IRELAND VS NEW ZEALAND, 2ND T20I
Bracewell completed Ireland’s response in 14 overs. ©Getty
Dane Cleaver’s first T20I fifty – an unbeaten 78 from 55 deliveries – set up New Zealand’s 88-point victory over Ireland in Game 2 of the three-game series in Belfast. Ready to chase an intimidating 179 to keep the series alive, the hosts crumbled against Jacob Duffy’s pace on the power play before Ish Sodhi tightened the screws with his 3/21 through the middle. Michael Bracewell, however, grabbed the show with his first T20I hat-trick that wrapped up Ireland’s response in 14 overs.
Allen gives New Zealand a good start
Finn Allen wasted no time getting the start as he fired a short ball to a square leg deep and before making it a 13-point opener against Craig Young with a four-to-deep midwicket. With Martin Guptil only dealing with singles, Allen welcomed Barry McCarthy into the attack with a six over the bowler’s head, followed by back-to-back bounds in the first half of the over. In the opening stand for 44 points and of New Zealand’s 51 on the power play, Allen had contributed 35 of just 20, including all boundary shots.
Ireland recover wickets from openers
It took a run-in hold and a forward dive from McCarthy – when Allen finally missed one trying to cross the line – for Ireland to find a breakthrough. McCarthy and Mark Adair managed to squeeze in a few quiet overs before McCullum, after an uncharacteristic 11 of 17, dominated a pull for a direct take this time for McCarthy. From 51/1 after the power play, New Zealand had only moved to 70/2 at the start of the 10th over.
Cleaver sets up New Zealand’s 179
Coming to a drop, he took his time to settle but quickly proved a calm 5 out of 9 start to his first T20I fifty out of 39 deliveries; he eventually finished with an undefeated 78. The turnaround came with a spectacular inside out on the covers of George Dockrell’s very first ball in the game, before he fired Young flat on the deep midwicket. He had a few near misses – short scares, missed stumps and the like – but Cleaver took advantage of his luck and forged a useful 53-run partnership with Glenn Phillips (23) and another worth 48 with Daryl Mitchell (14) to put the team back on track for a winning total. The reverse scoop on the third man for a six was the highlight of his 55-ball shot, as he managed to send two more over the deep square-leg fence, reaching his half-century with the first.
Duffy halts Ireland pursuit early
Paul Stirling was in his element in no time and raced to 21 from 13 with help from three limits and a six that started Ireland’s chase in style. However, he came undone against the blistering pace of Lockie Ferguson in the third round and clipped a keeper midway through. Duffy then cleaned up Gareth Delany’s first ball with a sharp inswinger and drew a slight outside edge on Balbirnie in his successive overs. In between, Harry Tector was beaten by a sharp direct hit from Phillips at the non-attacking end early in the fifth over. By the time Ireland’s power play ended, the hosts were down to 41/4, which was always going to be a tough task.
Sodhi three-iron derails Ireland
The leggie joined the party on his first over himself and took out three crucial mid-order wickets in the space of six deliveries in the first two overs of his opening spell after the power play. First to go was Lorcan Tucker, puzzled as he wandered out of his crease after missing his sweep attempt. From the next ball, George Dockrell threw a jerky delivery on the outside and sent an easy outside edge on the first slip. Curtis Camper landed a single on the loose full pitch Sodhi threw for his hat-trick, but ended up getting the upper hand to back up two balls later, trying to cut.
Bracewell cleans the tail
Adair blew Sodhi’s numbers in his third set with 4, 4 and 6 in a row to force New Zealand’s hand and take him out of the attack. But Bracewell, his replacement, only accelerated Ireland’s surrender with his first-ever T20I hat-trick. Threatening to open a door for Ireland’s return not so long ago, Adair and McCarthy both threw big leg kicks and found Phillips perfectly in the middle of the deep wicket, while Young sliced another single hold for the back spot as Ireland slumped to 91.
Short scores: New Zealand 178/4 in 20 overs (Dane Cleaver 78*, Finn Allen 35; Joshua Little 2-31, Craig Young 2-34) beat Ireland 91 all out in 13.5 overs (Mark Adair 27 , Paul Stirling 21; Micheal Bracewell 3/5, Ish Sodhi 3/21) by 88 points.