Backed Umran for final over since he has pace: Hardik

“I was not worried to be honest. I wanted to keep pressure out of my equation. I wanted to stay in the present. I backed Umran since he has pace. With his pace, it is difficult for people to hit,” said Hardik, explaining the rationale behind giving the ball to the 22-year-old for the crucial over.
India players celebrate the series triumph
India players celebrate the series triumph

MALAHIDE: Express pace was the reason India skipper Hardik Pandya asked Umran Malik to bowl the last over of the second and final T20I against Ireland here on Tuesday.

Ireland fell short by just four runs while chasing a mammoth 226 as Umran, playing only his second match in India colours, defended 17 runs in the final over. “I was not worried to be honest. I wanted to keep pressure out of my equation. I wanted to stay in the present. I backed Umran since he has pace. With his pace, it is difficult for people to hit,” said Hardik, explaining the rationale behind giving the ball to the 22-year-old for the crucial over.

India, aided by Deepak Hooda’s maiden century, prevailed over the host in a nail-biting finish to win the series 2-0. “We came here to play a game of cricket, so Ireland was going to show us what it has. Credit to Ireland; it played amazing shots. At the same time, credit to our bowlers for helping us cross the line,” added Hardik.

“The crowd was amazing. Their favourite boys were Dinesh [Karthik] and Sanju [Samson]. It was great to see them enjoy. It was good for us to experience cricket in this part of the world. We are grateful to the fans,” Hardik said to loud cheers.

“I feel proud. As a child, everyone dreams of playing for the country. At the same time, leading and getting the first victory, and the first series win is special. Also, I am happy for Hooda, the way he batted. And, Umran,” Hardik went on to add.

Tough pill to swallow, says Balbirnie

Chasing an imposing target, Ireland showed a lot of heart and nearly pulled off what would have been a memorable victory. “We are pretty good; we did a lot of good stuff with the bat. We wanted to express ourselves and we did that. But, bitterly disappointed. It (the loss) is a bitter pill to swallow,” said Ireland skipper Andrew Balbirnie.

“We wanted to make use of the powerplay and Paul [Stirling] did that brilliantly. He set the tone and I took some time. Our [form in] T20 cricket has been up and down. We have gone toe to toe against a very good team. We cannot let this be a flash in the pan.”

If my work ethic is good, I am going to be in a good space of mind and I am going to score runs Deepak Hooda, India all-rounder

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