Watson blasts Australia to opening win
19/9/12- Australia 124-215 overs (Watson 51) beat Ireland 123-7 20 overs (K O’Brien 35, Watson 3-26) by 7 wickets @ Colombo
Australia have avoided a slip up, by comprehensively beating Ireland by 7 wickets in front of a small crowd in Colombo. Ireland batted firstand captain William Porterfield would have regretted that straight away, as Watson had him caught first ball of the game. The Irish top order fell away badly, with them restricted to 33-4 in the 8th, with Gary Wilson scoring just 5. The O’Brien brothers managed to add some respectability to the innings, putting on 52 for the 5th wicket, but Ireland were some way short of a good score, ending on 123-7 from their 20.
Watson and Warner got the Australia innings off to a great start, as they eased towards victory. Watson was playing particularly well, adding to his 3 wickets in the Ireland innings, but he did lose his partner when he was caught in the deep off Dockrell. But Watson took a liking to the Somerset man’s bowling, reaching his 50 off 28 balls with a big six. Watson did depart, followed quickly by Mike Hussey, but the victory was never in doubt, as White and Bailey led them home with 29 balls to spare.
A disappointing batting performance by Ireland, with several experienced players failing to make an impact. However, Australia did look very strong, and if Watson can continue with his current form, they will be a tough side to beat.
Man of the Match: Shane Watson was superb throughout the game, getting a wicket with the first ball, before condemning Ireland to defeat with the bat.
India win but Afghans not disgraced
19/9/12- India 159-5 20 overs (Kohli 50) beat Afghanistan 136 all out 19.3 overs (Nabi 31, Balaji 3-19) by 23 runs @ Colombo
India have overcome a potential banana skin, by beating Afghanistan by 23 runs this afternoon. The Afghan skipper Nawroz Mangal stuck India in, and they got a dream start when the left armer Shapoor Zadran removed both Gambhir and Sehwag inside 5 overs. Yuvraj helped the recovery until he was caught at third man, but India still had plenty of firepower left. However, when Kholi was dismissed for a quick fire 50, India struggled to reach the score that they had threatened to earlier. But MS Dhoni took 10 off the final two balls to take his side to a total of 159-5 from their 20 overs.
Afghanistan didn’t die wandering though, as they came out with an obvious intent of unsettling the Indian bowlers. But Big hitter Shahzad perished for 18, before Yuvraj removed the skipper for 22, Sadiq for 26, and Stanizkai for 6 as the required rate started to climb rapidly. They lost two more quick wickets, but with 4 overs to go, they were still in the game, needing 44 to win. However, when Nabi was dismissed for a well made 31, the game was all but up, and they were eventually all out for 136.
So a professional performance from India, against a far inferior opposition, but Afghanistan didn’t disgrace themselves, and on another day, they could have won the game. Their fielding let them down a lot, as they put down 4 chances, with at least 3 that should have been held, and England will have a tough test on Friday afternoon.
Man of the Match- Virat Kohli for his dynamic innings of 51. One of the most consistent players in the Indian team, and without him, they would have struggled today.