Belfast, July 23 (IANS) Riding on an 82-run partnership between Daryl Mitchell and Glenn Phillips, New Zealand made a clean sweep of the three-match T20I series against Ireland, defeating the hosts by six wickets in the third game at the Civil Service Cricket Club here.
With this win, the Black Caps have ended their limited-overs series against Ireland with wins in both the T20Is and the three-match ODI series.
Electing to bat first, Paul Stirling started off Ireland’s innings with a bang, but from 79/2 in 10 overs, the hosts’ middle-order misfired to leave them at 108/5 after 16 overs.
The innings seemed to be heading towards an ordinary total despite Stirling’s promising innings. Harry Tector tried to turn things around with two boundaries off the first two balls of the 17th over, but a big heave next ball saw him holing out to leave Ireland in further trouble.
However, Curtis Campher joined hands with Mark Adair and things started looking up for Ireland from thereon. The pair put on a 58-run partnership in 21 balls as Ireland smashed 50 runs in the last three overs. Four fours and four sixes came off the three overs as Ireland posted a competitive 174 on board.
Finn Allen got New Zealand off to a great start in the run chase with three boundaries in the second over off Craig Young, but he fell in the same over to give the hosts an opening. Martin Guptill, though, carried on in the same vein to help the Blackcaps to 53 at the end of the powerplay.
Ireland, however, managed to pull things back with the wicket of Guptill. George Dockrell had created chances twice in succession against Glenn Phillips only to see two catches go down. But he found reward at the other end with the big wicket of Guptill the very next ball. After 10 overs, the game was in the balance with New Zealand on 83/3.
Phillips and Daryl Mitchell took over from there to build a steady stand. In the first six overs of the partnership, only two boundaries came as New Zealand ambled along to 112/3 in 14 overs. With 63 needed in six overs, Mitchell and Phillips turned the game on its head with a 20-run over against Campher. Two sixes and a four came off the over as the required run rate took a steep drop.
While Joshua Little had Mitchell out caught and bowled for 48 in 32 balls in the 17th over, the 82-run stand between Phillips and Mitchell had all but sealed the match for New Zealand. Phillips stayed on to complete his half-century and take New Zealand home with six balls to spare and give New Zealand a 3-0 series victory.
Brief scores: Ireland 174/6 in 20 overs (Paul Stirling 40, Lorcan Tucker 28, Mark Adair 37 not out) lost to New Zealand 180/4 in 19 overs (Martin Guptill 25, Glenn Phillips 56 not out, Daryl Mitchell 48; Josh Little 2/33) by six wickets.