World Twenty20: Watson steers Australia past potential Irish banana skin
Ireland 123-7 Australia 125-3 (Australia win by 7 wickets)
There are 18 varieties of banana in Sri Lanka. The fruit is an integral part of the economy and of growing significance in a series of cottage industries.
What this means for the World Twenty20, in which several smaller cricketing teams are lining up in the group stages against the big beasts of cricket, is that there are abundant skins to slip up on. Among the cognoscenti, there is a feeling of inevitability that it will happen.
Australia went into their Group A match against Ireland yesterday in a deeply apprehensive state. Their coach, Micky Arthur, admitted that he would sleep much better after the match than before it.
In the event, his concern was overdone if not misplaced. Ireland, who were briefly above Australia in the ICC world rankings last month, rather let themselves down when confronted by their opponents' firepower and they were defeated by seven wickets with all of 29 balls unused.
The loss of a wicket to the first ball of the match – their captain, William Porterfield – and of three more before the eighth over made a genuinely competitive total unattainable. In the event, they did well to detain Australia as long as they did in making the 124 runs needed to win.
Having started with such authority, Australia simply had too much nous for their opponents. Now ranked ninth in the world, one place above Ireland in a table of 11, they were never imperilled despite some batting carelessness as the winning line approached.
A partnership of 52 from 44 balls between the O'Brien brothers, Kevin and Niall, repaired some but not all the early damage for Ireland. They have long been a properly robust unit of cricketers, neither cowed nor cocky but able to hold their own.
Eight of their number played for English counties in the recent season, including all their top six. They will be annoyed to have given quite such a moderate account of themselves.
Australia began at a lick with 44 from five overs, 19 of them in the fourth by which time it was as good as over. Shane Watson, who opened the bowling and took 3 for 26, also chipped in with the bat, bashing his way to 51 from 31 balls which included three sixes.
He was run out by a direct hit, not sensing the danger quickly enough in dashing for a single. All this did was extend proceedings a little more as Australia contented themselves with cantering to the line.
Berbatov flees Bulgaria following kidnap threat
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund player ratings: Who was the star man at the Emirates? Alexis Sanchez? Santi Cazorla? Or Yaya Sanogo?
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Per Mertesacker delighted with defensive display
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund match report: Yaya Sanogo and Alexis Sanchez are on target as Gunners secure impressive victory
This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 1 'Kidnapped boy may have been abused and murdered by VIP paedophile ring,' say police
- 2 Ridley Scott on Exodus, Gods and Kings casting: 'I'm not going to get it financed if my lead actor is Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such'
- 3 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
- 4 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 5 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Exclusive: UK approved £7m Israeli arms sales in six months before Gaza conflict