Ireland's cricketers suffer heavy defeat to Australia on South Africa tour

Barry Chambers reports

BY Newstalk 20:56 Tuesday 27 September 2016, 20:56 27 Sep 2016

Ireland's South Africa odyssey ended much as it had begun with a heavy defeat against world class opposition in Benoni on Tuesday afternoon.

Sunday's 206-run reverse against the host nation was followed by a nine wicket defeat at the hands of world champions Australia as the Irish again struggled to keep pace.

To be fair, things started much more brightly for William Porterfield and with the benefit of hindsight the Ireland captain decided discretion would be the better of valour this time-opting to bat first on winning the toss.

The skipper and Paul Stirling got proceedings under way against a new-look Australian attack and the openers fared quite well; putting on 47 before Scott Boland provided the breakthrough.

Stirling had made a typically aggressive 30 (5 fours and a six) before being caught by Adam Zampa, but John Anderson looked in good touch as he picked up the mantle.

He and his skipper took the total to 72, but Zampa then struck in his own right, trapping Porterfield for 24.

Gary Wilson joined Anderson at that point and the pair had added 49 when the latter was perhaps harshly adjudged lbw to Boland for 39- his highest score to date at ODI level.

Unfortunately for Ireland that was to be as it got at 121 for 2, losing five wickets for 37 runs, with only Kevin O'Brien (23) and a couple of late cameos from Tim Murtagh (15) and Barry McCarthy (13) holding the Aussies up.

A final total of 198 all out was far from embarrassing, however it was to be of little concern for Steve Smith's men either.

David Warner and Usman Khawaja got the reply going in some style with Warner in particular looking to cut loose at any opportunity as they raced to 72 for 0 after 8.4 overs.

It seemed as if Ireland were destined for the maximum defeat early on, however Tim Murtagh (1-21) at least ensured that stigma was avoided as he had Warner caught and bowled for 48 (5 fours 2 sixes).

Murtagh and Kevin O'Brien looked by some way the best of the bowling but elsewhere, Khawaja and skipper Smith picked Ireland off at will.

An unbeaten stand of 126 between those two brought a decisive end to another tough day for the visitors.

Khawaja got the Man of the Match accolade with 8 fours and 2 sixes in his 82 while Smith added 59 (6 fours and a six).

Ireland now have an extended break - their next scheduled series being a multi-format series against Afghanistan in India next March.

At Benoni, Australia beat Ireland by 9 wickets.

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