After registering a thumping win over Ireland in the first T20I, India skipper Hardik Pandya lavished praise on rival batter Harry Tector for his brilliant batting in the match. Blistering knocks by Deepak Hooda and Hardik Pandya guided Team India to a seven-wicket over Ireland, in a rain-curtailed first T20I of the two-match series, at Malahide Cricket Club Ground in Dublin on Sunday. Earlier in the first innings, Harry Tector’s unbeaten 64 off 33 balls guided Ireland to 108/4 against India.
“He played some fantastic shots, and obviously, he’s 22, I’ve given him a bat as well, so maybe he can score some more sixes and maybe get an IPL contract, and I wish him luck. Just look after him well, give him the right guidance,” said Hardik in a post-match press conference.
“It’s not always about cricket; it’s about understanding your whole lifestyle and what is at stake. If you can manage that, I’m sure he’s going to be around – not just in IPL, in all the leagues in the world,” he added.
Team India went with Deepak Hooda in place of their regular opener Ruturaj Gaikwad in the first T20I. Hardik revealed that the batter had a niggle in his calf which forced him to send Hooda as the opener.
“Rutu had a niggle in his calf. We had the choice of taking a risk and sending him in [to open], but I was not okay with it. A player’s well-being is more important, and [I thought] we’ll be able to manage what happens in the match,” said Hardik.
“It was quite simple after that, there wasn’t much of a decision to make; whatever our [batting-order] numbers were, we all went up one spot, and it wasn’t a big headache. We wanted to make sure we weren’t taking any chances with Rutu,” he added.
Pacer Umran Malik, who earned his maiden cap in the first T20I against Ireland, had a forgetful outing with the ball as he conceded 14 runs in a single over and went wicketless.
“When you play for India for the first time, and the journey he has taken, it’s important to give such a bowler and such a talent time. Whether it was a good day or a bad day is irrelevant. For him, just to play for India is itself a very big thing, and that is something which I’m very happy for, [irrespective] of how the result went, good or bad, it’s okay,” said Hardik.
Coming to the match, Hooda smashed 47 runs off 29 balls while Hardik played a knock of 24 runs off 12 balls, and helped Team India to chase down the target of 109 runs in just 9.2 overs, with seven wickets in hand.
For Ireland, Craig Young was the pick among the bowlers as he scalped two wickets while Joshua Little settled with one.
Earlier in the first innings, Harry Tector’s unbeaten 64 guided Ireland to 108/4 against India. while for visitors Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Hardik Pandya, and Avesh Khan scalped one wicket apiece.
With this win, India have taken a lead by 1-0, in the two-match series and the teams will be squaring off for the second T20I on Tuesday.
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