World Twenty20 Cricket: Shane Watson and Australians see off Irish challenge

Shane Watson: 'Set the tone'. Picture: Reuters
Shane Watson: 'Set the tone'. Picture: Reuters
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AUSTRALIA captain George Bailey was impressed by the way his side comfortably overcame Ireland in their first World Twenty20 Group B match in Colombo yesterday.

All-rounder Shane Watson inspired the Antipodeans to a straightforward seven-wicket victory in thematch, leading the way with both the ball and the bat. The 31-year-old took three wickets for 14 runs in his first three overs, before hitting 51 runs off just 31 balls at the crease to help Australia cruise to victory.

“He is not bad, is he?” Bailey said of Watson. “His fielding could probably improve a little.

“No [I am joking], he is a complete cricketer and I think the starts are so important for Twenty20s.

“He is bowling our first over, opening the batting and sets the tone for us. He was outstanding.

“I thought our fielding was a little sloppy. I thought we started really well, had them four down and then we just took our foot off the pedal a little bit. That is probably not good enough.”

But Bailey, a former Scottish Saltires player, added: “I am thrilled with that performance. I thought we started really well and Watto certainly led the charge with the ball and finished it off with the bat.”

The Aussies’ comfortable victory also saw Watson’s fellow opener David Warner become the third cricketer to hit 1,000 runs in international T20 cricket, following on from England’s Kevin Pietersen and Brendon McCullum of New Zealand.

Ireland skipper William Porterfield was less happy with a performance that saw him out for a duck to the first ball of the match.

“We are a better side than that,” the Ireland captain said. “The start wasn’t great, losing those four wickets pretty early.

“It set us off on the backfoot and we needed to start off well to get us a platform but it didn’t happen. “We manage to claw back, kept fighting and managed to pick up a couple of wickets down the middle so I can’t fault the lads for trying.”