India [ Images ] 'A' thrashed Ireland by eight wickets to round off their league engagements with an all-win record in the EurAsia Series limited-overs cricket tournament in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday night.
Delhi [ Images ] opener Shikhar Dhawan [ Images ] struck an unbeaten 91 to guide the Indians past a modest target of 183 with more than 15 overs to spare in the Group 'C' second league phase encounter at the Sheikh Zayed stadium.
India now await the winners of Group 'D' in the final, to be played on May 5.
Despite being asked to chase under lights, for the first time in the tournament, India made light of the task, thanks to Dhawan's uninhibited stroke-play.
"I played the ball on its merit. It was quite different to bat under the lights, but it is good that we did because it will be helpful in case we need to bat second in the final," Dhawan, who received US $2600 for being the man of the match, said.
The left-hander, who has scored a hundred and two fifties in the previous three innings in the tournament, smashed 13 boundaries in his 96-ball innings.
He put on 55-runs for the opening wicket with Robin Uthappa [ Images ], whose promising innings was cut short at 25 when he clipped Whelan straight to mid-on.
Dhawan then found good support in captain Venugopala Rao, who made 33 from 45 balls with five fours and a six while adding 65 runs for the second wicket.
The winning runs came fittingly from Dhawan, a rousing boundary off spinner Britton.
Earlier, pacemen Rudra Pratap Singh and Shib Shankar Paul took three wickets each as Ireland struggled to make the most of the advantage of the toss.
"We did not convert out starts. We played some loose shots and threw away our wickets. We should have put up a bigger total," said Ireland captain William Porterfield.
R P Singh finished with figures of 3 for 22 while Paul claimed 3-28.
John Mooney was the top-scorer for Ireland with a 61-ball 41 which included five boundaries while Kevin O'Brien was the other notable performer with a defiant 36 which came off 66 balls.
The two Irish openers JAM Molins and C Amstrong played cautiously as they sought to negotiate the Indian pace bowlers on a good batting track.
But Paul provided the breakthrough by getting rid of Molins with a gem of a delivery which saw his stumps being dislodged.
From then on, the Indians managed to get wickets at regular intervals before the innings folded up in 43.3 overs.
J Molins b Paul 13
C Armstrong b Sodhi 13
W Porterfield c Chawla b Jadeja 16
G Wilson c Paul b Chawla 17
M Fourie b Chawla 10
J Mooney lbw b RP Singh [ Images ] 41
K O'Brien c Kaarthick b Paul 36
D Simpson b RP Singh 0
R Whelan c Chawla b Paul 2
T Britton not out 6
G Kidd b RP Singh 0
Extras: (lb 15, w 5, nb 4) 24
Total: (all out, 43.3 overs) 178
Fall of wickets: 1-26, 2-33, 3-70, 4-76, 5-82, 6-168, 7-170, 8-172, 9-174.
Bowling: Rudra Pratap Singh 6.3-1- 22-3, Shib Shankar Paul 9-1-28-3, Reetinder Singh Sodhi 5-0-27-1, Piyush Chawla 8-0-39-2, Ravinder Jadeja [ Images ] 8-1-16-1, Subramaniam Badrinath [ Images ] 5-0-19-0, Rohit Sharma [ Images ] 2-0-12-0.
R Uthappa c Kidd b Whelan 25
S Dhawan not out 91
Y V Rao c Kidd b Fourie 33
S Badrinath not out 18
Total: (for 2 wkts, 34.1 overs) 186
Fall of wickets: 1-55, 2-120.
Bowling: Whelan 7-0-27-1, Mooney 3-0-21-0, O'Brien 5-0-25-0, Fourie 6-1-28-1, Kidd 3-0-26-0, Simpson 6-0-27-0, Britton 4.1-0-30-0.