WC warm-up: New Zealand overcome spirited challenge from Ireland

Nagpur: New Zealand overpowered a spirited Irish challenge to win the first warm-up game by 32 runs at the VDCA Stadium in jamtha, here on Saturday.

Chasing a stiff target of 312 for victory, the Ireland batsmen put up an impressive performance before experienced Kiwis bowled well at the death as the minnows were all-out for 279 in 48.2 overs. It was New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori who scalped four for 42 to guide his team to an unimpressive win after Irish top-order threatened to take the game away.

Credit should be given to Ireland captain William Porterfield (72, 74 balls, 8x4, 1x6) and young opener Paul Stirling (39) for smashing the New Zealand bowlers during the field restrictions as they raced their way to 93 inside 13 overs.

One Porterfield was dismissed by pacer Hamish Bennett in the 23rd over caught by James Franklin, the Irishmen lost the momentum. There were some good contributions from Ed Joyce (41), Niall O’Brien (32) and Trent Johnston (33) but that wasn’t enough as Vettori put the brakes on run-rate during middle overs.

Earlier, put into bat by Ireland skipper Porterfield, New Zealand batsmen gave a good account of themselves on a placid Jamtha strip scoring 311 for six in their stipulated 50 overs.

It was Martin Guptill who hammered the Irish bowlers en route his 130 off only 134 balls with 12 boundaries and three sixes. Guptill shared 79 run second wicket partnership with Jesse Ryder (48, 53 balls, 5x4, 1x6) in 17.1 overs after star opener Brendon McCullum (1) was cleaned up by medium pacer Boyd Rankin.

But it was a partnership of 104 for the fourth wicket with James Franklin (49, 44 balls, 3x4, 1x6) that enabled the Black Caps to cross the 300-run mark.

The century partnership was achieved in only 14.4 overs.

Although none of the Black Caps batsmen reached half century but most of them made useful contribution. Ross Taylor (33) didn’t score much but it was veteran all-rounder Scott Styris who slogged his way to an unbeaten 29 off 15 balls with the help of three sixes that provided the necessary impetus towards the end.

Trent Johnston had the best figures of two for 62 while Rankin, Kevin O’Brien, Andre Botha and Paul Stirling picked up a wicket apiece.

Brief Scores:

New Zealand 311/6 (M Guptill 130, J Franklin 49, J Ryder 48, T Johnston 2/62).

Ireland 279 in 48.2 overs (W Porterfield 72, E Joyce 41, D Vettori 4/42, K Mills 3/52).


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