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T20 World Cup: Kane Williamson, spinners set up New Zealand’s 35-run win over Ireland

New Zealand vs Ireland
New Zealand players celebrate after defeating Ireland by 35 runs in their T20 World Cup cricket match in Adelaide, Australia, Friday, Nov. 4, 2022. (Photo | PTI)

New Zealand first team to seal semifinal spot

ADELAIDE, November 4: Kane Williamson got into the groove with a 35-ball 61 before the spinners foxed Ireland batters with their guile as New Zealand registered a 35-run win on Friday.
New Zealand also went on to become the first team to book a semifinal berth in the T20 World Cup after Australia were restricted to 168-8 by Afghanistan in a crucial game.
After New Zealand beat Ireland by 35 runs in their final Super 12 group, defending champions Australia needed to win against Afghanistan by an improbable 185 runs to overtake the net run rate of their Trans-Tasman rivals.
New Zealand on Friday became the first team to book a semifinal berth in the T20 World Cup after Australia were restricted to 168-8 by Afghanistan in a crucial game.
After New Zealand beat Ireland by 35 runs in their final Super 12 group, defending champions Australia needed to win against Afghanistan by an improbable 185 runs to overtake the net run rate of their Trans-Tasman rivals.
New Zealand were on course for a 200 plus total before pacer Joshua Little picked up a memorable hat-trick to limit New Zealand to 185 for six.
New Zealand spinners Ish Sodhi (2/26) and Mitchell Santer (2/29) stifled Ireland, who ended with 150 for nine. Pacer Lockie Ferguson picked up three wickets.
New Zealand are set to top the group with seven points from five games and have a better run rate compared to England and Australia, who can also get to seven points.
Ireland failed to advance to the semifinals but can hold their head high after a memorable campaign that included wins against the West Indies and England.
Paul Stirling (37 off 27) and captain Andrew Balbirnie (30 off 25) kept Ireland in the game with a 68-run stand off 49 balls for the opening wicket but their dismissal in a space of six balls sealed Ireland’s fate.
Both Santer and Sodhi made strong comebacks after going for runs in their respective first overs with Stirling and Balbirnie looking in ominous touch.
They purposely slowed down their pace to make it tougher for the batters to put the deliveries away and that worked instantly. Balbirnie played on to his stumps while attempting a cut shot off Santner.
In the following over, Stirling went for a slog sweep off Sodhi only to see his stumps disturbed, leaving Ireland at 70 for two. A battling collapse followed with Ireland reduced to 120 for six.
Earlier, Williamson batted at a strike rate of more than 100 for the first time in this tournament and got fluent as his innings progressed. His knock comprised five fours and three sixes.
The other notable contributions came from opener Finn Allen (32 off 18), the in-form Glenn Phillips (17 off 9) and Daryl Mitchell (31 not out off 21).
Left-arm pacer Little put the brakes on the New Zealand scoring rate in the death overs by removing a well set Williamson, Jimmy Neesham and Santner off successive balls in 19th over.
While Williamson was caught in the deep attempting another big hit, Little trapped Neesham and Santner in front of the stumps with two straight deliveries that skidded on. It was this World Cup’s second hat-trick after UAE’s Karthik Meiyappan achieved the feat against Sri Lanka.
The biggest positive for New Zealand was their leader Williamson finding his groove. He struggled for timing initially before changing gears.
The skipper brought UP his half-century with a flick off pacer Barry McCarthy that went all the way for six over deep midwicket before depositing one in the same region two balls later for another six.
Williamson perished in the 19th as his pull shot off Little did not get the desired elevation.
New Zealand were set to cross 200 but Ireland pegged them back by conceding only 12 runs in the last two overs.
Australia vs Afghanistan: Australia survive Rashid scare to keep slim semifinal hopes alive

Australia survive Rashid scare
Australia’s David Warner, right, embraces Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan following their T20 World Cup match in Adelaide. (AP Photo)


Defending champions Australia survived a late Rashid Khan onslaught to eke out a narrow four-run win over Afghanistan and keep their slim semifinal hopes alive in the T20 World Cup here on Friday.
By virtue of the win, Australia moved to the second spot in Group 1 with seven points from five games, same as New Zealand, who became the first team to qualify for the semifinals on account of a better net run rate.
Australia, however, failed to get past England’s net run rate as the hosts needed to restrict Afghanistan below 106 after posting 168 for eight.
That means if England beat Sri Lanka in Sydney in their final game on Saturday, they too will finish with seven points and will join New Zealand in the semifinal from Group 1 with a better net run rate.
Glenn Maxwell was the top-scorer for Australia as he hit a quickfire fifty but Afghanistan pulled things back nicely in the final five overs to limit the defending champions to a decent total.
Maxwell made an unbeaten 32-ball 54 that included six boundaries and two hits over the fence after Afghanistan invited Australia to bat.
In response, Afghanistan nearly pulled off a sensational win, riding on Rashid’s (48 not out off 23 balls) pyrotechnics but eventually fell short.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz got Afghanistan’s chase off to a decent start with a 17-ball 30 during which he struck two boundaries and as many sixes but Australia forged their way back, removing both the openers.
Gulbadin Naib (39) and Ibrahim Zadran (26), however, were in no mood to give up without a fight and stitched 59 runs off 46 balls for the second wicket.
Both Naib and Zadran used the inside out shots over the infield to good effect and kept the Afghans in the hunt.
It took a brilliant piece of work from Maxwell from the outfield to break the stand. Maxwell came up with a direct hit from deep mid-wicket to cut short Naib’s innings and then in the very next ball Zadran top-edged Adam Zampa to Marsh.
Zampa inflicted another missed timed shot to dismiss Najibullah Zadran as Afghanistan lost the plot in the 14th over.
Towards the end, Rashid played some lusty blows and together with Darwish Rasooli shared quick 45 runs off 28 balls to reduce the equation to 22 of the last over.
Rashid managed to hit Marcus Stonis for two fours and one six in the final over but it was not enough.
Earlier, Australia lost Cameroon Green early but David Warner (25 off 18) and Mitchell Marsh (45 off 30) kept the run rate up with their fiery strokeplay.
But two quick wickets in the sixth over in the form of Warner and Steve Smith saw the hosts slump to 52 for 3 in the powerplay.
While Warner was bowled by a Naveen-ul-Haq off-cutter as the batter went for an extravagant switch hit, Smith was adjudged LBW three balls later.
Marsh then top-edged Mujeeb Ur Rahman (1/42) while going for a slog sweep and Gurbaz took a fine high catch to send the batter packing as Australia were reduced to 86 for 4 in the 11th over.
Maxwell and Stoinis (25 off 21) then joined hands and shared 53 runs off just 29 balls for the fifth wicket.
While Maxwell looked in ominous form, cutting, pulling and lofting Afghan bowlers over the boundary, Stoinis struggled with his timing.
Stoinis had just two sixes during his 21-ball knock before he handed a simple catch to Usman Ghani at backward point off Rashid.
Stand-in captain Matthew Wade too didn’t trouble the scorers much as he was cleaned up by Fazalhaq Farooqi’s toe-crushing yorker.
From 133 for 4 in 15 overs, Australia kept on losing wickets to lose the momentum as Maxwell found boundaries hard to come by after a promising start.
Maxwell brought up his fifty off 29 balls with a four off Farooqi in the final over and found the fence again in the last ball to finish the innings on a high. (PTI)

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