Steven Smith's first match as full-time Australia captain ended with a rain-affected 23-run ODI win over Ireland in Belfast but it needed the speed of Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc to put the hosts in their place.

A third-wicket partnership of 86 between Ed Joyce (44) and Niall O'Brien (45) put Ireland on course for their maiden victory over the world champions. But after Glenn Maxwell ended the stand, the middle-lower order could not maintain the scoring rate against the express pace of Cummins and Starc, the world's top-ranked ODI bowler.

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Cummins (2-19) broke the bat of Stuart Thompson, who had just hit off-spinner Maxwell for two sixes as Ireland, cricket's leading non-Test nation, chased a revised target of 181 in 24 overs on a frustrating day of four rain interruptions.

Left-arm fast-bowler Starc (2-34) ended Thompson's late rally to give one-day wicket-keeper Matthew Wade his third catch of the innings.

Nathan Coulter-Nile, with the final two wickets in the last over, ended as the most successful bowler and also the most economical (3-13 in 4.4 overs) as Australia, in their first match in this format since beating New Zealand in the World Cup final in Melbourne, won with something to spare.

Australia, with Smith leading the team for the first time following the retirement of Michael Clarke, had chosen to bat on what he described as a slow but good pitch and they made 222 for six before the second rain interruption ended their innings in the 41st over.

Joe Burns, who made 69 on his ODI debut and David Warner, named man-of-the-match for his 84 from 80 balls with seven fours and three sixes, put on 139 for the first wicket. But Ireland hit back with six wickets for 85 runs to the delight of home fans at the Stormont ground.

Source: Agencies