New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson played exquisite shots all across the park to make a solid 61 to help his side reach a challenging 185/6 against Ireland in Group 2 match of Super 12s in the Men’s T20 World Cup at the Adelaide Oval on Friday.
But the thunder of Williamson’s first fifty of this tournament, opening up after a slowish start, was stolen by Ireland left-arm pacer Josh Little taking a sensational hat-trick at the fag end of the innings, ending with figures of 3/22 in his four overs.
Little dismissed Williamson, Jimmy Neesham and Mitchell Santner on the trot in the 19th over to become just the second bowler from Ireland to take a hat-trick in T20 World Cups and also the second such instance of this in the ongoing tournament.
Pushed into batting first, New Zealand’s aggressive opening duo of Finn Allen and Devon Conway were kept in check for the initial stages of powerplay. Allen finally cut loose against Gareth Delany by taking three fours in the fourth over. He then took on pacer Adair with a four and a six. But the pacer had the last laugh in the final over of the powerplay, as Allen hit straight to mid-off.
In the 12th over, Conway holed out to long-on off Delany. But New Zealand were quick in rebuilding their innings with Williamson and Glenn Phillips hitting delightful boundaries. Though Phillips fell after a quick nine-ball 17, Williamson batted on for the bulk of the innings.
He seemed to have found his rhythm which had deserted him in the tournament, timing the ball as nicely as he did and picking runs through gaps at will. After getting his fifty with a magnificent flick going over deep mid-wicket fence off Barry McCarthy to reach his fifty, Williamson looked all set to get New Zealand past 200.
But Little’s hat-trick in the 19th over meant Ireland pulled back things very nicely to keep New Zealand to 185/6.
Brief scores: New Zealand 185/6 in 20 overs (Kane Williamson 61, Finn Allen 32; Josh Little 3/22, Gareth Delany 2/30) against Ireland.