New Zealand ease to Twenty20 win over Ireland at Stormont

Dane Cleaver attempts to run out Curtis Campher
Dane Cleaver attempts to run out Curtis Campher
First Twenty20 international, Stormont:
New Zealand 173-8 (20 overs): Phillips 69*, Neesham 29, Guptill 24; Little 4-35, Adair 2-49
Ireland 142 all out (18.2 overs) Campher 29, Adair 25; Ferguson 4-14, Neesham 2-19, Santner 2-36
New Zealand won by 31 runs

New Zealand beat Ireland by 31 runs in the first of three Twenty20 internationals between the sides.

Batting first, the tourists made 173-8, with Glenn Phillips top-scoring with 69 not out and Josh Little taking 4-35.

Ireland fell well short of their target despite Curtis Campher’s 29, all out with 10 balls remaining, Lockie Ferguson impressing with 4-14.

New Zealand beat Ireland 3-0 in their recent one-day series and the sides meet in two more T20 games this week.

The teams will face each other again at Stormont on Wednesday and Friday, with Ireland still looking for a first ever win over New Zealand.

Ireland won the toss and elected to field, a call which seemed a solid one from captain Andy Balbirnie as New Zealand opener Finn Allen fell in the third over when he was caught at cover off Little for just one run, with Martin Guptill (24) soon following after he holed out at long off.

Wicketkeeper-batter Dane Cleaver (five) lasted only seven deliveries on his debut, nicking a length ball from Little behind.

Daryl Mitchell was soon also sent back for the same score as he caught a top edge off Campher to leave the tourists 54-4 in the ninth over.

However, a fluid 29 from Jimmy Neesham, which included a six hitting the sightscreen, and a fine unbeaten 69 from Phillips, off 52 balls with seven boundaries, helped steady the innings on well into three figures.

New Zealand got an early breakthrough in the field when captain Mitchell Santner claimed a fine backwards catch to dismiss Balbirnie for 12, before taking two wickets himself with the ball to reduce Ireland to 69 for five in the 10th over.

Campher and George Dockrell (15) pushed Ireland on, with Mark Adair adding a rapid 25, but the run chase proved too much as the hosts were all out in 18.2 overs.

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