Ireland vs India 2018, 2nd T20I preview: Clinical India aiming for whitewash before English challenge
When Rohit Sharma, in true hockey fashion, drag-flicked pacer Stuart Thompson to the square-leg fence in the first T20I, the gulf between the two contesting teams at Malahide became fairly evident.
For India, the first appetizer was devoured in a single gulp, but far more serious challenges will be encountered when the side switches islands after the end of the ongoing T20I series.
For now, the second T20I beckons, and going by how the script unfolded in the first one, not much might change in the final result, but several changes could be made in the team composition.
"We are going to do a lot of experiments in the middle order. We are looking to give everyone game-time and want them to portray the qualities they possess because many guys go on tour and never get an opportunity to play," Kohli had said after the first T20I.
KL Rahul, who had been in red-hot form during the IPL, could get a look-in in the middle-order. In 14 games this past season, he scored 659 runs at an average of over 54, including six fifties and the fastest 50 in the history of the tournament. Unleashing him ahead of the England series could be a well thought-out strategy.
Jasprit Bumrah injured his left hand on the final delivery of the Ireland innings, and although the injury did not look serious on first inspection, he could be rested to ensure that he is a cent percent fit before the team takes on Ireland's neighbours.
In place of him, the side could be compelled to play Umesh Yadav, who hasn't played a T20I since 2012, or Siddarth Kaul, who is yet to earn a single cap for India.
Else, in an attempt to squeeze in one more batsman and provide more game time, Kohli could go with only Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Hardik Pandya as the pace bowling options and include KL Rahul or Dinesh Karthik before the England series.
The Irish bowlers meekly surrendered in the face of an Indian onslaught, and even though the innings tapered off towards the end, seeing them lose three wickets in the last over, the opening combination had done enough to take them past 200.
A similar victory at the same venue, before the England series starts would be what Kohli & team would be hoping for. Given how the sequence unfolded in the first game, it isn't a tall task.
India: Virat Kohli (C), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Suresh Raina, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni (WK), Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Siddarth Kaul.
Ireland: Gary Wilson (C & WK), Andrew Balbirnie, Peter Chase, George Dockrell, Josh Little, Andy McBrine, Kevin O'Brien, William Porterfield, Stuart Poynter, Boyd Rankin, James Shannon, Simi Singh, Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson.