Spirited Ireland suffers heartbreaking 1-run loss in pursuit of 361 against New Zealand despite Stirling, Tector tons

A lively Ireland came tantalizingly close to chasing 361 in the third ODI against New Zealand in Dublin on Friday (July 15) as Paul Stirling (120) and Harry Tector (108) hit brilliant hundreds. However, their pursuit ended in heartbreak as New Zealand held on to take a one-point victory. Responding to the Kiwis’ 360-6, Ireland finished 359-9 as the visitors won the series 3-0.

With seven overs to go, Ireland was in a good position to chase after goal, taking 53 runs with five wickets in hand. Mitchell Santner, however, brought the Kiwis to the forefront by clearing out danger man Tector. The centurion attempted a reverse sweep, but was defeated by Santner’s trickery when the ball crashed into his stumps.

In his next over, Santner sent Lorcan Tucker (14), who dragged a delivery from the left arm spinner to the short fine leg. A wayward delivery from the Kiwi spinner gave Ireland five runs in the same over.

The comparison came down to 17 from two overs. George Dockrell tapped Matt Henry’s first ball, a low leg full toss, to the fine leg line. There was another twist, however, when Dockrell, 22, went under on the Kiwi pacer, causing a ramped-up delivery to take too long.

Ireland remained in the hunt and needed nine of four deliveries. Glenn Phillips then dropped his third catch of the innings and failed to hold on to a Craig Young sacrifice of Blair Tickner at deep mid-wicket. To make matters worse for New Zealand, the ball went for four.

However, Young (6) was deflated the next ball attempting a risky single. It came down to three of the last ball. However, Graham Hume (7*) could only get a bye when he waved off and missed a slower ball from outside. Ireland remained dejected despite mounting a laudable pursuit.

Earlier, in pursuit of 361, Ireland got off to a disappointing start, when Captain Andrew Balbirnie was caught lbw by Henry for a duck. Stirling and Andy McBrine (26) added 55 for the second wicket to solidify the innings. After McBrine also died to Henry, Tector joined Stirling and gave the Kiwis a great fright.

The duo added 179 runs for the third wicket, Ireland’s highest partnership in own ODIs. Both batters looked in brilliant form as the hosts staged a sensational fight back. The seasoned Stirling hit 14 fours and five sixes in his 103 ball 120.

Tector hit seven fours and five maximums in his 108, which came from 106 balls. The beautiful score was broken when Stirling hit Henry straight into the deep midwicket. Ireland kept fighting to the end, but they came up a hair short from the finish.

Martin Guptill’s 115 pushes New Zealand to 360-6 against Ireland

Earlier, as the lead batter after winning the toss, New Zealand posted an impressive 360-6. Opener Martin Guptill played with 115 of 126 deliveries, a knock with 15 fours and two sixes. Guptill and Finn Allen (33) laid a solid foundation for the Kiwis, adding a solid 78 runs for the first wicket.

There it is! ODI 100 #18 for @Martyguptil! Tops it off with six of a free hit. 60+ are now running a partnership with Henry Nicholls as they push the team total over 200. 35 surpluses disappeared at Malahide. LIVE score | op.nzc.nz/3cbfbFn #IREvNZ https://t.co/Dqa7muZstY

Henry Nicholls came in at number 5, hitting 79 out of 54, while Phillips put in it with 47 out of 30. With cameos from Michael Bracewell (21* out of 16) and Santner (14* out of 10), New Zealand reached 360. It was almost not enough as Ireland came close to a revision.

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