Bracewell belts Black Caps to win in thriller

Michael Bracewell. File photo
Michael Bracewell. File photo
All-rounder Michael Bracewell has saved the Black Caps from their first defeat to Ireland with some remarkable late hitting, denying the hosts a famous win in Dublin.

In one of the great match-saving innings for New Zealand, Bracewell pretty much singlehandedly won the game for the Black Caps with 127 not out, including all of the required 20 off the final over to pull off a one-wicket victory.

Ireland looked set to match their rugby counterparts and pull off a convincing win over the Black Caps in the first ODI.

At 217 for eight chasing 301 for victory, it looked a formality only for Bracewell to smash his maiden ODI century and secure a famous win.

Bracewell finished with 127 off 82 balls with seven sixes.

Needing 20 off the final over, with New Zealand down to their last wicket, Bracewell went four, four, six, four, six to win it with a ball to spare.

But there was also all the work that Bracewell did just to get New Zealand in that final over position.

New Zealand looked out of the match at 120 for five and equally so at 217 for eight before Bracewell and Lockie Ferguson put on 64 for the ninth wicket.

Before today, not only had the Black Caps never lost to Ireland, it had never been close in the previous four meetings.

New Zealand went into the series without Kane Williamson, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Devon Conway and coach Gary Stead, while Adam Milne suffered an injury on the eve of the first game and Mitchell Santner was unavailable due to Covid.

Batting first, Ireland lost early wickets with experienced opener Paul Stirling bowled by Ferguson for just five before fellow opener and skipper Andrew Balbirnie was caught behind off Matt Henry, leaving the hosts 26-2 in the seventh over.

That brought to the crease Harry Tector, who led Ireland with his maiden century. Playing his in 21st ODI, the 22-year-old brought up the ton in style with four consecutive fours off Blair Tickner to convert his fourth straight half century.

Tector had support from Andy McBrine (39) and Curtis Campher (43) before some late runs from number 10 Simi Singh (30) got Ireland to 300 for nine.

Their previous highest against New Zealand was 238 in a 57-run defeat in 2017.

Ferguson, Tickner and Ish Sodhi finished with two wickets each.

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