Adelaide, Nov 4 (UiTV/IANS) – Ireland left-arm pacer Josh Little’s hat-trick went in vain as New Zealand took a big step towards qualifying for the semifinals of Men’s T20 World Cup with a 35-run win in their last Group 1 match in Super 12s at the Adelaide Oval on Friday.
New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson played exquisite shots all across the park to make a solid 61, his first fifty of the tournament, to help his side reach a challenging 185/6. But Little stole thunder of it by dismissing him, Jimmy Neesham and Mitchell Santner on the trot in the 19th over to record second hat-trick of the tournament.
Chasing 186, Ireland needed a big start and their openers, captain Andrew Balbirnie and Paul Stirling, responded well to the call with some amazing boundaries. At 68 for no loss after eight overs, Ireland looked set to cause an upset.
But then spin did the trick for New Zealand through Santner’s left-arm spin and Ish Sodhi’s leg-spin. Having realised that pace off the ball was the key to make inroads in Adelaide, both Santner and Sodhi took three wickets between themselves from ninth, 10th and 11th overs to break the back of Ireland’s batting.
As the asking rate went up, Ireland continued to crumble under pressure. More wickets fell as Lockie Ferguson picked three while Tim Southee also got one in the end as Ireland fell short by 35 runs to end at 150/9 in 20 overs. With the win, New Zealand are on seven points now, which may be enough to confirm being table-toppers of Group 1 with net run rate now at +2.11.
Brief scores: New Zealand 185/6 in 20 overs (Kane Williamson 61, Finn Allen 32; Josh Little 3/22, Gareth Delany 2/30) beat Ireland 150/9 in 20 overs (Paul Stirling 37, Andrew Balbirnie 30; Lockie Ferguson 3/22, Mitchell Santner 2/26) by 35 runs.