India vs Ireland: Hardik Pandya attains unique feat, becomes first Indian captain to claim a T20I scalp

Hardik Pandya-led India commenced their short tour of Ireland on Sunday evening (June 26). Taking on the Irish side, India had to wait to take on the field as rain delayed proceedings after Hardik & Co. won the toss and opted to bowl first, at The Village, Dublin. 

After the late start, the match was reduced to 12 overs aside where India beat a spirited Andy Balbirnie-led Ireland line-up by seven wickets in pursuit of a tough 109-run target. With the win, Hardik not only made a fitting start on debut as Team India captain, but the 28-year-old all-rounder also achieved a unique feat during the contest. 

Captain Hardik came onto bowl in the second over, following swing master and vice-captain Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The captain made a mark in his first over itself, removing the danger man Paul Stirling for cheap (4). By getting the better of the Irish opener, who is the hosts’ main batter, Hardik scripted history. Among the nine players who have captained India in the shortest format, Hardik became the first-ever to claim a T20I scalp. Before him, the likes of Virender Sehwag, MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Rishabh Pant have led Men in Blue in T20Is. 

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Hardik returned with 2-0-26-1 and played a handy knock during India’s run-chase. He came in at No. 4, with India losing back-to-back wickets and being reduced to 30 for 2, to stitch a match-winning 64-run third-wicket stand before perishing for a 12-ball 24, striking at a whopping 200. Yuzvendra Chahal, 3-0-11-1, and Deepak Hooda’s 47 not out led India to a comfortable seven-wicket win in the first and penultimate T20I versus the Irish camp.

The final T20I will be held at the same venue on Tuesday evening (June 28). 

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