Khawaja, Zampa star in ODI rout of Ireland
Photo Source: AP
No Australian needed runs like Usman Khawaja, and the under-pressure batsman has delivered in the country's nine-wicket thrashing of Ireland in Benoni, South Africa.
Khawaja struck a classy 82 not out on Tuesday, his second-best ODI effort, as Steve Smith (59 off 74) also hit an unbeaten half century after legspinner Adam Zampa helped roll through the Irish for 198.
Khawaja's knock came a month after his tour aggregate for Sri Lanka was 103 at an average of less than 13, leading to him being dropped from both the Test and one-day teams.
However he earned a reprieve when Aaron Finch and Shaun Marsh suffered finger injuries and he made the most of it on Tuesday.
"It was a tough time over there, it's been a tough couple of months," he said.
"We played some really good cricket over in Sri Lanka but I still didn't really contribute in the way I wanted to contribute over there."
Khawaja's 82 came off just 77 balls, as Australia chased down the meagre total with 119 balls to spare.
He struck seven boundaries, including two sixes, as he combined with David Warner (48 off 30) for an opening-wicket stand of 73 from 52 balls.
But the Queenslander doesn't believe he will walk to the wicket beside Warner in the opening one-dayer against South Africa on Friday in Centurion, as Finch prepares to return.
"He's the opener, he's been the opener with Davey for a while," Khawaja said.
"I'll let selectors deal with that.
"It's still a long tour; anything can happen. I'll just keep preparing like I am playing and if I get the opportunity I will."
Earlier, Smith lost the toss and watched on as Ireland appeared to be cruising at 1-121 in the 23rd over before Zampa (3-37) pumped the breaks by taking the key wickets of skipper Will Porterfield (24) and Kevin O'Brien (23).
Swing bowler Daniel Worrall took a wicket on his ODI debut to finish with figures of 1-43, while fellow quicks John Hastings (2-31) and Scott Boland (2-42) each chipped in.
"We gave too many freebies at the start and we need to work on this before we face South Africa," Smith said.
"They wont let us back into the game as easily as Ireland did."