Recent Match Report – New Zealand vs Ireland 1st T20I 2022

Recent Match Report - New Zealand vs Ireland 1st T20I 2022

New Zealand 173 for 8 (Phillips 69, Little 4-35) beat Ireland 142 all out (Campher 29, Ferguson 4-14) by 31 runs

Lockie Ferguson used his assortment of quick deliveries and change-up slower balls to take a four-wicket haul, and in the process left Ireland 31 runs short of New Zealand’s score of 173, handing the visitor a 1-0 lead in the three-match T20I series.

Under sunny (and warm) Belfast conditions, Ireland dominated for most of the first innings, leaving New Zealand struggling at 100 for 5 at one stage, but Glenn Phillips’ late flurry with the bat pushed the visitors to 173 for 8 in 20 overs.

After Phillips’ unbeaten 52-ball 69, Ferguson took charge in the second innings, dismissing Gareth Delany and Paul Stirling early. He then returned to remove Ireland’s top scorer Curtis Campher for 29 and took the final wicket of the game having Craig Young caught behind.

Ireland had some positives, especially left-arm seamer Josh Little’s four-wicket haul that strangled New Zealand for most of the first innings. But the 61 runs conceded by Ireland in the last five overs proved to be the difference, and credit for that goes to Phillips’ acceleration, earning him Player-of-the-Match award.

NZ bowlers rally around Ferguson

Early wickets were needed for New Zealand’s fairly inexperienced bowling unit to defend 173, and it took a backpedaling catch from captain Mitchell Santner in the third over to begin Ireland’s demolition job. Jacob Duffy, playing for the first time since his appearance against Bangladesh in 2021, forced a miscued inside-out shot from Andy Balbirnie to get the opening wicket. After that, Ferguson picked off Stirling and Delany before they could enforce much damage.

The middle-overs squeeze came from Santner, James Neesham and Ish Sodhi, the trio sharing five wickets in their 11 overs, as Ireland stumbled to 96 for 7 by the 13th over. The seventh wicket was that of Campher’s, who appeared to be the only Irish batter who possibly could lead the charge in chasing the total down, but he was done in by a Ferguson yorker – plumb lbw – and then the tail wagged but not for long enough.

As the pitch got older, run-scoring did get tougher, and Santner and Neesham in particular made it even more difficult by changing their speeds and not offering deliveries at the arc of the Irish batters. Santner picked the wickets off Harry Tector and Lorcan Tucker with edges to third man and the wicketkeeper respectively while Neesham’s two strikes in the 17th over sent Ireland from seven down to nine down in the space of four balls.

It was fitting that the pick of the New Zealand bowlers, Ferguson, finished the game off. He delivered a bouncer to No. 10 Craig Young, who gloved it to the debutant Dane Cleaver.

New Zealand struggle with the bat

With key senior players missing from the T20I tour for New Zealand, onus was on Martin Guptill to provide a rollicking start after Ireland opted to bowl. But while he did race to 24 off 11 balls, three of his five boundaries were off the edge, and he eventually fell searching for a big shot to Mark Adair in the third over. His opening partner Finn Allen smacked a cut off Little straight to cover for a seven-ball one and the debutant Cleaver lasted for only five balls, getting a glove to a short ball from Little.

At 38 for 3, New Zealand’s innings needed a resuscitation. Phillips tried to do that by pushing his partner Daryl Mitchell for an extra run whenever he could do that on a Stormont ground where the square boundaries were large. But Mitchell struggled with timing, and Campher’s medium-pace had him walking back to the pavillion after he top-edged a short ball for a 10-ball 5. At 54 for 4, Ireland had the upper hand.

more to follow…

Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @sreshthx

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