Brisbane, Oct 31 (IANS) Lorcan Tucker’s fighting knock (71 not out off 48) went in vain as Australia produced a clinical all-round performance to hammer Ireland by 42 runs in a Super 12 game and keep their semifinal hopes alive in the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup at the Gabba, here on Monday.
With this win, Australia pushed their net run rate up to -0.304, still below that of England, but they moved to the second spot in Group 1 standings with five points in four matches. On the other hand, Ireland are in fourth spot with three points.
Australia skipper Aaron Finch played an excellent knock of 63 from 44 deliveries to guide his team to a commanding total of 179/5 in 20 overs, after they were invited to bat first. Apart from Aaron, all-rounders Marcus Stoinis (35) and Mitchell Marsh (28) also made valuable contributions with the bat for the hosts.
Chasing a challenging total, skipper Andrew Balbirnie and Paul Stirling played some breathtaking shots to start off the Irish innings. They put on an opening stand of 18 runs within just two overs but the Australian bowlers made a quick recovery and destroyed Ireland’s top and middle order completely.
The collapse started with Andrew Balbirnie’s wicket as Pat Cummins cleaned him up with an excellent inswinger. But Ireland then lost two wickets in the third over to Glenn Maxwell and then another two in the fourth over to Mitchell Starc. These successive jolts left Ireland reeling at 25/5 and made it extremely difficult for them to get back into the contest.
The match seemed like heading towards an early finish when Ireland were reduced to 25/5 within the fourth over of the innings. But Tucker stepped up and played a brave knock to keep his team in the chase.
The 26-year-old paced his innings well and built crucial partnerships with Gareth Delaney and Mark Adair. He did the bulk of the scoring in both the stands and also in the ones that followed. Tucker got some support from the lower order, but in the end he was left with too much to do as Ireland were eventually bowled out for 137-10 in 18.1 overs, losing by 42 runs.
The likes of Glenn Maxwell (2/14), Adam Zampa (2/19), Pat Cummins (2/28), Mitchell Starc (2/43) claimed a couple of wickets each while Stoinis also chipped in with one scalp for Australia.
Earlier, Australia got off to a slow start as the Ireland bowlers used the conditions well to keep hosts quiet. Barry McCarthy dismissed David Warner in the third over of the innings before Australia could get any sort of momentum going.
Finch and Mitchell Marsh tried their best but they could take Australia to a score of 38/1 at the end of the powerplay.
Things changed soon, though. Marsh and Finch started taking on the bowlers after the powerplay and added the necessary impetus to the Australian innings. Finch was involved in two crucial partnerships of 52 and 70 with Marsh and Marcus Stoinis respectively, which helped Australia in getting to such a competitive total.
It was Barry McCarthy who brought an end to Finch’s knock while Stoinis also played a good innings of 35 from 25 deliveries. Matthew Wade and Tim David, who remained unbeaten on seven and 15 respectively, also added valuable runs towards the end.
Barry McCarthy (3/29) was the pick of the bowlers for Ireland, while left-arm pacer Josh Little (2/21) scalped two wickets.
Australia – 179 for 5 in 20 overs (Aaron Finch 63, Marcus Stoinis scored 35; Barry McCarthy 3/29) beat Ireland 137-10 in 18.1 overs (Lorcan Tucker 71 not out; Glenn Maxwell 2/14, Adam Zampa 2/19) by 42 runs.