DUBLIN: Ireland lost the first ODI against New Zealand by one wicket, after almost sealing victory. Ireland lost the toss and scored 300 runs for the loss of nine wickets in 50 overs. New Zealand overcame the target set by the hosts on the fifth ball of the last over.
The visitors needed 20 runs to win in the last over. But with just one wicket to spare, their batting spearhead Michael Bracewell made 24 to seal victory. Bracewell’s magnificent innings of 127 not out off 82 balls led the Kiwis to victory. Bracewell hit a boundary off the first two balls of the last over bowled by Craig Young. The Kiwi batter didn’t stop and smashed a four and a six off the next two balls. With only two runs in the last two balls needed, the fifth ball was again sent for a six to give the Irish team pain. With just two runs needed off the last two balls, the fifth ball was again sent for a six to give New Zealand a stunning win. Bracewell’s innings included 10 fours and seven sixes.
Harry Tector, who performed well against India, also crushed the Kiwi bowlers yesterday. Tector scored 113 runs from 117 balls and gave Ireland a fighting total. Curtis Kampfer (43), Andy McBrine (39) and Indian origin Simi Singh (30) also performed well.
Bracewell turned everything upside down when the men in green thought they had won the match against the mighty New Zealand till the last over. Ireland only conceded four runs in the 49th over. 20 runs needed to win in the 50th over with just one wicket to spare! But 32-year-old Craig Young succumbed to Bracewell’s magic. Bracewell scored 86 runs off 36 balls in the last ten overs.