Paul Stirling shines as Ireland fall just short of first win against New Zealand

Sparkling centuries by Paul Stirling and Harry Tector were not enough to steer Ireland to a famous first win over New Zealand after they suffered an agonising one-run defeat in Dublin.

artin Guptill’s own hundred helped the Black Caps amass 360 for six from their 50 overs to put them on the verge of a whitewash from the three-match one-day international series.

Stirling and Tector had other ideas but when the latter departed with more than 50 runs required, the chase looked dead and buried.

Ireland’s lower order continued to swing hard and brought the equation down to 10 off the last over, but Blair Tickner held his nerve to deny the hosts at Malahide despite scoring their highest ever ODI total.

Guptill did the early damage and scored his 18th century for New Zealand in the format before he went for 115.

Henry Nicholls had already picked up the baton by this point and smashed three maximums in his 54-ball innings of 79 to help the tourists set 361 for victory.

A record third-wicket partnership between Stirling and Tector ensured Ireland made a strong fist of the reply.

Opener Stirling reached three figures with a boundary down to third man but was furious when he exited for 120 after becoming one of Matt Henry’s four victims.

The 179-run partnership for the third-wicket with Tector set a new record for Ireland in ODIs and the number four continued in impressive fashion with five maximums able to bring up a second century of the series for the youngster.

When Tector went for 108, the hosts hopes of victory looked slim but George Dockrell’s rapid 22 kept them in the fight only for New Zealand to hold their nerve and eventually restrict them to 359 for nine.

It secured the Black Caps a 3-0 series win ahead of three Twenty20 internationals beginning on Monday.

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