Ireland wilted in the heat and humidity of Malaysia, collapsing to a heavy 181 run defeat to a very

Sun, Feb 17, 2008 11:26 AM

Ireland wilted in the heat and humidity of Malaysia, collapsing to a heavy 181 run defeat to a very strong New Zealand side.

New Zealand recovered from 151 for 5 to post an imposing 314 for 9 in their 50 overs. Opener George Worker anchored the innings, falling just 2 short of a deserved century. He hit 10 boundaries in an innings which lasted 193 balls, and shared in the vital 6th wicket partnership of 65 with Tim Southee who got a quickfire 47.

The tall left hander is no stranger to the Ireland team. Two years ago in Sri Lanka he smashed a match winning 92 to break Irish hearts, this time it was a typically boundary laden innings. He hit 3 fours and 4 sixes from just 27 balls, and propelled New Zealand over the 300 mark.

Richard Keaveney took 3-63, suffering in his final overs, when he conceded 38 in 4. Ben Ackland took 3-49 in an impressive spell, while Andrew Britton (1-34) will be pleased with his efforts. Skipper Greg Thompson started well, taking 1-12 in his first 3 overs, but conceded a further 37 runs in his next two. Andrew Balbirnie (1-32), was the other Irish wicket taker.

In reply, Ireland lost Chris Dougherty early, but a fine 60 run stand between Paul Stirling and Ben Ackland (12), brought them back into the game.

Stirling showed just why he has earned a call up to the international side, as he destroyed the New Zealand attack, hitting 10 fours and 3 sixes in his 50 ball score of 72.

His dismissal sparked a collapse in the ranks, going from 98/2 to 133 all out. The team were missing both James Hall (muscle injury) and Shane Getkate (back injury).

Slow bowler Nick Beard was responsible for inflicting most of the damage - he had the remarkable analysis of 6-36 as the Irish were all out in 29.3 overs.

Ireland begin their campaign with a Group Match versus England on Sunday.

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