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HomeSportT20 World Cup: Finch’s fifty helps Australia thrash Ireland, keep semifinal hopes...

T20 World Cup: Finch’s fifty helps Australia thrash Ireland, keep semifinal hopes alive

Australia rode on captain Aaron Finch’s 63 (44b, 5×4, 3×6) to beat Ireland by 42 runs in Brisbane on Monday to boost its hopes of reaching the semifinals of the T20 World Cup. 

High on confidence after defeating England in Melbourne, Ireland put faith in its bowling line-up and asked Australia to bat at the Gabba.

Things started well for the Men in Green as Barry McCarthy struck with the first ball of the third over, David Warner’s attempted pull was caught by Mark Adair at the short fine leg. 

However, Finch set the tone of the game after starting cautiously, relying mostly on singles. His first boundary came on the penultimate ball of the fourth over when he made the most of Joshua Little’s back of length delivery. Finch hit Adair for a four and a six in the following over, to slowly rebuild the innings with Mitchell Marsh. 

With the team’s total at just 38 runs after the PowerPlay, Marsh accelerated with two sixes in the seventh over off Fionn Hand. Even after the end of a 52-run stand between Marsh and Finch, and Glenn Maxwell’s early dismissal, the Australian captain held fort. 

Marcus Stoinis provided support to the skipper, and the duo ensured there were no further slip-ups. Stoinis slammed a six and a four as Australia picked up 16 runs from Gareth Delany’s over, the 14th of the innings. 

Australia vs Ireland: Highlights and Full Scorecard

The next over was worse for Ireland – despite McCarthy almost pulling off a stunning boundary catch – as Adair conceded five wides, two fours, and a six of the last ball, which brought Finch’s 50. 

The Aussie opener finally holed out to Adair, stationed at long-on, off a McCarthy full toss with Australia at 153 for four. Stoinis’ innings, too, ended soon, but Matthew Wade and Tim David picked up 17 runs from the final over to take the team’s total to 179 for five. 

Pat Cummins and Glenn Maxwell made early inroads for Australia. A shuffling Andrew Balbirnie lost his timber to Cummins, while Maxwell dented Ireland by picking two wickets. Paul Stirling hit one straight to Cummins, and Harry Tector pulled another to Steve Smith after hitting a boundary. 

Mitchell Starc joined the party as he bowled Curtis Campher through the gate and then rattled George Dockrell’s stumps to leave Ireland reeling at 25 for five. 

Lorcan Tucker remained unbeaten on 71 but could only take his team to 137 runs.
| Photo Credit: AFP

Lorcan Tucker (71 n.o, 48b, 9×4, 1×6), however, took the fight to the Aussies. He hit Starc for back-to-back fours in the 12th over and even as wickets tumbled at the other end, he smashed Josh Hazlewood over the long-on boundary to bring his half-century. 

As Starc came in for the 17th over, Tucker welcomed him with three boundaries and a couple of twos to pick 18 runs. 

Ireland needed 44 from 18 deliveries, but its hopes were dashed as the team lost two quick wickets in McCarthy and Little, handing Australia a much-needed win. 

The defending champion is now second in the table with five points, but its Net Run Rate is still in the negative (-0.30). 

Ahead of the remaining group league games, fitness is a concern for Australia. Finch did not field for more than half the innings due to a hamstring injury, and a similar problem kept Tim out of the field. Stoinis, too, kept going in and out while fielding. 

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