Shane Watson led a strong Australian bowling performance to help Australia breeze past Ireland in their Twenty20 World Cup opener last night in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Ireland went with the bat first and set the Aussies a target of 124, but Australia lost just three wickets in their response, reaching the total with 29 deliveries to spare.
Despite the easy end result Ireland posed some risk involved for this Australia team. Somewhat of a cricketing nobody team, Ireland has won some impressive games in the last few years; they defeated Pakistan in 2007 and then England in 2011 despite the squad being made up of travellers and part-time pros.
Watson was man-of-the-match after taking three wickets for 26 runs and took out the crucial wickets of brothers Niall and Kevin O’Brien as the pair put together a 52 run stand around the 15th over. It came after Ireland found themselves down 4-33 early.
Watson was also deadly with the bat, hitting 51 from just 30 deliveries. Watson’s innings consisted of five 4s and three 6s while David Warner and Cameron White also chipped in with the bat, scoring 26 and 22 respectively. Mitchell Starc was the other Australia wicket taker nabbing two at the cost of 20 runs.
In other results, pre-tournament favourites India came up 23 run winners over Afghanistan after they produced 160 batting first.
England also encountered a close one against Pakistan, winning by 11 runs thanks in part to the bowling.
Jade Dernbach (3-14) and Danny Briggs (3-15) were big in preventing Pakistan reaching their target of 112 as they came close with a total of 96-9.
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Follow Robert White on Twitter @RobertWhitebrrr.