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Australia shell shock Ireland

cricket Updated: Apr 17, 2007 19:31 IST
Anjali Behl
Anjali Behl
HindustanTimes.com
Highlight Story

The mighty Australians crusaded to the World Cup semi-finals with a nine-wicket win against Ireland in the Super Eight match at the Kensington Oval on Friday.

The World Champions skittled Ireland for 91 in 30 overs before easily overhauling the target with more than 37 overs to spare.

The only feather in the minnows' cap was the wicket of Adam Gilchrist in the ninth over off skipper Trent Johnston's bowling. The batsman returned at 34 against Johnston's 'Irish jig' .

Andrew Symonds was the next man in, who paired with Michael Hussey to reach the target in 12.2 overs. The brief innings saw eight boundaries and two sixes as Australia earned 10 points from the second-stage and became the first team to ensure their last-four qualification.

The formidable duo of Shaun Tait (3-39) and Glenn McGrath (3-17) left the Cup debutants reeling within five overs by sharing four wickets.

While the minnows were evidently intimidated by the opponents, the Aussies did their best to manifest authority and build pressure from the start. They bullied the meek Irish side with fierce bowling, though offering unwilled runs through umpteen wide deliveries.

Holders Australia got an easy lead in the game as speedster McGrath removed opener Jeremy Bray in the last ball of the first over. Tait followed suit to trap William Porterfield before packing Niall O'Brien in his next delivery.

Matthew Hayden caught an easy catch at first slip to remove Eoin Morgan for nought off McGrath's bowling. Brad Hogg caught the ball to dismiss Andrew White off the veteran pacer's delivery, who threw an awful bouncer on the batsman's head in his previous over.

Stuart Clark, playing in his first match of the World Cup, took his first wicket when Brad Hodge caught Kevin O'Brien for 16. Johnston, who hoped to steer the side to a humble total, made 17 before he was clean-bowled by Tait with the total on 54 in the 17th over.

John Mooney, Kevin O'Brien and skipper Johnston offered some resistance, but failed to help the side touch the 100-run milepost. The tailenders returned to the pavilion in quick succession as Ireland were all out with 20 overs remaining.

Australia won the toss and invited Ireland to bat in the David versus Goliath match in Barbados. Ireland captain Trent Johnston, yet to win a toss at the World Cup, said Peter Gillespie was dropped and replaced by medium pacer John Mooney.

The World champions dropped Nathan Bracken and recalled Stuart Clark against the last-placed Ireland, who have not won any of their four matches in the Super Eight stage.

Teams

Australia: Ricky Ponting (captain), Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist, Michael Clarke, Andrew Symonds, Michael Hussey, Brad Hodge, Brad Hogg, Stuart Clark, Shaun Tait, Glenn McGrath.

Ireland: Jeremy Bray, William Porterfield, Eoin Morgan, Niall O'Brien, Kevin O'Brien, Trent Johnston (captain), Andrew White, John Mooney, Kyle McCallan, David Langford-Smith, Boyd Rankin. Umpires: Billy Bowden, New Zealand, and Rudi Koertzen, South Africa.