Dublin: Michael Bracewell’s unbeaten century guided New Zealand to a dramatic one-wicket win, with just a ball to spare, in the first one-day international against Ireland on Sunday.
New Zealand, chasing 301 to win, were in dire straits at 120-5 and they still needed 20 runs off the last over with only one wicket standing.
But Bracewell hit Craig Young for 24 off five balls — a sequence of 4, 4, 6, 4, 6 — to be 127 not out as the Black Caps finished on 305-9.
Earlier, Ireland’s Harry Tector made 113, his maiden ODI hundred, in the hosts total of 300-9. The 22-year-old converted his fourth successive half-century at this level — and eighth in his last 11 ODI innings — to a score of 113 off just 117 balls, including 14 fours and three sixes.
His latest impressive innings at this level delighted home fans at the Malahide ground near Dublin.
Tector came in with Ireland in trouble at 26-2 in the seventh over against New Zealand, runners-up in the last two men’s ODI World Cup finals.
But having played himself in against testing opening spells from Black Caps quicks Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry during a 71-ball fifty, he completed a 109-ball hundred in some style with four successive fours off seamer Blair Tickner.
The bowler, however, had his revenge when he dismissed Tector to leave Ireland 251-6 in the 44th over.
Tector’s highest ODI score came just two weeks after he produced his best T20 international score — 64 not out off 33 balls — against an India attack featuring Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Yuzvendra Chahal.
On Sunday, he received useful support from Andy McBrine (39) and Curtis Campher (43), with George Dockrell (18) and Simi Singh (30) taking Ireland to 300 after they lost three wickets in 11 balls.
Ferguson took 2-44 in a maximum 10 overs in his first ODI since March 2020, bowling the experienced Paul Stirling with an inswinger before having McBrine caught behind.
Ireland were without coach Heinrich Malan after the South African tested positive for Covid-19.