicket victory in an ICC Men’s T20 World Cup cricket match at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in Westbury, New York

thumbnail: India's bowler Axar Patel reaches to catch and bowl out for a duck Ireland's Barry McCarthy during an ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in Westbury, New York. Photo: AP Photo/Adam Hunger
thumbnail: India batsmen Rishabh Pant, center left, and Shivam Dube are congratulated by Ireland players for their 8-wicket victory in an ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in Westbury, New York

There was no fairytale in New York for Ireland as their T20 World Cup hopes were dealt a heavy blow by an eight-wicket loss to India on a brute of a pitch at the pop-up Nassau County International Stadium.

The Boys in Green did well to make 96 all out in their first Group A match but it wasn’t enough to trouble the tournament favourites who eased home with 7.4 overs to spare, much to the delight of their raucous fans.

“It was a tough one,” skipper Paul Stirling said. “The toss played a crucial part and the pitch did a lot, and we weren’t up to that challenge.

“India bowled well and put us under pressure. We tried to put pressure back on their bowlers but everything we tried went up in the air.”

India batsmen Rishabh Pant, center left, and Shivam Dube are congratulated by Ireland players for their 8-wicket victory in an ICC Men’s T20 World Cup cricket match at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in Westbury, New York

The contest was as good as over once Ireland were asked to bat under grey skies on a pitch that offered disconcerting variable bounce throughout, as well as sideways movement.

Stirling fell – skying a catch to the keeper – as he tried to pull a ball that got big on him, while opening partner Andy Balbirnie was skittled in the same third over by one that kept low and bowled him as he stepped away.

Lorcan Tucker defiantly scooped a four and crashed another through extra cover to reach 10 before he became the first of three victims for Hardik Pandya, and after suffering a torrid 16 balls, Harry Tector was caught via his helmet for four.

Curtis Campher struck a six over long on, but then tamely nicked behind, and with George Dockrell and Mark Adair both falling to baseball-style swings, Ireland were 50-8, still well shy of their lowest World T20 score of 68 against the West Indies in 2010.

Big-hitting Gareth Delany, aided by an inventive 14 from 13 balls from Josh Little, avoided that embarrassment only to be run out off a free-hit for 26 at the end of the 16th over.

If Delany, who struck two fours and two maximums, had been able to bat out the overs, Ireland might just have been in with a sniff but despite Adair having superstar Virat Kohli caught at third man for a single, India were never stretched.

The squad will prepare for Friday’s must-win game against Canada at the same venue wondering what might have been if Stirling had only won that toss – and are perhaps already relishing a return to Florida for their final two group games against the USA and Pakistan.

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