Watson steamrolls Ireland

Australia

Australia's 2012 World Twenty20 Group B campaign enjoyed an authoritative start on the back of Monday's seven-wicket win over Ireland in Colombo.

Australia's 2012 World Twenty20 Group B campaign enjoyed an authoritative start on the back of Monday's seven-wicket win over Ireland in Colombo.

The Irish's bid to celebrate the one-year anniversary of their rugby counterparts' famous World Cup victory over the Australians failed entirely, instead extending their lack of success in the WT20 to seven successive defeats.

Captain William Porterfield's choice to bat first amounted to a disappointing final total of 123 for seven, and would have read considerably poorer were it not for the brotherly effort of Kevin and Niall O'Brien.

The O'Brien siblings put on 52 for the fifth wicket, sparking an otherwise pedestrian innings initially marred by the losses of Porterfield, Paul Stirling and Ed Joyce inside the opening six overs.

Australia's choice to open the attack with Shane Watson worked a treat, with the seamer enjoying big bounce on a lively pitch. Deployed across three spells, Watson finished with figures of three for 26, though he will be the first to admonish himself for the lone six and solitary wide of the innings conceded in the final over.

The Aussies' reply needed no more than 15.1 overs to fetch triumph, with Man of the Match Watson again at the fore, blazing a brisk 51 from 30 balls, all of five boundaries and a trio of towering sixes included.

Their quest enjoyed a characteristically quick start thanks to the big-hitting efforts of David Warner and Watson, who ensured the impetus with a 60-run alliance in one delivery more than seven overs.

Warner became only the third cricketer to reach 1,000 T20I runs in the process, joining New Zealand's Brendon McCullum and England's Kevin Pietersen.

There was nothing merciful about the right-handed Watson's approach, which resigned Ireland's new-ball attack to all corners of the R Premadasa Stadium oval. Australia's victory would have arrived considerably quicker had he not perished in the 11th over.

What Michael Hussey's 10 couldn't complete, skipper George Bailey's unbeaten 22 and Cameron White's six not out did, as triumph arrived with a whopping 29 balls to spare.

A rather flat Ireland unit had a lot less in their tank than the pre-match build-up suggested, with their hopes of an upset victory dashed by a thoroughly professional opposition.

Wednesday's result avenged Australia's recent slip below Ireland in the T20I rankings, but Bailey and coach Mickey Arthur will know it's going to take a lot more than a cakewalk against a minnow nation to trump their fellow favourites, West Indies, on Saturday.

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