Belfast [Ireland], July 21 (ANI): A superb half-century from Dane Cleaver and a hat-trick by spinner Michael Bracewell helped New Zealand crush Ireland by 88 runs in the second T20I at Belfast on Wednesday and clinch the three-match series 2-0.
The match was extremely one-sided. New Zealand put up a challenging 179/4 in their 20 overs. Dane Cleaver's unbeaten 78 off 55 balls powered the batting effort of Kiwis, with Finn Allen (35) making another notable contribution. Medium pacer Josh Little was the pick of the bowlers for Ireland, taking 2/31.
The chase of 180 runs was nightmarish for the hosts as wickets kept tumbling for them regularly. The batters could not get a breather from the web spun by spinners Sodhi (3/21) and Michael Bracewell (3/5). The latter took a hat trick, becoming the third NZ bowler to do so after Jacob Oram and Tim Southee. Ireland was bundled out for just 91 runs, with Mark Adair (27) and Paul Stirling (21) scoring the most for their side.
Put to bat first by Ireland, NZ was off a solid start. Openers Martin Guptill and Finn Allen put on an aggressive stand of 44 runs, with the latter being an aggressor. Little provided the Irish with the breakthrough by sending back Allen for 35 off 20 balls.
Dane Cleaver was next on the crease. 26 runs later, medium pacer Craig Young sent back Martin Guptill for just 11, with Barry McCarthy at fine leg grabbing the ball which had hit the top edge of the batter's willow.
Cleaver then put up an aggressive stand of 53 runs with Glenn Phillips. Young uprooted Phillips' middle-stump when he was at 23 off 16 balls to make the scoreboard read 3/123.
Cleaver continued his good show, smashing Irish bowlers all over the park. He was joined by Daryl Mitchell (14) and they put on a stand of 48 runs. Mitchell was dismissed in the 19th over by Little. Cleaver (78*) and James Neesham (1*) were standing unbeaten for NZ with score reading 179/4 at the end of 20 overs.
The chase of 180 runs started solidly for the Irish, with Paul Stirling providing some aggression. However, in the third over, Stirling was sent back for 21 by pacer Lockie Ferguson with skipper Mitchell Santner taking a good catch at mid-off.
After this, a collapse was triggered. Medium pacer Jacob Duffy and spinner Ish Sodhi led their respective departments from the front and took six wickets within a span of 31 runs.
Mark Adair and Barry McCarthy tried to drag the chase as far as they could, but Bracewell dismissed them both and Craig Young in the 14th over, taking a hat-trick. Ireland was bundled out for just 91 and fell 88-runs short of a win.
Sodhi (3/21) and Bracewell (3/5) were the leading bowlers for the Kiwis. Duffy got two while Ferguson got one wicket.
Cleaver was adjudged as the 'Man of the Match' for his brilliant 78*. (ANI)