ICC World Twenty20 2012: Australia crush Ireland – Shane Watson stars

Elementary for Watson as Aussies crush Ireland by seven wickets in T20 Group B opener

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UPDATED:

13:57 GMT, 19 September 2012

Shane Watson inspired Australia to a straightforward seven-wicket victory over Ireland in their opening World Twenty20 group match in Colombo.

The 31-year-old all-rounder took three wickets for 26 runs and, despite bowling a poor final over, helped restrict Ireland to 123 for seven.

Watson then took to the crease where
his 51 runs off 31 balls helped Australia secure victory in just the
16th over of the Group B match.

Wat a performance! The Aussie all-rounder starred with bat and ball in the clash with Ireland

Wat a performance! The Aussie all-rounder starred with bat and ball in the clash with Ireland

Australia v Ireland

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The comfortable win also saw fellow
opener David Warner become the third cricketer to hit 1,000 runs in
international T20 cricket, following Kevin Pietersen and Brendon
McCullum.

Ireland won the toss at Premadasa
Stadium and captain William Porterfield chose to bat – a decision he
would rue immediately as he hooked Watson's ball straight to Mitchell
Starc to go for for a duck.

Things did not get much better for the
minnows as the pair swapped roles to get Paul Stirling out in the
fourth over, before Ed Joyce was caught by Warner.

Bowled over: Watson took three wickets in his four overs, including Niall O'Brien (below)

Bowled over: Watson took three wickets in his four overs, including Niall O'Brien (below)

Bowled over: Watson took three wickets in his four overs, including Niall O'Brien (below)

Gary Wilson followed suit after being caught leg before by Brad Hogg to leave Ireland 33-4 two balls into the eighth over.

They responded well, though, and
picked up the run rate thanks to the partnership of brothers Kevin and
Niall O'Brien (35 and 20).

However, Watson nipped that in the bud by getting them both out in the 15th over to leave Ireland 86 for six.

Trent Johnston was next out but Watson bowled an expensive final over to see Ireland end on 123 for seven.

Quick-fire 50: Watson scored his half century from 30 deliveries, which included three sixes

Quick-fire 50: Watson scored his half century from 30 deliveries, which included three sixes

Quick-fire 50: Watson scored his half century from 30 deliveries, which included three sixes

Quick-fire 50: Watson scored his half century from 30 deliveries, which included three sixes

That score was no match for the
Antipodeans, though, as Warner racked up 26 runs – and a T20 milestone –
before being caught from a George Dockrell delivery.

It took until the 11th over for
opening partner Watson to get out, but he had already hit five fours and
three sixes during a mesmeric spell by the time he was thwarted by
excellent fielding from Johnston who threw down the stumps.

Mike Hussey went for 10 shortly
afterwards, but Cameron White and George Bailey produced a sturdy
partnership to Australia through to victory.

Futile: Ireland's big hitter - Kevin O'Brien - scored 35 off 29 deliveries

Futile: Ireland's big hitter – Kevin O'Brien – scored 35 off 29 deliveries