Australia Off To Winning Start Against Ireland

Australia Off To Winning Start Against Ireland
Australia Off To Winning Start Against Ireland
©REUTERS / Action Images

Australia 125-3 (Watson 51) beat
Ireland 123-7 (Watson 3-26) by 7 wickets
ICC World Twenty20 2012, Group B, Colombo
Report by Chetan Narula in Colombo

Colombo got into the ICC World Twenty20 2012 groove with action in Group B. Ireland and Australia, neighbours on the ICC rankings, faced off at the R. Premadasa Stadium, the latter winning by seven wickets.

Irish captain William Porterfield won the toss and elected to bat first. The idea was to get runs on the board and put some pressure on Australia, who had been quite vocal about the threat from their opponents. However it didn't really work out in that manner.

Shane Watson opened the bowling and gave his side a rousing start. Porterfield hooked the first ball and was out caught at fine leg, for a duck. It brought forth a slow start for his side and things kept going downhill. Mitchell Starc removed Paul Stirling for just seven runs and Ed Joyce, having gotten a start, miscued a hit straight down David Warner's throat.

He scored 16 off 18 balls and was guiltier than Porterfield of playing a bad shot. To make matters worse, 41-year-old Brad Hogg then removed Gary Wilson in his very first over.

At 33 for four in the eighth over, Ireland were down in the dumps. But then the O'Brien brothers came together at the crease and displayed exactly what was expected from their team prior to the match. They played themselves in, at least in accordance to the circumstances, picking runs whenever the opportunity presented itself. In 7.1 overs, they put on 52 runs, inclusive of seven fours in their last 21 balls together.

Just when Ireland were dreaming of a 140-plus total, Watson came back into the attack and removed both batsmen in the space of four balls. Niall O'Brien was bowled for 20 runs off 24 balls (two fours). Kevin followed soon after, caught behind by Mathew Wade, top-scoring with 35 runs off 29 balls (five fours).

At 86 for six in the 15th over, Australia pulled back any damage done. Starc then bowled Trent Johnston for seven runs, preventing him from adding any quick runs in the company of Alex Cusack, who was unbeaten on 15 from 14 balls (one four).

Nigel Jones’ 14 off 10 balls (one four) propped the score to 123 for seven from 20 overs. Watson finished with three for 26 from his four overs and Starc with two for 20. Hogg (one for 22) and Maxwell (one for 12) rounded up a well-organised bowling display.

In reply, Australia started strongly, never looking in any kind of bother. Warner and Watson chugged along at fine pace, in no hurry to score runs.

At best they were looking to spend as much time at the crease as possible and that paid dividends, the duo putting up 60 runs for the first wicket. The runs came in only 42 balls, after which George Dockrell had Warner caught in the deep.

He scored 26 off 23 balls, and more importantly was out to spin bowling once again. Maybe Ireland missed a trick in that they didn't open the attack with him. It didn't matter however as Watson continued plundering runs, completing his half-century off only 28 balls.

He was run out in the 11th over, for 51 runs off 30 balls (five fours, three sixes), and it turned out to be a minor wobble as Mike Hussey was out LBW in the same over as well.

At that juncture, only 29 runs were needed for victory and Australia got them with 29 balls to spare. Cameron White took them home with 22 off 19 balls (three fours). Kevin O'Brien (one for 18) and Dockrell (one for 31) were the only wicket-takers.
© Cricket World 2012

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