Ireland vs New Zealand: Ireland fell 31 runs short of New Zealand’s tally of 173, which gave the visitors a 1-0 lead in the three-match T20I series. Lockie Ferguson took four wickets with a variety of rapid deliveries and change-ups.
Ireland controlled for the whole of the first innings in the sunny (and warm) Belfast weather, leaving New Zealand floundering at 100 for 5, but Glenn Phillips’ late flurry with the bat lifted the guests to 173 for 8 in 20 overs.
Ferguson grabbed control of the situation after Phillips’ undefeated 52-ball 69, dismissing Gareth Delany and Paul Stirling early. Curtis Campher, Ireland’s leading run-getter, was then dismissed for 29. He later returned to claim the game’s final wicket, Craig Young, who was caught behind.
The left-arm seamer Josh Little’s four-wicket haul, which choked New Zealand for the whole of the first innings, was one of Ireland’s positives. However, they gave up 61 runs in the final five overs, which ultimately proved to be the turning point. Phillips was the player that caused the majority of the damage during this time, and as a result, he was appropriately chosen Player of the Match.
Early wickets were needed in order for New Zealand’s relatively inexperienced bowling line to effectively defend 173. The first was a backpedaling catch by skipper Mitchell Santner in the third over. Jacob Duffy caused Andy Balbirnie to miss an inside-out shot for the first time since his match against Bangladesh in 2021 in order to take the first wicket. Stirling and Delany were then swiftly and easily eliminated by Ferguson.
Ireland crumbled to 96 for 7 by the 13th over thanks to the middle-overs squeeze from Santner, James Neesham, and Ish Sodhi, who shared five wickets in their 11 overs. Campher was the seventh wicket to fall, appearing to be the only Irish batter willing to put up a fight. However, he was dismissed by a plumb lbw Ferguson yorker, and after that, the tail began to wag but not for long enough.
Run scoring became more challenging as the pitch grew older, and Santner and Neesham in particular made it much more challenging by altering their speeds and failing to offer deliveries at the Irish hitters’ arc. With edges to short third man and the wicketkeeper, Harry Tector and Lorcan Tucker were taken out by Santner, while Neesham’s two wickets in the 17th over helped Ireland go from 7 to 9 down in just four balls.
Ferguson then delivered a bouncer to No. 10 Young, who then gloved it to Dane Cleaver, who was making his debut, to end the game.
Struggling with bat
Martin Guptill was expected to give New Zealand’s T20I tour a thrilling start because several important senior players were absent. When he did quickly reach 24 off just 11 balls, three of his five boundaries were off the edge, and in the third over, while trying to hit a big shot, he eventually fell to Mark Adair. Finn Allen, who was playing with him in the initial round, hit a cut-off Little ball straight to cover for 1 off 7 balls, while rookie Cleaver also fell early after gloving a short Little ball through to the keeper.
New Zealand’s innings need to be revived at 38 for 3. On a Stormont field where the square borders were very broad, Phillips made an effort to achieve that by pushing his partner Daryl Mitchell for an additional run wherever he could. As a result of Mitchell’s timing issues and Campher’s medium pace, he was forced to return to the pavilion after top-edging a short ball for a 10-ball 5. Ireland held the upper hand at 54 for 4.
Phillip Amazing Act
Only the middle and lower middle order remained for New Zealand, so Phillips limited the number of shots he took in an effort to complete the innings. He discovered a risk-taker in Neesham, and with Neesham’s 16-ball 29 in a partnership of 46, New Zealand was able to reach triple digits by the 14th over. But before the slog-overs explosion could actually happen, Neesham was bowled out by left-arm spinner George Dockrell on the following delivery.
Phillips was on 28 in 31 balls with six over remaining when he was joined by No. 7 Michael Bracewell, making his T20I debut. But in the 15th over, he crushed Little for two fours to raise his strike rate to above 100, and in the 19th over, off the same bowler, he slashed a four behind point to achieve his fifty in 45 balls.
The final over was saved for Phillips’ greatest effort. After surviving a fortunate toe-ended drive that squirmed past the wicketkeeper for four, Phillips clattered Adair for four and six to collect 19 runs off the 20th and finish on a respectable 69 while giving New Zealand the advantage at halftime.
Disclaimer: The insights expressed in this article are those of the author. This article was not written or edited by Empireweekly.com; it was published on July 20, 2022.