Colombo: Australia skipper George Bailey on Wednesday lavished praise on all-rounder Shane Watson, who single-handedly guided his team to a comfortable seven-wicket victory against Ireland in their opening game of the ICC World Twenty20 here.
Watson scalped three wickets for 26 runs from his four overs and then came up with a 30-ball 51 in Australia's successful run chase of 124 runs at the R Premadasa Stadium.
"I thought he started off really well and finished it off with the bat. He is a great cricketer and his fielding has also improved a little. He is a complete cricketer and was outstanding in the field today," said Bailey.
Bailey said his bowlers used short balls to great effect on a slow pitch.
"The short ball will be a good weapon for us at a decent pitch like this. We were happy to see that pitch and use it."
The Australian skipper, however, conceded that they needed to lift their fielding standards.
"Fielding was a little sloppy and we need to work on that," he said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Man of the Match, Watson expressed satisfaction with his performance and hoped to continue the momentum.
"We knew how important the game was to make a statement.
I'd been thinking about how to bowl the first over for about a day and it worked out nicely. It's been nice to have a couple of wickets and hit the ball well. It's a nice start."
On his opening partnership with David Warner, he said, "Warner is a talented striker of the ball. His mind is pretty free and that shows in his batting. It's a privilege to bat alongside him. He could be devastating on his day," he said.
Ireland captain William Porterfield said they would look to bounce back in their next game against the West Indies.
"We didn't have a great start, we tried to get a platform but it didn't happen. We've warmed up well and weren't surprised by conditions. It's a four-day break now and hopefully, we can do a good job against the West Indies," he said.