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New Zealand 219 for 7 (Allen 60, Latham 55, Bracewell 42*, Adair 2-29, Simi 2-51) beat Ireland 216 (Dockrell 74, Bracewell 2-26, Santner 2-32) by three wickets
A dominant bowling performance from New Zealand pinned down Ireland to 216 and helped the visitors sew up the three-match ODI series, with one game to go. Matt Henry, Jacob Duffy, Michael Bracewell, Mitchell Santner and Glenn Phillips shared the spoils for New Zealand. That Ireland passed 200, on a Malahide track that favoured both the seamers and spinners, was largely down to George Dockrell's counterattacking 61-ball 74 - his highest score in ODI cricket - and Mark Adair's unbeaten 27 off 15 balls.
Adair then let it rip with the ball, castling Martin Guptill and Will Young for ducks with his first two deliveries. Guptill was yorked first ball and then Young was bowled by a full nip-backer. Finn Allen and Tom Latham then settled the chase with half-centuries, but New Zealand still needed a cameo from Bracewell (42* off 40 balls) to finish it off. He did so in grand style once again, launching a six over mid-on.
With Adair and co. also zipping the new ball around, Allen, who usually loves bat on ball, had to rein himself in. He was on 6 off 18 balls at one point but found the release when he fetched a hip-high short ball from outside off and pulled Craig Young to the square-leg boundary. And when Adair erred too full, Allen pumped him for four successive boundaries, including a six over mid-off, in the ninth over. Allen powered to his maiden ODI fifty, in his second game, off 47 balls. However, when he looked good for more, he toe-ended Curtis Campher to mid-on for 60 off 58 balls. His dismissal snapped a 101-run third-wicket partnership with Latham.
Latham was the more circumspect of the two, often cautiously hiding his bat inside the line when Ireland moved the ball away from him and hitting through the line when the ball was in his arc. Andy McBrine and Simi Singh both tested Latham and it was Simi who trapped him lbw for 55 off 71 balls. Phillips then chopped on for a run-a-ball 16, but Bracewell coolly closed it out for New Zealand after having set it up for them with the ball.
Bracewell and Santner bowled 20 overs between them in the afternoon, claiming 4 for 58. Bracewell, in particular, made the most of the grip, turn and bounce that was on offer, ending with 10-1-26-2 - the most-economical ten-over spell by a New Zealand spinner since Daniel Vettori's 4 for 18 against Afghanistan in Napier in the 2015 World Cup.
After overnight and early-morning rains delayed the start by half an hour, it was Henry who had set the tone for New Zealand by swinging and seaming the new ball. The mandatory powerplay, in which Ireland managed only 19 for 2, was straight out of a passage of play from Test cricket. Henry relentlessly plugged away in the channel outside off, as did Duffy, who was making his ODI debut at the expense of Lockie Ferguson, threatening both the outside and inside edges.
Believe it or not, Henry's powerplay analysis read 5-3-4-2. He struck in the very first over when he swung a full ball into a crease-bound Paul Stirling's back pad in a wicket-maiden. Andy Balbirnie misjudged a similar inswinger and watched it thud into the bails after he offered no shot. Much like Henry, Duffy began his shift with a maiden but unlike Henry he extracted significant extra bounce.
Ireland needed 21 balls to get off the mark and 57 balls to find the fence. It was McBrine who ended the boundary drought when he belted Duffy through the covers. In the next over, bowled by Henry, McBrine hit two more fours to briefly repair the innings.
McBrine scored 28 off 48 balls before Bracewell pushed an offbreak well wide of off stump and had him stumped. It was Bracewell's second wicket of the day. He had stuck in his first over, too, when he had an advancing Harry Tector slicing a catch to long-on.
Bracewell, who was introduced into the attack in the 13th over ahead of Santner, showed control with his lengths and lines, something that was missing in the Test series in England and also in the first ODI against Ireland.
Santner, who was brought into the attack in the 20th over, marked his return from a bout of Covid-19 with a beauty that drifted in and turned sharply past the outside edge of Campher. After turning another stock ball past Campher's bat, he found the outside edge by shifting wide on the crease in the 28th over. When part-time offspinner Phillips removed Loran Tucker for 19, Ireland were 126 for 6 in the 37th over.
Dockrell and Simi got together at this point and struck up a 59-run seventh-wicket stand off 48 balls. After seeing off threatening spells from Bracewell and Santner, Dockrell lined up the seamers by regularly manufacturing swinging room and lifting the ball over the off-side infield. That the ball had now stopped swinging for Henry, Duffy and Blair Tickner also aided Dockrell. He notched up his third ODI fifty off 48 balls and celebrated it with a sequence of 4,4,4, 6 in six balls; the highlight being the straight six off Santner in the 44th over.
In the next over, however, Dockrell holed out to long-on to give Duffy his first ODI scalp. Simi rode his luck - he survived a tight stumping on 11 - and miscued a brace of reverse-sweeps before he was run-out for 16. Santner capped his spell by having Craig Young nicking behind to Latham for a duck.
Ireland, ultimately, folded in 48 overs and there would be no way back for them, despite Adair's two-in-two at the start of their defence.
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