Rohit plays down injury scare after India rout Ireland in T20 World Cup

Hitting out: India captain Rohit Sharma bats against <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Ireland;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Ireland</a> during a T20 World Cup match in New York (TIMOTHY A. CLARY)

India captain Rohit Sharma allayed fears about an arm injury after making 52 before retiring hurt as his side thrashed Ireland by eight wickets in the teams' T20 World Cup opener in New York on Wednesday.

India only required 97 to win after a dominant display by their bowling attack, with left-arm quick Arshdeep Singh striking twice in the third over to reduce Ireland to 9-2 after Rohit won the toss.

All-rounder Hardik Pandya took two wickets in two balls on his way to 3-27 and Jasprit Bumrah, the player of the match, 2-6.

"Just a little sore," said Rohit at the presentation ceremony. "New ground, new venue, wanted to see what's it like to play on. I don't think the pitch settled down, there was enough there for the bowlers."

Ireland, all out for just 96, needed to hold every chance to have any hope of a shock upset.

But Rohit had made just two when, off the last ball of the first over of India's chase, he edged Mark Adair through the hands of Andrew Balbirnie at second slip.

Adair dismissed Virat Kohli for just one, when the star batsman sliced to deep third man, but the damage had been done as India launched their bid to win a first major title since their 2013 Champions Trophy triumph with a commanding Group A victory.

- Flamboyant Pant -

Rohit punished Ireland with a 37-ball innings, including four fours and three well-struck sixes as he shared a stand of 54 with Rishabh Pant.

The wicketkeeper, returning to international cricket after a horror car crash in December 2022, finished on 36 not out and ended the match with a typically flamboyant reverse-scooped six off Barry McCarthy as India won with nearly eight overs left.

Rohit was not there alongside him, however, having been previously struck on the arm by Josh Little, although he struck the next two balls from the paceman for resounding sixes.

Victory was all but secured for India, the inaugural 2007 T20 World Cup champions, when they dismissed Ireland cheaply as a drop-in pitch of variable bounce at a Long Island ground built specially for the tournament again proved tough to bat on.

India's joy, however, would have been tempered by the thought they too could be batting first on a similar surface when they return to the ground on Sunday to play arch-rivals Pakistan in the showpiece match of the group phase.

"I don't know what to expect against Pakistan, we will prepare like the conditions are going to be like that," said Rohit.

Bumrah, however, had few qualms, with the fast bowler saying: "Coming from India, when you see the ball seaming around (here), I would never complain when there's help for the bowlers."

Only four Ireland batsmen reached double figures, Gareth Delany top-scoring with 26 before he was run out as the innings ended in the 16th over.

"A tough one," said Ireland captain Paul Stirling. "The toss played a really important part in overcast conditions and then the pitch offered all sorts.

"We weren't quite up to that challenge and India bowled really well to put us under pressure."