BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA (AP) – Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie won the toss yesterday and sent defending champion Australia in to bat in a crucial Group 1 game for both teams in terms of semifinal calculations at the Twenty20 (T20) World Cup.
Balbirnie is aiming to put Australia’s struggling top order under immediate pressure on a dry pitch but under overcast conditions at the Gabba and back his team to chase a target.
Ireland and Australia are equal with England on three points after a win, a loss and a washout each. A loss at the Gabba would likely end the playoff prospects for either team. Ireland is on a high after qualifying through the first round and then producing an upset win over England in the Super 12 stage.
Australia was heavily beaten in the Super 12 opener against New Zealand and then beat Sri Lanka before its game against England was washed out.
The Australians need to improve their net run rate, one of the tiebreakers if teams finish equal on competition points in the top two positions in the group. “It’s obviously an issue after copping a decent thumping against New Zealand,” Australia captain Aaron Finch said, adding that if there was a chance to accelerate the scoring rate his team would be ready.
“If opportunity presents, you look to take it.”
The Australians made one change to the line-up with legspinner Adam Zampa returning to replace left-arm spinner Ashton Agar.