MELBOURNE, Oct 31 (Reuters) – Aaron Finch returned to form in time for a half-century but finished under an injury cloud as Australia eased to a 42-run victory over Ireland in the World T20 on Monday to keep their semi-final hopes alive. alive.
Captain Finch’s 63 off 44 balls helped the champions post a total of 179 for five at the Gabba in Brisbane before Mitchell Starc-led Australia gave Ireland a scare on Halloween.
Australia move up to second in Group 1 behind leaders New Zealand, with a game in hand, but the hosts missed a golden chance to extend their run above third-placed England after reducing Ireland to 25 for five early on.
A heroic, unbeaten 71 from Lorcan Tucker took Ireland to 137 before they were bowled out after 18.1 overs.
Tucker was dropped on 35 by Pat Cummins, leaving bowler Starc furious.
“We just didn’t get it in the right place (for Tucker),” Starc said.
“We take what we catch and we can sit here and talk about how we got back on the run or whatever.”
However, with the top two teams progressing to the semi-finals, the pressure is on England’s Jos Buttler to knock out unbeaten New Zealand at one point on Tuesday.
Australia have other injury worries besides Finch, who has spent much of the season chasing Ireland off the field.
Sixth batsman Tim David was also sidelined with a muscle strain.
All-rounder Marcus Stoinis was out and out on the field despite scoring 35 and taking a wicket in his one over.
Finch said he hoped to be fit for Australia’s Super 12 final against Afghanistan in Adelaide on Friday, but the captain has a history of hamstring problems.
“That doesn’t feel too bad at the moment but it’s just that they might get stronger at night,” said the fat man.
A strong performance resulted in a victory for the hosts in front of a crowd full of fans in Halloween costumes.
After a slow and uncharacteristic 31 not out against Sri Lanka in Perth, Finch started with the bat but grew in confidence in partnership with Mitchell Marsh (28) and Stoinis.
He brought up fifty-six in a terrific season for Ireland all-rounder Mark Adair, who bowled five all-rounders and conceded 26 runs before finishing with abysmal figures of 0-59.
Ireland’s Barry McCarthy had the better night with 3-29 and leapt over the rope to take a stunning catch off Stoinis and save Adair for four runs when he bowled the ball backwards before settling.
Left-hander Starc wasn’t called into action until the fourth over of Ireland’s chase but made an immediate impact, bowling Curtis Campher and George Dockrell for ducks with delicious pace and swing.
That reduced Ireland to 25 for five but it was to be the key for Starc and Australia as Tucker dragged them into a grind that could ultimately prove costly if the run-rates decided.
Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Edited by Christian Radnedge
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