Set just 124 to win, Australia eased to the win with opener Shane Watson scoring 51 off just 30 balls, including five fours and two sixes, before being spectacularly run out by Trent Johnston with the Aussies within sight of victory.
However, Watson’s dismissal just delayed the inevitable, and in the end, the beaten T20 finalists of 2010 coasted to an easy win.
Earlier in the day, Ireland won the toss and decided to bat, a decision immediately regretted by Irish captain William Porterfield, who hooked the first ball off Watson straight down Mitchell Starc’s throat at deep fine leg.
That set the early pattern for Ireland’s innings as they fell away to 33 for 4 by the eighth over, with Paul Sterling (seven) Ed Joyce (16) and Gary Wilson all quickly following their skipper back to the pavilion.
Kevin O’Brien joined his brother Niall in the middle and the pair at least showed some resistance to the Aussie attack, taking the score to 85 before Niall was bowled in the 15th over for 20 by Watson.
Kevin’s resistance was then broken, caught by wicketkeeper Matthew Wade off the bowling of Watson for 35.
Ireland were rescued somewhat from an embarrassing score at the end with a cameo from Nigel Jones (14 not out) and Alex Cusack (15 not out) which took Ireland to 123 for 7 from their 20 overs. Watson and David Warner opened the batting for Australia and made the best possible start, producing an opening stand of 60 before Warner fell in the eighth over for 26 off 24deliveries, caught in the deep by Kevin O’Brien off the bowling of George Dockrell.
Watson went on make his 50 but was run out in the 11th over by Johnston, who was fully 50 yards away when he brilliantly threw down the stumps from short third man.
Ireland’s final success came when Kevin O’Brien had Mike Hussey lbw for 10 in the 11th over, but that was as good as it got for Phil Simmons’ side as Cameron White and captain George Bailey saw Australia safely home in the 16th over. The Ireland captain rued his side’s poor start.
“We are a better side than that,” Ireland captain William Porterfield said. “The start wasn’t great, losing those four wickets pretty early.
“It set us off on the back foot and we needed to start off well to get us aplatform but it didn’t happen.”
Aussie skipper George Bailey said: mance. “I thought we started really well and Watto (Shane Watson) certainly led the charge with the ball and finished it off with the bat.”
Ireland have a mountain to climb if they are to qualify for the second phase of the competition, the Super Eight stage, as they now require a big win against the West Indies in their second and final Group B match on Monday, also in Colombo Australia themselves face the West Indies in the second match of the group tomorrow.