India 307 for 5 (Harnoor 88, Raghuvanshi 79, Bawa 42, Sherzad 3-79) beat Ireland 133 all out (Macbeth 32, Tambe 2-8, Gautam 2-11, Sangwan 2-23) by 174 runs
Despite missing their captain Yash Dhull and vice-captain Shaikh Rasheed after both tested positive for Covid-19, India thumped Ireland by 174 runs and in the process secured their quarter-final spot too.
Sent into bat, India openers Harnoor Singh (88) and Angkrish Raghuvanshi (79) hit exquisite half-centuries to set the tone with a 164-run opening stand. The middle order then made crucial contributions to take India past 300. In Ireland's chase, they were reduced to 66 for 6 inside 22 overs, after which the only question that remained was the final margin of India's victory.
With six of their 17 squad members either Covid positive or suspected as infected, India fielded the only 11 players who were available for selection. They were led by 17-year-old Nishant Sindhu from Haryana, and he struck a 34-ball 36 after the openers built the foundation. On either side of Sindhu's innings, No. 3 Raj Bawa made 42 and the lower-order batter Rajvardhan Hangargekar - promoted for the slog overs - smacked 39 in a 17-ball innings to post 307 for 5.
Openers Harnoor and Raghuvanshi had both failed in the first game against South Africa, but with the usual No. 3 Rasheed and No. 4 Dhull not available, both batters had an added responsibility. They were, however, unperturbed in their batting style, attacking right from the start. The right-handed Raghuvanshi hit a hat-trick of fours in the third over off Ireland spinner Matthew Humphreys and followed it up with three boundaries off offspinner Nathan McGuire to race away to 26 in 22 balls.
After that, Harnoor found the gaps to hit back-to-back fours off seamer Muzamil Sherzad, and by the time the tenth over was up, India were 68 for 0.
Raghuvanshi reached his fifty first, off 41 balls, when he pulled a short delivery from Humphreys over deep midwicket for six. Harnoor's scoring-rate kept increasing steadily, and by the 21st over, he too had reached his half-century in 56 balls. A series of fours - all around the ground - then flowed from Harnoor's bat and soon enough he had caught up to Raghuvanshi's score, with both batters in their seventies.
The stand was finally broken in the 26th over when India were 164 for 0. Raghuvanshi, on 79, was caught behind off left-arm spinner Jamie Forbes. The opening partnership gave No. 3 Bawa the liberty to settle in, but the 35th over brought about Harnoor's end, as he was dismissed lbw by Humphreys on 88.
With eight wickets in hand, a big finish was expected. It came with Sindhu playing aggressive shots off his pads on numerous occasions. After Sindhu fell in the 46th over, India promoted the seam bowler Hangargekar, and he got into the groove by hammering Humphreys for two sixes down the ground. In the 50th over, he spoiled Sherzad's spell by crunching a hat-trick of sixes and ending the innings with a four to third man.
Ireland's chase of 308 began sedately. The first wicket came when left-arm seamer Ravi Kumar had Liam Doherty caught at midwicket in the fourth over. Hangargekar, on a high after at a strike rate of 229, then trapped Jack Dickson lbw. Bawa's direct-hit then sent David Vincent back with Ireland at 17 for 3.
Right-arm seamer Garv Sangwan, into the India XI because of the forced absences, then removed Ireland captain Tim Tector when the batter sliced a shot to gully. Sangwan followed it up with the wicket of Joshua Cox, who edged one to wicketkeeper Dinesh Bana.
With half the side gone for only 66, Ireland's chances of a win were almost zero. Vicky Ostwal, who took five wickets against South Africa, had Philippus le Roux lbw when he played a sweep down the wrong line. Although Scott MacBeth smacked 32, the rest of the game was a one-sided affair. Left-arm spinner Aneeshwar Gautam, another new entrant into the XI, then took two lower-order wickets, and offspinner Kaushal Tambe cleaned up the tail.