Shikhar Dhawan leads way as India beat Ireland

Shikhar Dhawan led Indias run chase with an 85-ball 100 against Ireland. Picture: GettyShikhar Dhawan led Indias run chase with an 85-ball 100 against Ireland. Picture: Getty
Shikhar Dhawan led Indias run chase with an 85-ball 100 against Ireland. Picture: Getty
India’s imperious start to the World Cup continued with a comfortable eight-wicket win over Ireland in Pool B at Seddon Park in Hamilton.

Ireland made 259 all out batting first, but that was nowhere near enough as the defending champions chased down that total with more than 13 overs to spare.

Shikhar Dhawan led India’s run chase with an 85-ball 100, while his opening partner Rohit Sharma made 64. Virat Kohli (44 not out) and Ajinkya Rahane (33no) then saw their side – who had already qualified for the quarter-finals before the match – to a ninth successive World Cup win, dating back to their triumph over West Indies in the 2011 tournament.

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Niall O’Brien top-scored for Ireland with 75, with useful contributions, too, from openers William Porterfield (67) and Paul Stirling (42) en route to a respectable total.

Ireland are still in the tournament and victory in their final match against Pakistan in Adelaide on Sunday will ensure their progression to the knock-out stages. Ireland had been in a strong position to post a much bigger total at 206 for three with 11 overs to go, but were pegged back before being dismissed off the final ball of the 49th over.

Porterfield had opted to bat first and went on to share a solid partnership of 89 with Stirling first up. Their stand was broken in disappointing style from the final ball of the 15th over, when Stirling, having made his runs off 41 balls including four fours and two sixes, looked for a big hit off spinner Ravichandran Ashwin but checked and succeeded only in scooping a simple catch to Rahane at long-off.

Ed Joyce did not stick around for long, contributing just two before having his middle stump knocked over by Suresh Raina.

Porterfield went when he chipped a straightforward catch to Umesh Yadav at mid-off, Mohit Sharma the bowler.

Andy Balbirnie joined Niall O’Brien in the middle and contributed a run-a-ball 24 before looking for one sweep too many and top-edging Ashwin to Mohammed Shami.

That left Ireland still reasonably well placed on 206 for four with 11 overs remaining but, from then on, the wickets kept tumbling.

Kevin O’Brien (one), Gary Wilson (six), Stuart Thompson (two) and George Dockrell (six) all came and went, with Niall O’Brien’s dismissal also thrown into the mix, making for a spell of five wickets for just 32 runs as India seized control.

John Mooney (12 not out) and Alex Cusack (11) added 21 for the final wicket before the latter’s departure signalled the end of the Ireland innings.