Glenn Phillips starred with the bat to lead New Zealand out of early trouble and Lockie Ferguson then closed the game with four wickets in the first T20I between New Zealand and Ireland in Belfast.
Ireland dominate first half with the ball
Joshua Little and Mark Adair made early inroads into the New Zealand batting line-up in Belfast, with the visitors losing three wickets in the Powerplay overs. Little dismissed Finn Allen (1) and debutant Dane Cleaver (5) in successive overs, with Martin Guptill, who started off on fifth gear and finished on 24 (12), falling to Adair. Curtis Camper took another in the ninth over as New Zealand ambled along to 65/4 in the first 10 overs. Little finished with impressive figures of 4/35 in his four-over spell.
Glenn Phillips’ composed knock and New Zealand’s recovery
In the face of strife, Glenn Phillips stood tall for the Kiwis. The middle-order batter held his end up while James Neesham went on the charge. When Neesham was dismissed, Phillips was on 28 off 31 balls. He went on to compile his half-century in the penultimate over and then led the attack in the final over that went for 19 runs. Phillips remained unbeaten on 69 off 52 balls as New Zealand made 173.
While Phillips played the sheet anchor role, Neesham (29 off 16) and Michael Bracewell (21 off 13), fresh off a brilliant ODI series, played two crucial cameos to lift the New Zealand scoring rate up. From 65/4 in the first half of the innings, New Zealand shot ahead in the second half, making 108 runs in the final 10 overs, including 44 runs in the last three overs.
Lockie Ferguson sizzles
Ireland had put up a stiff fight in the ODIs and it wasn’t beyond them to overhaul the 174-run target. However, those hopes received an early dent when Lockie Ferguson sent back Gareth Delany and Paul Stirling in the same over to reduce Ireland to 33/3. Harry Tector’s wicket shortly afterwards, off Mitchell Santner, left Ireland reeling.
Ferguson returned later in the innings, with Curtis Camper playing a handy cameo, and produced a brilliant slow delivery to trap the Ireland all-rounder in front and leave the hosts at 96/7. He then cleaned up the final wicket to finish with figures of 4/14. It was Ferguson’s fourth haul of three or more wickets in a T20I game as he maintained an impeccable bowling average in the format.