Shikhar Dhawan cracked a scintillating century as a rampaging India on Tuesday created a record winning their ninth consecutive ICC Cricket World Cupmatch by demolishing Ireland by eight wickets to seal the top spot in the Group-B table.
Chasing a respectable Ireland total of 259, opener Shikhar Dhawan (100 off 85 balls) sent the Irish bowlers on a leatherhunt en route his eighth ODI hundred as the defending champions reached the target in 36.5 overs to record their fifth consecutive win in this tournament.
With Rohit Sharma (64, 66 balls) for company, Dhawan added a record 174 runs for the opening wicket to set the platform as India took the top position in group B with 10 points from five games.
While Dhawan had 11 fours and five sixes in his innings, Rohit’s second half century in the tournament had three fours and three effortless sixes.
It turned out to be an extended batting practice session for the ‘Men In Blue’ as they toppled the previous eight-match winning streak record of Sourav Ganguly-led team in 2003. India’s nine-match record started from their group league game against West Indies at Chennai back in 2011.
While 260 was not a tall order for India’s formidable batting line-up, the flat deck at the Seddon Park made the life for inexperienced Irish pacers even more difficult.
O’Brien-Porterfield duo then added 53 runs for the third wicket. The Irish captain, who has had a quiet tournament so far, got his 50 off 65 balls as O’Brien also played himself in not taking too many chances initially.
Porterfield was out trying to whip a Mohit delivery over deep mid-wicket but only got a leading edge for Umesh to run backwards from his mid-off position to take a nice catch.
It was after Porterfield’s dismissal that O’Brien took off. His first 20 runs came off 39 balls with two boundaries but he blasted his next 55 runs off 36 balls with five more boundaries and three big sixes to his credit.
In fact, he reached his 14th ODI half-century with a six over long-on off Ashwin. To celebrate the feat, he dispatched Jadeja over mid-wicket in the very next over while Yadav also got the same treatment with as many as 61 runs were added for the fifth wicket with Andy Balbirnie (24) in just 7.4 overs.
But once Balbirnie was dismissed by Ashwin trying to go for a sweep shot, the innings fell apart and the chances of reaching close to 300 was gone.