Australia wrapped up an easy win against minnows Ireland in their opening game at R. Premadasa stadium in Colombo and picked up their first two points. Ireland, known for their ability to upset bigger and strong giant killers didn’t challenge the Aussies too much and in the end it was a rather one-sided affair. Yet, this game had its share of special moments.
First ball wicket: A wicket off the first delivery has some magic of its own. It sets the tone of the game from the very beginning. Having won the toss and electing to bat first, Irish captain William Porterfield was faced by a rising delivery in the first ball of the match by Shane Watson. He couldn’t hold back and went after it, only to give an easy catch to Mitchell Starc at long leg. Ireland never seemed to recover after that dismissal.
Australia and the art of sledging: Who can beat Australia when it comes to chatting up with the opponent? The Aussies were at it again. David Warner, fielding at point, kept talking to Kevin O’Brien, trying to unsettle the big man. To Warner’s ill luck, O’Brien was giving it back and after a point, umpire Kumar Dharmasena had to intervene in the 12th over of the Ireland innings. The sledging continued at the start of the Australian innings, as Warner was back in the middle. Words were exchanged between Niall O’Brien, David Warner and Gary Wilson and the umpires had to intervene yet again.
First off the last: Ireland was completely out of sorts and weren’t scoring too freely. So much so that the first six of their innings came in the last over, a monstrous whack over deep square leg by Nigel Jones off the bowling of Shane Watson.
A game for the young, a game for the old: This game between Australia and Ireland was a perfect example of the fact that this game has no age bar. Both sides had their share of youngsters and veterans. While Australia fielded the 41-year old Brad Hogg, Ireland had 38-year old Trent Johnston among their ranks. Among youngsters, Australia had 19-year old Pat Cummins and Ireland had 20-year old George Dockrell.
All-round Watson: Shane Watson opened both batting and bowling for Australia, bringing back memories of Neil Johnson from Zimbabwe. Watson struck with his first delivery to send back opposition captain Will Porterfield and then packed off the O’Brien brothers who were starting to build a partnership towards the end. Watson then came out to open the innings with David Warner and scored a splendid half century, scoring 51 off 30 deliveries. This was the second time in T20 Internationals when Shane Watson scored a half century and picked 3 or more wickets.
One run short: In the 12th over of the Australian innings, Cameron White pulled a short delivery in front of square and the batsmen called for three. In a bid to complete the third run, Cameron White ended up running his second run short. If White was playing in a school level tournament and managed to do that, the coach would’ve probably benched him for the next two games and given him time to cool his excitement off. Don’t remember when such a school boy error was last committed on the field.