Series clinched, time to test bench strength

India hold an unassailable 2-0 lead against Ireland going into the third and final contest. It gives the visitors an opportunity to test the bench.

India lead Ireland 2-0 in the three-match T20I series. Image: BCCI

India were pushed in the first T20I but order of business was restored in the second contest against Ireland. With an unassailable 2-0 series lead secured, the focus will be on giving playing time to the fringe players.

The objective for the tour of Ireland was to give Jasprit Bumrah and Prasidh Krishna some playing time after lengthy injury absences. Both are back and have made impressive re-starts. Ruturaj Gaikwad has returned to T20Is with an unbeaten knock and a quick-fire half century. Sanju Samson looked good in the second T20I before Rinku Singh stole the show. Ravi Bishnoi has taken four wickets in two games.

Now that the primary job is done, it is time to focus on testing the bench. India went unchanged for the second T20I but that is unlikely to be the case for the third.

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The batting department is expected to stay the same with no reserves available. But it is in the middle order that changes could come in. Jitesh Sharma could be given an India debut and bat in the lower order. Shahbaz Ahmed, who made an impact in the Deodhar Trophy, could also come in to give the well-established Washington Sundar a break. Another possible inclusion could be Avesh Khan who promised with the white ball in the past.

In the bowling department, Bumrah and Krishna would prefer getting some more game time especially with their inclusion in the Asia Cup squad. That might keep Mukesh Kumar and Avesh Khan out of recknoning unless Arshdeep Singh makes way.

Hosts Ireland will have to step up with both bat and ball to give India a fight. In the first T20I they slumped to 59/6 before recovering. In the second T20I, all of India’s batters flourished with too many runs being leaked at the death.

Weather in Malahide

Ireland vs India 3rd T20I is expected to be played under mildly sunny conditions, with chances of cloud cover, wind and some rain. The temperature is expected to hover around 20 degrees Celsius. There are higher chances of rain late in the evening, which means a full game is possible.

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