A man of the match performance from Shane Watson ensured a dominant victory for Australia over fellow ICC T20 ranking cellar dwellers and cricketing minnows Ireland, in their opening T20 World Cup match in Sri Lanka last night. Australia contained Ireland to a slim 7/123 with Watson staring with the bat and ball, nabbing 3/26 before belting 51 from 30 balls as the Aussies reached their target with 29 deliveries to spare.
The victory may not have thrown the Australian team up as Cup favorites just yet but it’s a good start to their campaign. Given the publicity the team has received in regard to their ranking and increased possibility of upsets in the T20 form, the Ireland game had the danger of derailing the campaign before the get-go. It means a lot more to lose against Ireland than it does to beat them as Watson stated:
We knew if we were really up for it, which we certainly were, that we were going to give ourselves the best chance of not having that tag of getting beaten by Ireland.
via Fox Sports
Far less convincing last night were India, with the former World Cup champs given a scare on the way to their 23 run victory over Afghanistan. Set an imposing target of 159, the Afghanis threw caution to the wind and were on track to cause the first major upset of the tournament before a late innings collapse saw them fall short.
Next up, Australia take on the West Indies on Saturday night.
Pictures by Lakruwan at Getty Images