New Zealand thrashed Ireland by 35 runs on Friday to enter the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup on the back of a stellar performance by spinners after Kane Williamson’s 35-ball 61 off form. New Zealand were once looking to cross 200 runs, but fast bowler Joshua Little took a hat-trick to restrict them to 185 for six. In reply, Ireland’s team could score only 150 runs for nine wickets.
New Zealand spinner Ish Sodhi took 26 wickets and Mitchell Santner took two wickets for 29 runs. Fast bowler Lockie Ferguson took three wickets. New Zealand, with seven points from five matches and a run-rate better than Australia and England, are certain to top the group. Paul Stirling scored 37 runs in 27 balls and captain Andrew Balbirnie scored 30 runs in 25 balls for Ireland. Both shared a 49-ball 68-run partnership for the first wicket, but Ireland’s defeat was decided after both of them fell within six balls.
Earlier, Ireland fast bowler Little made a memorable hat-trick to restrict New Zealand to 185 for six. Captain Williamson batted at a strike rate of over a hundred for the first time in the tournament for New Zealand, hitting five fours and three sixes in his innings. Opener Finn Allen made 32 off 18 balls, Glenn Phillips scored 17 off nine balls and Daryl Mitchell scored an unbeaten 31 off 21 balls.
Left-arm pacer Little checked New Zealand’s run-rate in the death overs, taking the wickets of Williamson, Jimmy Neesham and Mitchell Santner in the 19th over for three consecutive deliveries. Williamson was caught in the deep trying to play a big shot while Neesham and Santner were out leg before. This was the second hat-trick of this World Cup after Karthik Meiyappan of the United Arab Emirates. Karthik did this feat against Sri Lanka.