Australian players celebrate after the win over Ireland© AFP

Australia got their Twenty20 World Cup defence back on track with a 42-run win over Ireland  at the Gabba in Brisbane on Monday. Ireland, chasing Australia’s 179-5, were all out for 137 in the 19th over to put Australia level on five points with leaders New Zealand, who have a game in hand, at the top of Group 1. England, who play New Zealand on Tuesday, are third, two points behind Australia but with a superior net run rate, a factor that could become crucial in a tight group.

Ireland, also on three points, had outside hopes of reaching the semi-finals before the match but they were blown away in the chase by the pace and inswing of Mitchell Starc and then by the scoreboard pressure of their 180-run target. They slumped to 25-5 and handed the World Cup hosts a comfortable win despite a superb unbeaten 71 from Lorcan Tucker.


Australia captain Aaron Finch, who won the man of the match award for his 63 runs, said scoring had not been straightforward.

“It wasn’t the easiest wicket, it was a lot slower than what we expected,” Finch said. “They changed their pace really well and bowled a lot of cutters early in the innings. It was hard to get a rhythm and we did well to get 179.”

Earlier Finch had stormed back into form with his 44-ball knock which contained five fours and three sixes, answering critics who had called for him to be dropped after a poor run with the bat.

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