Shane Watson has inspired Australia to victory in their first Twenty20 World Cup group game against Ireland.
Watson claimed 3-26 with the ball to limit Ireland to just 7-123 from their allotted 20 overs, before hitting 51 off just 30 deliveries to lead Australia to a seven-wicket win in Colombo.
Irish captain William Porterfield won the toss and elected to bat, however would have been regretting his decision immediately when he was dismissed with the first ball of the innings.
Watson’s unexpected bouncer forced Porterfield into a rash hook shot, which he hauled out to Mitchell Starc in the deep.
Wickets were tumbling on a consistent basis for Ireland, with Starc, Glenn Maxwell and even the 41-year-old Brad Hogg getting amongst the action.
When Watson dismissed both O’Brien brothers within the same over, Ireland had crumbled to 6-86 with just five overs remaining.
An unbeaten eighth-wicket stand of 22 from Alex Cusack and Nigel Jones helped restore some credibility to Ireland’s scorecard, however right from the off the measly target proved little for the Australian’s to handle.
Watson and Dave Warner’s opening partnership of 60 got the Aussies off to the perfect start. However Warner was soon sent packing when he was caught in the deep for 26.
Watson continued on his merry way, bringing up his half-century from just 28 balls with a big six over mid-wicket. His knock had included five 4s and three 6s, however it didn’t last much longer when he was run out moments later.
Mike Hussey was next to go when he was trapped in front by Kevin O’Brien, but Cameron White and captain George Bailey had no trouble in guiding the Australian’s to the 124-run target with 29-balls to spare.
Australia will now go into their next group against the West Indies full of confidence following their seven-wicket win.
Riley Beveridge is a first-year Sports Journalism student at La Trobe University. You can follow him on Twitter: @RileyBev.