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Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)

Ireland capitulate without any fight

IRELAND captain Gary Wilson had asked for an improvement from Wednesday's 76 runs defeat to India in the second and final match of the Twenty20 series in Malahide but the only team that improved were the classy visitors.

Despite making four changes they powered their way to 213 for four, five runs more than in the first match, and the Ireland batsmen then let themselves down, bowled out for just 70 to suffer the joint second biggest ever defeat in a T20 international.

It needed Boyd Rankin to hit only the second six of the innings to avoid the embarrassment of their lowest T20 total of 68 but then no-one - probably not even the players if they really admitted it - expected to beat the team that dominates the shortest format.

As Wilson said afterwards "we were playing against the best 15 players in the IPL (Indian Premier League) and they are in the India team for a reason. But our skills were definitely not as good as they could have been".

And that's what will have disappointed the skipper and management most, they barely put up a fight from the moment Paul Stirling was caught at slip to the second ball of the innings - always a devastating blow - and although William Porterfield and Andrew Balbirnie took 18 off the third over, the Test captain didn't survive it, bowled middle stump behind his legs!

It was 27-3 after five overs and India, showing no mercy, introduced leg spinner Yuzvendra Chahal. Four balls later, without a run conceded, James Shannon was caught at mid-off and the horrible collapse was well under way.

Chahal, named man of the series, and his spin partner in crime, Kuldeep Yadav shared six wickets as the Ireland batsmen looked as if they were no wiser than when they first faced them on Wednesday.

The Indian batting got off to another fast start despite Peter Chase - one of the few successes in the series - carrying on where he left off and for the second time in four balls he dismissed India captain Virat Kholi.

But that only set up a second wicket stand of 106 between KL Rahul and Suresh Raina and although Kevin O'Brien broke the stand with his first ball and Ireland hauled it back in those middle overs, India, as expected, dominated the last five, scoring 66 runs with Hardik Pandya coming in and hitting four sixes in his nine-ball innings of 32.

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