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India's Deepak Hooda (left) plays a lofted drive during his maiden century in the second Twenty20 International against Ireland at Malahide Cricket Club on Tuesday. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Ireland gave India a scare and lost by four runs after chasing a mammoth target set by an excellent maiden century by Deepak Hooda along with a fine knock by Sanju Samson in the second and final Twenty20 international at The Village in Dublin on Tuesday. The victory ensured the visitors won the series 2-0 after winning the opener on Sunday.

India must have thought that a total 227 for seven against Ireland must be enough to defend on a small ground, but the Irish batters had other ideas and were not willing to throw in the towel.

Undeterred, Ireland went about the chase in the right earnest with openers Paul Stirling and skipper Andy Balbirnie didn’t allow the run-rate to climb alarmingly and the rest of the batters, Harry Tector, who continued his impressive form, and George Dockrell all brought the target agonisingly close to lose. Needing 17 of the last over, rookie Umran Malik, playing only his second game, conceded only 13 runs that includes a no ball.

Contest on the edge

In all the match saw a total of 25 sixes, with India scoring 11 and Ireland 15 that enabled the hosts to keep the contest on the edge.

The pair of Hooda (104 off 57) and Samson (77 off 42) stitched together a 176-run stand for the second wicket, which is so far the highest by any Indian pair in the T20Is, to totally demoralise the hosts.

After winning the toss and electing to bat first, India lost the wicket of Ishan Kishan in the third over of the innings, with the batter managing just 3 off 5 balls. The wicket didn’t affect Hooda and Samson much as they didn’t look under any discomfort.

Aggressive knock

Hooda was looking more aggressive while Samson, who was playing his first match of the series, took his time to settle down as India reached 54 for one after 6 overs. Hooda continued his aggressive approach even after the powerplay and raced to his fifty in 27 balls. On the other hand, Samson also shifted gears as India went past the 100-run mark inside 11 overs.

Very soon, Samson also reached his half-century in 31 balls as India were racing towards a big total. The carnage from Hooda and Samson came soon as they smashed Irish bowlers for 20 and 19 runs in the 14th and 15th overs respectively.

It was Mark Adair, who finally broke the huge partnership by cleaning up Samson on the second ball of the 17th over.

Suryakumar Yadav was the new batter and he got into the action straightaway, hitting the bowler for a six and four as India sailed past the 200-run mark in the same over.

Indian players celebrate after winning the second Twenty20 and the series against Ireland on Tuesday. Image Credit: AFP

On the other hand, Hooda looked in sublime touch throughout the innings and slammed his maiden T20I hundred off just 55 balls. He became the fourth Indian batter after Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, and K.L. Rahul to score a century in T20Is.

Two wickets in consecutive balls

Suryakumar (15), who was looking for the big hits, got out to Joshua Little. The centurion Hooda was also dismissed by Little in the same over, while he was trying to nudge a delivery on the leg stump. Thereafter, Craig Young picked two wickets in consecutive balls in the 19th over as Dinesh Karthik and Axar Patel failed to open their accounts.

Adair, who came to bowl the final over, did a decent job as he picked the wicket of Harshal Patel and conceded just 10 runs in it. Hardik Pandya returned unbeaten on (15 off 9) as India posted a gigantic 227/7 after 20 overs.

For Ireland, Mark Adair took three wickets while Craig Young and Josh Little got two apiece.

Brief scores:

India beat Ireland by four runs. India 227 for 7 in 20 overs (Deepak Hooda 104, Sanju Samson 77; Mark Adair 3/44, Josh Little 2/38, Craig Young 2/35) Ireland 221 for 5 in 20 overs (Paul Stirling 40, Andy Balbirnie 60, Harry Tector 39, George Dockrell 34 not out, Mark Adair 23 not out).