Aussies slump, Ireland shine in topsy-turvy T20

Mighty Australia were dumped out of the World Twenty20 while little Ireland qualified for the Super Eights as the tournament was turned upside down at Trent Bridge on Monday.

By (AFP)

Published: Tue 9 Jun 2009, 11:33 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 8:48 AM

Australia, the world champions in the 50-over format, lost their second successive match, suffering a six-wicket defeat to Sri Lanka following their seven-wicket loss in Group C on Saturday to the West Indies.

Bangladesh were another Test-playing nation saying their goodbyes to the competition when they were beaten by six wickets by Ireland, the same side they lost to at the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean.

Ireland qualify for the Super Eights along with India, who defeated Bangladesh in their opener, from Group A.

Skipper Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan hit half-centuries as Sri Lanka sent Australia packing.

Australia, asked to bat by Sangakkara in his first match as captain, managed only 159-9 as mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis and fast bowler Lasith Malinga claimed three wickets each.

Opener Dilshan then plundered 53 off 32 balls and left-handed Sangakkara made an unbeaten 55 to fire Sri Lanka home with six deliveries to spare.

Jehan Mubarak hit 21 not out to keep his captain company till the end, which came when Australian seamer Mitchell Johnson sent down a wide off the first delivery of the final over.

“It’s disappointing to go out of the tournament and I can’t explain why,” said Australia captain Ricky Ponting.

“The training was spot-on and there was a good attitude in the group. But in the big moments we haven’t been able to play and we made too many mistakes.

“Now we have to move on as quickly as possible and focus on the Ashes.”

Sangakkara, whose team join the West Indies in the next stage, said it was crucial to have the confidence they could win.

“It was a great performance. When you play against Australia the key is to believe you can win,” he said.

Trent Johnston and the O’Brien brothers combined to help Ireland send Bangladesh crashing out.

Johnston, the burly Australian-born seamer, grabbed 3-20 in his opening spell with the new ball to restrict Bangladesh to a modest 137-8 after Ireland elected to bowl under overcast skies at Trent Bridge.

The O’Brien brothers, Niall and Kevin, ensured the Irish did not falter when it mattered most with the bat to lead their side home with 10 balls to spare.

Niall made 40 off 25 balls, while Kevin completed the easy win with an unbeaten 39 off 17 balls that included four boundaries and two sixes.

“Ireland bowled and fielded better than us. We just didn’t bat very well at all,” said disappointed Bangladesh skipper Mohammad Ashraful.

Ireland’s man of the match Niall O’Brien admitted the cool conditions helped his side.

“We were hoping it would be chilly and overcast and that suited us,” he said.

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