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Shikhar, Shami dazzle in record win

Shikhar, Shami dazzle in record win
Dhawan cracked a scintillating century as a rampaging India today created a record winning their ninth consecutive ICC World Cup match by demolishing Ireland by eight wickets to seal the top spot in the Group-B table.

Chasing a respectable Ireland total of 259, opener Shikhar Dhawan (100 off 85 balls) sent the Irish bowlers on a leatherhunt en route his eighth ODI hundred as the defending champions reached the target in 36.5 overs to record their fifth consecutive win in this tournament. With Rohit Sharma (64, 66 balls) for company, Dhawan added a record 174 runs for the opening wicket to set the platform as India took the top position in group B with 10 points from five games.

While Dhawan had 11 fours and five sixes in his innings, Rohit’s second half century in the tournament had three fours and three effortless sixes. It turned out to be an extended batting practice session for the ‘Men In Blue’ as they toppled the previous eight-match winning streak record of Sourav Ganguly-led team in 2003.

India’s nine-match record started from their group league game against West Indies at Chennai back in 2011. While 260 was not a tall order for India’s formidable batting line-up, the flat deck at the Seddon Park made the life for inexperienced Irish pacers even more difficult.

The in-fom Dhawan started the onslaught with some power packed boundaries as he recorded his second century in the mega event. It had the muscular pull-shots, the precision shots like cuts and cover drive bisecting fielders in the off-side cordon and the lofted six. But one shot that would stand out would be the six off left-arm spinner George Dockrell. It was a tossed up delivery and he had failed to reach to the pitch of the delivery but still went through with the shot as the bottom hand came off the handle.

The ball went sailing over long on fence for a six. When the seamers bowled, the short ball went in the region between mid-wicket and deep mid-wicket while the fuller deliveries were hit straight with utter disdain. Dhawan’s second World Cup ton came off 84 balls and he was out immediately as rival skipper William Porterfield took a smart catch running backwards.

Rohit didn’t play a barrage of strokes like Dhawan but still completed his half-century off 49 balls. Out of his three sixes, the first one off John Mooney which was just caressed over long-off stood out. In the end, Virat Kohli (44 not out) and Ajinkya Rahane (33 not out) completed the formalities with a 70-run stand for the third wicket. India next play Zimabwe in Auckland on March 14.

We’re gonna lift trophy now: Shastri

Pumped up by a remarkable unbeaten streak, team director Ravi Shastri on Tuesday said the defending champions are well on course to lift the World Cup trophy for a second successive time.

“It’s a good position to be in especially given that from now on, every game is a knockout. Once you start winning, you enjoy and feel relaxed, it’s when you lose that you want to stay locked in the dressing room. Right now, the team is enjoying, they are playing football, they are a happy unit,” Shastri said.

Former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar echoed Shastri’s views and credited the team’s bowlers for raising their game at the big platform. “The bowlers deserve all the credit. 50 wickets in five matches, it is a wonderful achievement. Lot of times, the batsmen tend to overshadow them and they don’t get credit but it is nice to see the bowlers getting some credit,” he said.

Talking about India’s campaign, Shastri said the side, which came into the tournament after a disastrous bilateral series against Australia, is quite confident of clinching the top honours. “We were never here to fill in the numbers. We are not going to give any chances to any of our opponents and we are going to lift the trophy,” he said.

SCOREBOARD


Ireland innings
WTS Porterfield* c Yadav b MM Sharma 67, PR Stirling c Rahane b Ashwin 42, EC Joyce b Raina 2, NJ O’Brien c Yadav b Mohammed Shami 75, A Balbirnie c Mohammed Shami b Ashwin 24, KJ O’Brien c †Dhoni b Mohammed Shami 1, GC Wilson† c  Rahane b Jadeja 6, SR Thompson run out (Kohli) 2, JF Mooney not out 12, GH Dockrell c †Dhoni b Yadav 6, AR Cusack c Yadav b Mohammed Shami 11; Extras (lb 2, w 9) 11; (all out; 49 overs) 259; FoW 1-89, 2-92, 3-145, 4-206, 5-208, 6-222, 7-226, 8-227, 9-238, 10-259, Bowling UT Yadav 4-0-34-1, Md Shami 9-0-41-3, MM Sharma 6-0-38-1, RA Jadeja 7-0-45-1, R Ashwin 10-1-38-2, SK Raina 10-0-40-1, RG Sharma 3-0-21-0

India innings
RG Sharma b Thompson 64, S Dhawan    c Porterfield b Thompson    100, V Kohli    not out 44, AM Rahane not out 33; Extras (b 4, lb 2, w 13); Total (2 wickets; 36.5 overs) 260 FoW 1-174, 2-190 Bowling JF Mooney 6-0-44-0, AR Cusack 8-0-43-0, SR Thompson 6-0-45-2, GH Dockrell 5-0-44-0, PR Stirling 5-0-36-0, KJ O’Brien 6.5-0-42-0

AFP

AFP

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