The unlikely figure of Ireland’s Lorcan Tucker did England a World Cup favour on Monday in defeat when he ensured Australia’s net run-rate did not exceed Jos Buttler’s side even in a 42-run victory here at the Gabba.
Tucker made an unbeaten 71 as Ireland were dismissed for 137 in response to Australia’s five for 179 but, potentially crucially, England retained a better net run-rate ahead of their make or break clash against New Zealand in Brisbane tomorrow.
Australia were on course for the victory by 75 runs or more that would have seen them move ahead of England not just on points but also on net run-rate when they reduced Ireland to 91 for seven.
Australia beat Ireland by 42 runs in Brisbane to keep their T20 World Cup hopes alive
But Australia captain Aaron Finch had to leave the field with a hamstring problem that may keep him out of their final group match against Afghanistan on Friday and that appeared crucial as his side seemed to be listless and lacking in direction without him.
‘It wasn’t the easiest wicket, a lot slower than we thought it was be,’ Finch said after the game.
‘They [Ireland] bowled well […] was hard to get into rhythm [but I’m] not feeling the pressure at all to be honest.
‘The support from the change room and support staff has been incredible. T20 is a high risk-game, sometimes it comes off, sometimes it doesn’t.
Lorcan Tucker made an unbeaten 71 as Ireland recovered from 5-25 to 137 all out
Aaron Finch was named Player of the Match after smashing 63 off 44 balls
The Aussie skipper top scored for his team, but suffered a hamstring injury
‘It wasn’t easy to come out and go after the bowling from the start.
I’ve had a bit of a hammy twing, I don’t feel too bad at the moment but generally overnight it can stiffen up a bit, let’s see how it goes, will have a scan tomorrow.’
While skipper Finch reversed his fortunes with a confidence-boosting 63 in a crucial T20 World Cup victory over Ireland, Glenn Maxwell’s run of T20I outs continued.
Maxwell lasted just nine balls in the middle of the hosts’ imposing total of 5-179, scoring 13 before edging a wide slash behind to fall to left-armer Josh Little.
Glenn Maxwell lasted just nine balls and now averages just 8.8 in his last 10 T20 internationals
David Warner also continued his dismal form with the bat, departing for 3 and he has scored just 21 runs in three innings in this tournament so far
It was a shot he should have iced to the boundary but the dismissal left the defending champions 3-84 at the end of the 11th over.
There’s no threat to the allrounder’s place in the side, and two valuable wickets in his first over with the ball helped dismantle the Irish retort, but there’s genuine concerns over his batting form.
Maxwell has averaged just 8.8 in his last 10 T20 internationals over the past six weeks, continuing a disappointing 2022 which included a underwhelming IPL for the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
A clean-hitting X-factor, he still remains among Australia’s most dangerous players.
Barry McCarthy was the pick of the Irish bowlers, taking three wickets for just 29 runs
He almost pulled off an incredible catch, as he flew over the boundary rope to prevent a six
But now filling the key No.4 place at the top of the order, there’s justified scrutiny over the Victorian’s batting position, especially as Steve Smith waits on the sidelines with supporters like Allan Border calling for his recall.
Maxwell had the chance to alleviate those concerns but missed a big opportunity against the Irish bowlers.
Finch didn’t miss out with 63 off 44, while slightly twinging a hamstring in the middle, and then further aggravating it in the field.
Fortunately a fired-up Maxwell made the most of his chance with the ball when the captain turned to him in just the third over – dismissing Paul Stirling and Harry Tector who both scooped him to fielders in the ring.
Maxwell took two wickets in four balls in his first over, removing Paul Stirling and Harry Tector
Mitchell Starc also had two in one over, bowling Curtis Campher and George Dockrell
It was in the midst of a four-wicket run in eight balls as Ireland plummeted to 4-25 and lost all hope of another giant-killing upset like their celebrated boilover of England.
Maxwell will have another chance as Australia need to produce another convincing win over Afghanistan on Friday to qualify for the semi-finals.
And it may just well take a return to his big-hitting best to lift his side’s net run-rate to the healthy number it needs.
Relive all the action from the T20 World Cup clash between Australia and Ireland at The Gabba with Sportsmail’s live blog.