Australia beat Ireland by 42 points to move above England in the T20 World Cup Super 12.
Aaron Finch scored 63 as Australia finished on a tough 179-5 as Ireland were bowled out for 137 in Brisbane.
Australia lost the toss and scored first. A good partnership between captain Finch and Marcus Stoinis laid a solid foundation for Australia as Finch eventually scored 63 off 44 and Stoinis 35 off 25.
Irish players Barry McCarthy and Joshua Little also took five wickets for their side, but the Irish batting collapsed quickly. They were tied for the loss of five wickets while scoring 25 runs.
Lorcan Tucker’s 71 off 48 balls was not enough to deny Australia.
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Finch returned to form but the Irish bowlers were stunned
The Australian captain has struggled for runs in this World Cup. He struggled against Sri Lanka despite batting losses during the innings and started the same against Ireland.
But a huge six, the third-biggest six in the World Cup, seemed to have returned to form. He scored a half-century when Australia were all out for 179
Finch and Stoinis looked set to win the match against Ireland, but the bowlers struggled to pick up wickets at the end of the innings.
A late surge from Matthew Wade and Tim David helped Australia score over 180, but an in-form Ireland with Paul Stirling and Tucker looked like they could chase down the score.
Tucker impresses but an early collapse proves costly
The Irish openers started well in the first two overs but Glenn Maxwell took two wickets in his opener including the dangerous Stirling.
Ireland were 25-5 at one stage but Tucker led a fightback. He was in great form in Australia and showed his range of shots throughout his rounds.
The hit would have disappointed Australia, who were looking for a big win to help improve their net run rate.
They needed 75 runs to improve England’s net run rate and at one point looked like they were on course for a big win.
Tucker scored an unbeaten 71 runs off 48 balls and England may have an advantage.
David Warner was ruled out for Australia and Finch limped off at mid-wicket. The fitness of two key players will be a concern for Australia ahead of the final match against Afghanistan on Friday.
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Finch and Balbirnie Kudos Tucker
The Australian captain, who was named player of the match, said: “It wasn’t the easiest wicket, it was a lot slower than we thought. Right from the beginning it was difficult to get the rhythm.
“The dressing room support is amazing and T20 is a high risk game. When they went to play wide and missed, it was probably a little easier. You should have been comfortable making the sleeves a little deeper. .
“It’s a big game for both teams (England v New Zealand) and it would have been nice to get it (net run rate) going but they played brilliantly in the middle. Tucker played a shot.
Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie seemed to have his team throughout the game but lost too many wickets at key stages.
“Not fighting hard, it could have gotten away from us. At last we fought. Looking at the scoreboard, we felt that the score was not against us, it was just the wicket column. He (Tucker) had a great World Cup and those wickets suit him,” he said.
What’s next in Group 1?
Australia moved into second place with the win but could drop to third if England beat New Zealand on Tuesday.
If Jos Buttler’s side defeat the Black Caps, the top three teams will have five points ahead of the final round of fixtures at the weekend.
Ireland are still not out of action, but they know they are not in control. They face New Zealand on Friday, Australia take on Afghanistan in their final match and England take on Sri Lanka on Saturday.
Watch England v New Zealand live on Sky Sports Main Event and Cricket on November 1 from 7.30am.
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