Shane Watson (L) is watched by his teammate Michael Hussey as he raises his bat to the crowd after scoring a half-century during the ICC Twenty20 Cricket World Cup match between Australia and Ireland at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. AFP Photo
Shane Watson produced a solid all-round performance as Australia launched their campaign in the ICC World Twenty20 with a seven-wicket thrashing of Ireland here on Wednesday.
Chasing a modest target of 124, the Aussies romped home in only 15.1 overs with the opening duo of Watson (51) and David Warner (26) having set the tone by adding 60 runs in the first seven overs in the opening Group B encounter at the R Premadasa Stadium.
Watson’s 51 came off 30 balls with help of five boundaries and three huge sixes. By the time he got run out at his team's total on 91, the result had become a mere formality.
Watson had earlier scalped three Ireland wickets for 26 runs — including the wickets of O'Brien brothers Kevin and Niall — from his four overs as Australia restricted their opponents to 123 for seven.
The target was never a problem for the formidable Aussies as Watson started the onslaught in the fourth over which was bowled by Trent Johnston.
After hitting the pacer for three boundaries, Watson flicked him over deep square leg for his first six.
The second six off Paul Stirling went over deep mid-wicket boundary. But the stand-out shot certainly was the one Watson hit off left-arm spinner George Dockrell to bring up his half century.
The batsman rocked back and muscled it into the deep mid-wicket stands. The ball rebounded off the balcony of the upper tier of the stadium.
Watson's 50 came off only 28 balls.
He was run-out immediately after that but not before he had taken his side on the verge of victory. The game was a bit of a grudge match too as Australia had slid below Ireland in the ICC Twenty20 Rankings.