HAMILTON: Opener Shikhar Dhawan knocked a brilliant ton off 85 balls as India recorded a convincing eight-wicket win against Ireland to continue their immaculate run in the World Cup 2015 here at Seddon Park.
Chasing a competitive total of 259 runs, defending champions easily chase down the target in 36.5 overs with openers Rohit Sharma (64) and Dhawan (100) putting on board 174 in 23.2 overs.
After Sharma lost his wicket to Stuart Thompson, who bowled him out, Dhawan also returned to the pavilion with victory just around the corner as India scorecard showed 190-2 in 27.4 overs. His wicket also fell in Thompson’s basket after captain William Porterfield took the catch.
New on crease, Virat Kohli (44 not out) and Ajinkya Rahana (33 not out) then went on to seal the victory for India, who are unbeaten in the tournament so far and have already qualified for the quarterfinals.
AFP adds: Earlier, Irish Niall O’Brien and William Porterfield hit attractive half-centuries but Ireland failed to capitalise on a good start and were all out for 259 in 49 overs.
Niall O’Brien scored a run-a-ball 75 with three sixes and seven boundaries while skipper Porterfield made a solid 93-ball 67.
But Ireland missed out on a chance of posting a big total against the defending champions during the middle overs of their innings on a flat Seddon Park pitch.
Batting first after winning the toss, Ireland were off to a confident start of 89 in 15 overs, with Paul Stirling (42) giving a good support to his skipper.
Stirling hit four boundaries and two sixes during his 41-ball knock before holing out to off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin who finished with two for 38.
Part-timer Suresh Raina bowled Ed Joyce for two before Porterfield and Niall O’Brien added a valuable 53 for the third wicket.
But once Porterfield fell, caught off paceman Mohit Sharma, Ireland slumped from 206 for three to 259 all out in 49 overs.
Mohammad Shami grabbed the key wicket of dangerman Kevin O’Brien for only one run to finish with figures of three for 41.
Niall O’Brien completed his 14th one-day half-century with a six off Ashwin but fell to a soft dismissal off Shami when Ireland needed him to stay till the end.
Andy Balbirnie, one of Ireland’s most successful batsmen in the tournament, made 24 before he swept Ashwin straight to Shami at square-leg.
The impressive associate Ireland must now beat rejuvenated Pakistan on March to qualify for quarterfinals.