A comfortable win for New Zealand as they have almost secured their place in the semifinals with a 35-run victory over Ireland.
The last few weeks were challenging for Kane Williamson. With questions being raised over his strike rate at No.3, the New Zealand captain knew he had to accelerate in the middle-overs to get back his rhythm.
Kane Williamson first played a 61-run knock to help New Zealand post 185/6 in 20 overs and then the bowlers took wickets in quick succession to derail Ireland’s chase. Ireland pacer Joshua Little also took a hat-trick in the 19th over of New Zealand’s innings. New Zealand are now in pole position on net run rate in Group 1.
New Zealand lost a bit of track in the middle with Delany taking two wickets, including that of Glenn Phillips for 17. But Williamson held fort to build a long 60-run partnership with Daryl Mitchell, and in the 18th over of the innings, the captain brought up his fifty with a six off McCarthy. He followed it up with a four and slammed another 91-metre six over deep midwicket.
New Zealand was cruising at 174 for three in the 19th over when left-arm quick Little dismissed Williamson, James Neesham and Mitchell Santner off successive balls to become the second cricketer after UAE’s Karthik Meiyappan to claim a hat-trick in this tournament.
Against a top-quality New Zealand bowling line-up, Ireland openers Andrew Balbirnie and Paul Stirling started off perfectly, reaching 68 for no loss in eight overs. Captain Balbirnie, who has been in prime form, hit a couple of sixes off Ish Sodhi in the seventh over before falling to Santner. In the first ball of the next over, Sodhi cleaned up Stirling to dent the momentum.
After the openers departed, Ireland needed a steady partnership, but with Santner and Sodhi tightening the noose, the middle-order failed to convert the start.
Lorcan Tucker, who had a memorable outing against Australia in the previous game, offered a catch to Allen at long-off, mistiming Sodhi’s leg-break outside the off. George Dockrell did make an attempt to steady the ship, but that wasn’t adequate for the Irishmen.
Kane Williamson, the skipper of New Zealand, says that it was a really good team performance. Mentions that they knew Ireland are a good start and will come hard at them. He is happy with the way his team performed. Shares that the surface was on the slower side and feels that they batted well in the Powerplay which was the key. Kane is satisfied with the way they executed their plans.
New Zealand XI: 185 for 6 (Kane Williamson 61, Finn Allen 32; Josh Little 3/22, Gareth Delany 2/30)
Ireland XI: 150 for 9 (Paul Stirling 37, Andy Balbirnie 30; Lockie Ferguson 3/22, Mitchell Santner 2/26, Tim Southee 2/29)
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