Bracewell snares hat-trick as NZ take series win

Michael Bracewell (c) celebrates with teammates after the Black Caps' victory over Ireland. Photo: Getty
Michael Bracewell (c) celebrates with teammates after the Black Caps' victory over Ireland. Photo: Getty
Everything Michael Bracewell touches in Ireland appears to turn to gold.

Bracewell continued his outstanding tour of Ireland by taking a hat-trick to close out New Zealand's second Twenty20 victory over Ireland in Belfast this morning as the Black Caps secured a series win in convincing fashion.

Bracewell took Ireland's last three wickets in consecutive deliveries in his first ever over in the format as the hosts were bowled out for 91 in their chase of 179 for four.

Bracewell ended with 3-5 off five balls to join Jacob Oram and Tim Southee as the only other Black Caps to achieve hat-tricks in a Twenty20 international.

Mark Adair and Barry McCarthy were the first two victims of the hat-trick, both playing simple catches to Glenn Phillips at deep midwicket, while an Ish Sodhi catch of Craig Young at backward point completed the sequence and the match.

In his second outing for New Zealand, Dane Cleaver led the way in the New Zealand innings with 78 from 55 balls in a man of the match performance.

Bracewell has made his mark on the Ireland tour after a superb maiden century rescued New Zealand in the opening ODI to record a famous one-wicket victory. He then made 42 not out in the second match, which ensured a three-wicket win.

"There's not a lot that [Bracewell] can't do at the moment so I thought I'd get him in there. We're pretty happy with the win today," captain Mitchell Santner said.

"The wicket looked a little better in the first innings but it was a bit up and down. The way Dane paced that innings was good and then our bowlers did well."

Although it was a nice piece of history, the truth is the damage was done well before Bracewell got his hands on the ball.

The hosts were struggling at 4-41 in their chase when Jacob Duffy (2-20) and Lockie Ferguson (1-10) removed Ireland's top three along with a Phillips' direct hit which dismissed Harry Tector.

The introduction of Sodhi only made matters worse when he took three wickets in his first two overs which left them in a massive hole at 7-56.

Adair got Ireland closer to triple figures with four fours and a six before Bracewell finished them off.

"Sometimes you can have days like that with the bat. When you're 50-odd for seven chasing 170, you're never really in the game," Ireland captain Andy Balbirnie said.

"[The pitch] played similar throughout the whole game so we as batters have to take responsibility that this isn't good enough in international cricket. We've got one more crack at them and we'll see how we go."

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