Umran Malik held his nerve and kept his captain’s faith as the Jammu and Kashmir pacer eked out a thrilling four-run win for India against Ireland on Tuesday. India won the series 2-0 having won the first game by seven wickets.
Having conceded 30 runs in his first three overs, Umran Malik was trusted with the last over by skipper Hardik Pandya. Playing just his second T20 in India colours and known for his raw pace, the Sunrisers Hyderabad pacer clocked close to 144kmph consistently.
Umran conceded a couple of fours, a no-ball and three singles including a bye as Ireland managed 221/5 to lose narrowly. Hardik, who could have bowled himself in the last over, revealed why he went ahead with Umran despite knowing he went for plenty in his previous overs.
“I was trying to keep all the pressure out of my equation. I wanted to be in the present and I backed Umran,” Hardik Pandya said after the match. “He has pace, with his pace it’s always going to be tough to get 18 runs,” added the Indian captain.
Chasing a mammoth 226, Ireland were off to a flying start with Paul Stirling and captain Andrew Balbirnie putting 70-plus runs in the powerplay. However, the Indians pulled things back with two quick wickets before Harry Tector and George Dockrell took the home team close to the total.
Hardik heaped high praise for the Irish batters too. “They played some amazing shots, they batted very well, credit to them and credit to our bowlers for holding their nerves. The crowd, their favourite boys were Dinesh and Sanju. Great experience to experience this side of the world,” Hardik.
“As a child it's always a dream to play for your country. Leading and getting first win was special, now winning the series is special as well. Happy for Deepak (Hooda) and Umran.” Earlier, India rode on a maiden T20 ton from Deepak Hooda and Sanju Samson’s first fifty to post 225/7 in 20 overs.
The action now shifts to Edgbaston when India are scheduled to take on England in the rescheduled fifth Test match which starts on July 1. Following the Test match, India will play three ODIs and three T20s against England.