Phillips, Ferguson Star As New Zealand Brush Aside Ireland

Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Phillips, Ferguson star as New Zealand brush aside Ireland. Lockie Ferguson bagged a five-wicket haul to power New Zealand to victory

Phillips, Ferguson Star As New Zealand Brush Aside IrelandLockie Ferguson bagged a five-wicket haul to power New Zealand to victory

Glenn Phillips and Lockie Ferguson starred for New Zealand in the first T20I against Ireland as the visitors took an early lead in the three-match T20I series. While Phillips starred with the bat, Ferguson broke Ireland's back with a four-wicket haul as New Zealand won comfortably by 31 runs in the end.

A near identical start

Both teams got off to the worst possible start in the powerplay. Even though Martin Guptill raced to 20 off just 9 balls, Ireland made inroads as Finn Allen hit one straight to extra cover in just the third over. In the very next over, Ireland got the big fish as Guptill mistimed one to depart for 24. Debutant Dane Cleaver was the next to depart as he got an under edge that was pouched by the ‘keeper to hand Joshua Little his second wicket. By the end of the powerplay, the visitors were teetering at 42/3. Ireland on the other hand lost four inside the first six overs. Andrew Balbirnie was sent packing by Jacob Duffy whereas Lockie Ferguson removed Gareth Delaney and Paul Stirling in the same over to stun the home side. Things got worse when the in-form Harry Tector departed in the final over of the powerplay to leave his side struggling at 41/4.

Phillips to the rescue

With a massive rebuilding job ahead of him, Phillips then rallied with the middle order and the lower middle order to bail New Zealand out of trouble. He survived a scare when he top-edged one that was pouched by Little but replays confirmed that the ball had bounced just before the fielder took the catch. But Ireland's disappointment was short-lived as the very next delivery resulted in another top edge and this time, Daryl Mitchell was sent packing. Philllips was content batting deep into the innings as his strike rate hardly managed to go past 100 inside the first 15 overs. But New Zealand at that stage needed one of their big names to stay at the crease for a prolonged period.

How did New Zealand get to 173 then?

James Neesham's cameo was crucial to the innings for New Zealand as he took on the bowling attack when Phillips was subdued. Neesham was poised to cause more damage at the back end when he smacked George Dockrell for back-to-back boundaries but the spinner got his revenge in the same over as the batsman got a faint edge through to the keeper. Apart from Neesham, Michael Bracewell also made a vital contribution. Ireland's nemesis in the ODIs, Bracewell was busy at the crease as he hit 21 off just 13 balls before perishing in the penultimate over. Phillips turned on the heat as well in the slog overs as Ireland conceded 61 in the last 5 overs. Phillips, who reached 50 off 44 balls, added a couple of fours and a six to his name in the final over to take New Zealand past 170 and give his strike rate a much-needed fillip.

Did anyone step up for Ireland?

Not really. While New Zealand had Phillips, Ireland really couldn't find anyone to step up to arrest the slide. Curtis Campher gave them some hope of a revival when he hit Ish Sodhi for a four and a six but with Mitchell Santner adding to his tally, Ireland were five down at the halfway stage. Dockrell and Campher added to Mitchell's misery on the day by smashing for 15 in his first over but both the batters then fell in the space of four deliveries to pretty much end any tiny hopes that the home side had. While Sodhi removed Dockrell, Campher's attempt to scoop Ferguson backfired as the pacer picked up his third wicket. A few boundaries from Mark Adair delayed the inevitable before Ferguson returned to put Ireland out of their misery.

Brief scores:New Zealand 173/8 in 20 overs (Glenn Phillips 69*, James Neesham 29; Joshua Little 4-35) beatIreland 142 in 18.2 overs (Curtis Campher 29; Lockie Ferguson 4-14) by 31 runs.

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