Andy Balbirnie struck four sixes in a top score of 72 at Malahide yesterday but his one-man show was not enough to prevent India beating Ireland by 33 runs to take a winning 2-0 lead in the three-match T20 international series.

A strong performance in the field restricted India to 143-4 after 18 overs with Barry McCarthy taking two of the wickets for a miserly 14 runs, Craig Young returning a credible 1-29 from his four overs and leg spinner Ben White also impressing.

Unfortunately McCarthy’s final over, the 19th, disappeared for 22, including two big sixes, and Mark Adair was hit for three more at the death as India showed all their experience to post 185-5.

The difference between 165 - a realistic expectation with two overs to bowl - and 185 is massive and Ireland were soon in further trouble as Paul Stirling and Lorcan Tucker only survived seven balls between them, with neither scoring a run.

Harry Tector, the third of the big guns, fell for seven, but Balbirnie took the fight to the visitors striking five fours in addition to his maximums, and kept Ireland just about in the contest as he added 35 with Curtis Campher and 52 with George Dockrell.

A mix up at the end of the 15th over left Dockrell run out for 13 and Balbirnie followed four balls later for 72 from 51 balls, his highest score since giving up the white-ball captaincy after the failed World Cup qualifying campaign in Zimbabwe.

The last realistic hope departed with the former skipper, but Adair shone again in his new position at No 7, making 23 from 15 balls, including three sixes, before the innings petered out on 152-8.

“We know India are a skilled bowling attack and we have to be at our best,” Balbirnie said. “It’s kind of disappointing that it got away from us again but we're playing pretty good cricket. 

“The guys go out there and try to hit boundaries - some days it comes off and on others they get caught on the boundary. 

“Friday [in the rain] was a bizarre situation with only two runs in it, and we also ran them close last year. We feel we can beat them.”

The Boys in Green will have another chance to notch that first win over India on Wednesday, again at Malahide.