Himanshu Dubey

Do not disturb the Irish as they are on a roller-coaster ride in the dreamland. They are living a dream at the moment. A dream, that saw the light against England on Wednesday, could give a fierce fight against India. Kevin O’ Brien, the man who has set the ball rolling for the Irish has flared up more nervous moments in India’s camp, which is already struggling with the mismatch between their bowling and batting pots.

Hot favorites India are not living up to the tag, at least with ball, the way bowlers have performed in the tournament, Ireland might feel they are with a good chance to do another upset. Apart from one Zaheer Khan’s reverse-swinging spell that swung the game in reverse for Team India, the bowling has been as ineffective as the Indian government on the numerous graft that mushroomed over the past 8 months.

Prior to the Wednesday game, any team would have taken the contest against Ireland as a part of their preparation process to assess their bench strength and fix the right mindset for the harder part of the competition later, but India could not afford to commit that error. They are already running a point adrift in the standings table as to what they are supposed to be at the end of two games and another unpleasant result might infuriate the extra crazy fans here.

MS Dhoni sized up the situation better than anyone else and urged the Indian fans to keep the bubbling emotions within check. That only testifies the jitters floating in the Indian dressing room for the Ireland game. Confidence is something that was severely dented against England, last Sunday. India did everything right which was undone by two fatal on-field errors, both involving Ian Bell.

Early in his innings, Bell played an uppish stroke in the cover region and a more alert Bhajji could have plucked him there and then. However, it did not happen, his plunge forward was as slow and half-hearted as his appeal when he knows that the batsman is not out. Rest is history and India sulked thereafter.

On Sunday, India and Ireland will face-off each other for the second time in the ODI history. They met in Belfast, 2007, where Team India chased down a modest Irish total with extraordinary ease. Dhoni should try and repeat that game, bowl first and chase Ireland.

That will somehow cover up, a little bit, their weakness in bowling and with batting line up whose top five have amassed over 44,000 runs, they would believe that can chase any score.

Going by the current form Indian bowlers are in, there is no guarantee they will restrict flamboyant Ireland batsmen, but the batting divide the two nations have, will make the difference in the end result.