AUSTRALIA: A crucial half-century by skipper Kane Williamson and a disciplined bowling display guided New Zealand to a comfortable 35-run victory over Ireland.
Joshua Little’s hat trick was instrumental in putting the brakes on New Zealand’s score, which seemed to go beyond 200 at one point in the innings.
New Zealand Innings:
The Ireland skipper won the toss and decided to bowl first. New Zealand Openers Finn Allen (32 off 18 balls) and Devon Conway (28 off 33 balls) gave New Zealand a flying start, putting together 52 runs for the first wicket. Mark Adair (39/1) broke the opening stand in the sixth over. After being hit for a six and a four, Adair had the last laugh, dismissing Allen, who was caught at mid-off by Fionn Hand.
Conway and Kane Williamson (61 off 35) were painstakingly slow at scoring runs as boundaries dried up after Allen’s dismissal. New Zealand reached 75/1 after ten overs.
Fionn Hand gave away 18 runs in the eleventh over as the batsmen carted him for a couple of boundaries and a six. Gareth Delany (30/2), bowling the twelfth over, dismissed Conway, who went for a slog-sweep but offered an easy catch to Mark Adair.
Glenn Phillips (17 off 9 balls) went after the Ireland bowling straightaway, hitting boundaries at will. However, his innings ended when Delany fired one full and wide outside the off-stump. Phillips mistimed his stroke as George Dockrell took a well-judged catch at deep extra cover.
Kane Williamson hit a couple of boundaries in the sixteenth over, which yielded twelve runs for the Kiwis. He bought up his half-century with a six over deep mid-wicket in the eighteenth over. He hit a boundary, and another maximum in the final two deliveries as 21 runs came off the over by Barry McCarthy (46/0).
Joshua Little (22/3) got a hat trick in the penultimate over. He dismissed Williamson in the second delivery of the over. He went on to catch James Neesham and Mitchell Santner plumb in front of the stumps off the next two deliveries to complete the second hat-trick of the World Cup.
Daryl Michell (31 off 21) and Tim Southee (1 off 2) took the New Zealand total to 185/6 after twenty overs as Ireland managed to put the brakes on the scoring rate in the final two overs.
Ireland was off to a modest start as Paul Stirling (37 off 27), and Andrew Balbirnie (30 off 25 balls) took their time to get their eyes in. Ireland was 39 for no loss at the end of the powerplay.
Stirling hit a boundary and a six in the seventh over by Mitchell Santner (26/2) as 13 runs came off it. Balbirnie smashed Ish Sodhi (31/2) for a couple of maximums in the next over to steal 16 runs from the over.
Santner returned strongly in his next over to castle Andrew Balbirnie, who inside-edged the delivery onto the stumps. Ish Sodhi took the cue from his spin bowling partner and got the better of Stirling in the tenth over. Stirling mistimed his slog-sweep as the ball missed the bat and crashed into the top of the off-stump.
Mitchell Santner struck again in the eleventh over. Harry Tector (2 off 7 balls) hit a slow widish delivery but only managed to top edge it to Tim Southee at backward point.
Lockie Ferguson (22/3) came back in the fourteenth over and struck immediately. Gareth Delany (10 off 8 balls), who looked in good touch, attempted to cut away an off-pace leg-cutter from the bowler. Conway caught the resulting thick outside edge behind the stumps.
Lorcan Tucker’s (13 off 14 balls) stay at the crease was cut short by Ish Sodhi. Tucker came down the pitch to smack the leggie out of the ground but ended up offering catching practice to Finn Allen at long-off.
George Dockrell (23 off 15 balls) and Curtis Campher (7 off 7 balls) scored 15 runs in the seventeenth over by Trent Boult (38/0). Campher fell in the next over, becoming Tim Southee’s (29/2) first victim.
Ireland kept losing wickets at regular intervals as Fionn Hand (5 off 3 balls) became the seventh wicket to fall. Fionn top-edged an attempted pull shot off Ferguson, who called and caught the resulting skier. Ireland’s hopes of winning the match ended when Dockrell was caught by Williamson two deliveries later.
Tim Southee dismissed Mark Adair (4 off 5 balls) off the first delivery of the last over. Joshua Little had taken a hat-trick earlier, smashed a six off the penultimate delivery. It was of little consequence as the Ireland innings ended at 150/9 at the end of their quota of twenty overs, handing New Zealand a comfortable 35-run victory.
Kane Williamson received the Player of the Match award for his half-century and crucial partnerships, which helped his team post a competitive total that proved too much for Ireland to chase.