Australia and India cruise
By by Barry Wilkinson in Sri Lanka | Thu, September 20, 2012 - 12:04 AM
COLOMBO – The heavyweights continue to dominate the early rounds of the ICC Twenty20 Cricket World Cup.
Following Sri Lanka’s demolition of Zimbabwe on the opening night, Australia outclassed Ireland and India squeezed Afghanistan before 15 000 fans at the Premadassa Stadium in the capital yesterday.
The only thing Ireland got right was the toss. Their batting looked weak and they were a strike bowler short, hence they lost by seven wickets after posting only 123 for seven in 20 overs.
All-rounder Shane Watson was in full control from ball one. He removed William Porterfield with the very first ball of the day and went on to break partnerships by taking three for 26.
He returned with the bat and stroked a classy 51 to lead Australia home at 125 for three and 29 balls to spare.
Australia looked their old ruthless selves, even if the opponents weren’t top quality.
Openers Watson and David Warner emphasized just how quick the outfield was when they counted nine fours between them and three towering sixes in just seven overs. The experienced Craig White and George Bailey finished things off in style.
The West Indies would’ve been watching this match closely as they are in this group and must win at least one match to qualify for the Super 8s. They will face the Aussies Saturday at the same venue.
The Windies practised early and the squad remained upbeat even though they will be on ice in this tournament the longest. In fact, some teams will play two matches before they play one.
However, Afghanistan, like Ireland, also won the toss, but had nothing else to celebrate against a strong India side.
Even though the Afghans picked up two early wickets on bowling first, India’s classy Virat Kohli and the recovering Yuvraj Singh combined to set a suitable platform for the middle order to post a competitive total of 159 for five in 20 overs.
Afghanistan tried their best, but the medium-pace of Lakshmipathy Balaji and the left-arm spin of Singh was beyond them and they fell short by 23 runs, making 136 in 19.3 overs.
Kohli stroked the ball effortlessly and made his half century, including four fours and two sixes, off just 39 balls sharing a stand of 46 for the third wicket with Singh, who is back in the side after recovering from cancer. Suresh Raina chipped in with 38.
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