Half a century of Kane Williamson and a spin bowling attack saw New Zealand take a 35-run victory over Ireland at the Adelaide Oval on Friday to virtually secure their place in the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup . New Zealand’s batsmen posted an impressive 185 for six after Ireland chose to field before the Black Caps bowlers capped the Irish to 150 for nine. The win allowed Williamson’s team to take first place in Group 1 with seven points and a huge run-rate advantage over second-placed England and third-placed Australia.
New Zealand’s semi-final berth will almost certainly be confirmed later on Friday with the result of the Australia-Afghanistan match at the same venue. Australia can join New Zealand on seven points, but would need an unlikely margin of victory to knock the Black Caps out of the top spot thanks to a superior net run rate.
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Ireland retires from the World Cup but goes home proudly after a solid tournament with a sparkling hat-trick for pacesetter Josh Little. Leftarmer Little had Captain Williamson catch for 61, then jailed both James Neesham and Mitchell Santner lbw for no score in the 19th left to deliver Ireland’s second hat-trick in T20 internationals.
However, the damage had already been wrought by Williamson and middle order batsman Daryl Mitchell (31 out). Paul Stirling and Andy Balbirnie gave Ireland a fighting chance, but left arm spinner Santner broke the 68-run partnership when he let Balbirnie chop his stumps.
Santner and legpinner Ish Sodhi then rattled through the highest order, taking two wickets each to suck the life out of the Irish innings. “We knew the spin would really come into play and they cast beautifully well,” Williamson said.
“A good team performance actually.” Paceman Lockie Ferguson finished with a frugal 3-22 after Ireland’s chase unraveled.
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