New Zealand overcome spirited challenge from Ireland

Nagpur, Feb 12 (PTI) New Zealand overpowered a spiritedIrish challenge to win the first warm-up game by 32 runs atthe VDCA Stadium in jamtha, here today.

Chasing a stiff target of 312 for victory, the Irelandbatsmen put up an impressive performance before experiencedKiwis bowled well at the death as the minnows were all-out for279 in 48.2 overs. It was New Zealand captain Daniel Vettoriwho scalped four for 42 to guide his team to an unimpressivewin after Irish top-order threatened to take the game away.

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

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

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

It was Martin Guptill who hammered the Irish bowlers enroute his 130 off only 134 balls with 12 boundaries and threesixes. Guptill shared 79 run second wicket partnership withJesse Ryder (48, 53 balls, 5x4, 1x6) in 17.1 overs after staropener Brendon McCullum (1) was cleaned up by medium pacerBoyd Rankin.

But it was a partnership of 104 for the fourth wicketwith James Franklin (49, 44 balls, 3x4, 1x6) that enabled theBlack 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 halfcentury but most of them made useful contribution. Ross Taylor(33) didn''t score much but it was veteran all-rounder ScottStyris who slogged his way to an unbeaten 29 off 15 balls withthe help of three sixes that provided the necessary impetustowards the end.

Trent Johnston had the best figures of two for 62 whileRankin, Kevin O''Brien, Andre Botha and Paul Stirling picked upa wicket apiece.

Brief Scores: New Zealand 311/6 (M Guptill 130, JFranklin 49, J Ryder 48, T Johnston 2/62). Ireland 279 in 48.2overs (W Porterfield 72, E Joyce 41, D Vettori 4/42, K Mills3/52).

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