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Ireland crash to defeat
Ireland lost by 44 runs to New Zealand in their penultimate warm-up ahead of the ICC World Twenty20 competition at the Guyana National Stadium.
Ireland lost by 44 runs to New Zealand in their penultimate warm-up ahead of the ICC World Twenty20 competition at the Guyana National Stadium.
New Zealand, led by an opening knock of 64 in 30 balls by Jesse Ryder, had scored 187 for five in their 20 overs and Ireland never got the run rate up high enough to mount a serious threat, skipper William Porterfield top-scoring with 34.
The Irish get their Group D campaign under way on Friday night in Georgetown against tournament hosts the West Indies and then return next Tuesday to face England.
Having spent the last month in Jamaica and Trinidad playing warm-up matches, the Irish were getting their first experience of the ground where they will make the World T20 debut having qualified along with Afghanistan in February at the ICC qualifying tournament in Dubai.
With Daniel Vettori having won the toss and elected to bat on a muggy day in the Guyanese capital, New Zealand got off to a strong start with Ryder and Rob Nicol sharing an opening stand of 104.
Ryder had been the dominant partner with four sixes and five fours in his knock of 64 off 30 balls before Porterfield brought teenagers George Dockrell and Paul Stirling into the attack.
Off-spinner Stirling, 19, bowled Ryder in the 10th over and was involved again the next over when 17-year-old Dockrell's slow left arm induced Nicol to loft a catch to him at deep square leg without New Zealand adding to their total, the Kiwi opener having scored 31 in 30 balls.
Dockrell's next two overs brought wickets as Gary Wilson caught Scott Styris for four in the 13th and wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien stumped his opposite number Gareth Hopkins, out for five, in the 15th.
At the other end, New Zealand number three Martin Gupthill was keep the runs ticking over with three sixes and two fours on his way to a 50 in 33 balls before falling on the last ball of the 19th over, caught by John Mooney off Kevin O'Brien in the Irishman's only over of the innings that had also cost his side 15 runs.
That left skipper Vettori and Nathan McCullum to close out the Black Caps' innings, adding nine runs in the 20th over with Vettori unbeaten on 15 from seven balls and his partner reaching three not out as New Zealand reached 187 for five.
Stirling's one wicket in four overs had come for 21 runs with Dockrell the pick of the Ireland bowlers in his four-over spell which yielded three for 22.
Stirling was quickly back in action with the bat, opening alongside Ireland captain Porterfield but with New Zealand deploying off-spinner McCullum to open the attack, the Irish were quickly in trouble.
Porterfield got off the mark first ball but Stirling was gone two deliveries later for a duck.
The Irish captain and O'Brien enjoyed better fortunes from Kyle Mills' medium pace deliveries, O'Brien racing to 12 before McCullum returned in the third over to bowl him and leave the qualifiers on 19 for two.
Porterfield continued to pick up the pace in tandem with new partner Kevin O'Brien but the captain was caught at point in the 11th over for 34 after the pair had moved the score on to 82 for three.
Kevin O'Brien soon followed him, run out in the 12th over for 28 as Ireland, behind in their required run rate, reached 89 for four with two new batsmen at the crease in former skipper Trent Johnson and Gary Wilson.
That pairing also threatened to kick on but both were stumped as Hopkins racked up his second and third victims, Johnston going for 16 after eight balls and Wilson, the back-up wicketkeeper, hitting 31 in 29.
That effectively ended Ireland's challenge as the tail-end were quickly mopped up, McCullum finishing the game as New Zealand's best bowler with three for 25 from four overs ahead of their opening match against defending champions Sri Lanka, the first game of the tournament on Friday night in Georgetown.
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