Australia 199 for 1 (Khawaja 82*, Smith 59*) beat Ireland 198 (Anderson 39, Zampa 3-37) by nine wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Ireland's highest score in five meetings against Australia was not enough to even mildly challenge the top-ranked ODI side, who eased to victory with 19.5 overs to spare in a chase of 199. What will sting Ireland most is that they could have done much better. They squandered the chance to post a competitive total with a mid-innings collapse that took them from 121 for 2 to 146 for 6, and lost their last eight wickets for 77 runs. None of their batsmen touched 40 while the three batsmen Australia needed all scored more than that. Two of them, Usman Khawaja and Steven Smith, went on to score half-centuries to underline the difference.
Adam Zampa was the pick of the Australian attack and spun webs around Ireland's batsmen with his variations. Overall, though, the bowlers may have wanted a slightly better showing. Their seamers, particularly Mitchell Marsh, lacked venom, especially in the first half of the Ireland innings. It was only when the ball started reversing slightly later on that they regained control.
Ireland started strongly after William Porterfield and Paul Stirling settled in against debutant Daniel Worrall and John Hastings. Stirling was particularly severe on Worrall and took three boundaries off his fifth over, the most eye-catching one being a straight hit back over the bowler's head that almost went for six.
The opening pair looked good for a half-century stand, but Stirling hit Scott Boland straight to the cover fielder to give Australia their first success. Porterfield could have been out in the next over when Marsh found a bottom-edge that was dying on Matthew Wade, who could not get forward in time. Porterfield was on 19 at the time and only added five more runs before missing a pull off a Zampa flipper that hit him low on the pad.
Ireland's best period came despite the several chances that John Anderson offered while batting. They made Marsh question his lengths and the bowler's frustration only increased when he got Anderson to reach for one and edge to second slip, where there was no fielder to take the catch. Marsh was denied Anderson's wicket again when he pulled to Boland at fine leg, but the catch was not cleanly taken. Anderson also survived an edge off John Hastings that fell short of Wade and amid all that, swept well and kept Ireland's score ticking.
Anderson's luck ran out when he was given out lbw off Boland in the 24th over and Australia surged back in the next over. Gary Wilson was caught behind and, off the next ball, Sean Terry was caught unawares and was run out, leaving Ireland in free fall. Terry's dismissal was Ireland's most casual as he wandered out of his crease while Worrall was appealing for an lbw chance. Smith, at slip, spotted that and threw the ball onto the stumps to find Terry short of his ground. Ireland had lost three wickets for two runs at that stage, but still had Kevin O'Brien on hand. He did not have enough support, however, and eventually fell to a Zampa wrong 'un, leaving Ireland in danger of falling short of 200 or not batting out the fifty overs.
Australia's response began rapidly. David Warner and Khawaja put on 54 in the first six overs as they took advantage of width offered by Peter Chase and Barry McCarthy, who should have had Khawaja out in the fourth over. Chase, running in from long leg, spilled the chance off a top-edge and Ireland were made to pay.
Australia did not attack Tim Murtagh as much and he picked up the only wicket of the innings. Warner popped a cutter back to him and Murtagh took the catch above his head but did not celebrate the scalp. Khawaja and Smith put on 126 for the second wicket and were otherwise untroubled in their pursuit of runs.
Smith took on George Dockrell and Khawaja's fifty came off the left-arm spinner with a cut to the deep-point boundary. Smith brought up his half-century with a single off McCarthy.
Ireland will leave South Africa disappointed. Although few expected them to win either of the two matches, the team failed to last a full innings against South Africa and Australia, fielded poorly and lacked clear plans with the ball.