Colombo, Sep 19: Shane Watson's fine all-round performances (3/26 and 51) powered Australia to a commanding seven-wicket victory over Ireland in a Group C match at the ICC World Twenty20 2012 here on Wednesday night.
Watson, who opened the bowling and batting, first took three wickets to keep Ireland to 123/7 and returned to the field to smash a 30-ball 51 (5x4, 3x6).
The 31-year-old scored his eighth T20I fifty. The right-hander was deservedly the recipient of Man-of-the-match award.
As a result of his quick half century, Australia coasted to the target of 124 in 15.1 overs.
Watson and David Warner (26) again put on a half century partnership. It was their eighth 50 plus association for the first wicket in 26 innings. They also have two century stands.
In the process of reaching 26 today, Warner completed 1,000 T20 International runs. He is the third batsman after Brendon McCullum (New Zealand) and England's Kevin Pietersen.
Australian bowlers, led by Shane Watson, were in top form as they restricted Ireland to 123/7 in 20 overs.
Watson, who opened the bowling, dismissed Ireland captain William Porterfield off the first ball of the match. After this early jolt, Ireland never were allowed to score freely. However, O'Brien brothers Kevin and Niall brought some respectability to the total with a half century partnership for the sixth wicket. Kevin topscored with 35 while Niall made 20.
Watson finished with three wickets for 26 runs in his four overs. His figures were ruined in the final over of the innings as he gave away 12 runs including a six from Nigel Jones. Mitchell Starc took two wickets while Glenn Maxwell and Brad Hogg had one apiece.
Earlier, Ireland opted to bat first after winning the toss.
This is the second match of this year's World T20. On the opening day, Sri Lanka thrashed Zimbabwe by 82 runs, courtesy a record 6/8 by Ajantha Mendis in Hambantota.
Australia have won 26 of their 52 T20Is while Ireland have 15 victories in 28 games. In 2012, Australia have 3-3 record in 2012 in their seven T20Is. One was a tie. David Warner needs 22 runs to become the first Australian to reach 1,000 T20I runs.
Australia: George Bailey (captain), David Warner, Shane Watson, Matthew Wade (wicketkeeper), Michael Hussey, Cameron White, Daniel Christian, Glenn Maxwell, Brad Hogg, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins.
Ireland: William Porterfield (captain), Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Trent Johnston, Nigel Jones, Ed Joyce, Kevin O'Brien, Niall O'Brien, Boyd Rankin, Paul Stirling, Gary Wilson (wicketkeeper).
Umpires: Aleem Dar (Pakistan) and Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka)
Third umpire: Asad Rauf (Pakistan)
Fourth umpire: Simon Taufel (Australia)
Match Referee: Ranjan Madugalle (Sri Lanka)
Match starts 3.30 PM IST