India Vs Ireland
Starting time: 2:30 pm IST
Bangalore, March 5: Come Sunday afternoon, India will be aware that they can't take the Irish lightly. After all, England is licking its wounds from the mauling they received at the hands of Kevin O'Brien and Co. Now, the giant-killers will be keen to start a winning streak and tear down any opposition that comes in their path and India so happens to be next in line.
With both sides sporting strong batting line-ups, the knock-out punch might well be decided on the intensity of bowling that one is able to work up on the day. India's bowling has been found lacking with the usually accurate Munaf Patel and Zaheer Khan largely off their mark in the last game, though the latter did redeem himself with a late burst.
But Munaf is guilty of leaking 13 valuable runs at the death, thus allowing England to wrest an improbable tie in last Sunday's encounter. In the end, he along with leg-break Piyush Chawla and right-arm offie Yusuf Pathan all made costly errors in that match, going for 7 runs an over and more. Now is the time to mitigate that indiscipline and put the screws on their line and length.
Perhaps an encouraging sign for India was that Ireland's bowling in their match against England was also all over the place. Seamer Alex Cusakc was the most expensive, going at nearly 10 runs an over, while fellow paceman Boyd Rankin went for over 7. Though medium pacer John Mooney was also costly, he picked up four valuable wickets to put the breaks on the English juggernaut towards the end of the latter's innings.
India has played Ireland just once so far - in mid 2007 - and won that match quite convincingly. But it should be wary of the fact that a lot of water has flown under the bridge since then and tide too could have turned in Ireland's favour. A blistering Kevin O'Brien who stunned England with a match-winning fastest World Cup century on Wednesday, would certainly be thinking so. It's India job to prove him wrong...