|ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Group 1, Adelaide|
|New Zealand 185-6 (20 overs): Williamson 61 (35); Little 3-22, Delany 2-30|
|Ireland 150-9 (20 overs): Stirling 37 (27); Ferguson 3-22, Santner 2-26|
|New Zealand won by 35 runs|
New Zealand edged closer to a semi-final berth in the men’s T20 World Cup with a 35-run win over Ireland.
They restricted Ireland to 150-9, with bowler Lockie Ferguson taking 3-22 and spinners Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi 2-26 and 2-31.
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson scored 35 off 61 balls to post 185-6, while Josh Little hit a hat-trick for Ireland in the 19th over.
The Kiwis are top of Group 1 with seven points from all games played.
At this stage, however, they are not guaranteed passage as Australia, who play Afghanistan on Friday at 08:00 GMT, and England, who play Sri Lanka on Saturday at 08:00 GMT, could be overtaken in net run-rate. if they win those games.
However, that is unlikely given New Zealand’s much higher net run rate, meaning they are likely to progress as a winning team.
Sri Lanka can also still reach the finals. They need Afghanistan first to beat Australia. Should that happen, if they beat England, they would be runners-up to New Zealand.
Ireland are now officially out of the competition and will finish fifth or sixth in their group, depending on their result in their last game in Afghanistan.
It has been an impressive campaign for Andrew Balbirnie as India beat England in the opening qualifying round and then England in the Super 12s.
Despite the small burst of consistent kiwi
New Zealand are a well-drilled side who regularly play to their strengths, and this was another fine example as they continued their impressive campaign.
Their openers Finn Allen and Devon Conway struggled for fluency early on but were patient and gave Williamson a platform.
Williamson was criticized for his scoring rate in the tournament – he scored 71 runs off 76 balls in the first three matches – but he played brilliantly, showing power as he hit three huge leg-side sixes.
He was aided by some wicked and cunning bowling from Ireland, and was only stopped by Little, whose reputation is growing with every match he plays.
The 23-year-old was picked up by Manchester Originals midway through The Hundred, and took tournament-best figures of 5-13 against the Oval Invincibles, taking 13 wickets in five matches to help his side into the final.
That form continued at the World Cup and he finished with 11 wickets from seven matches, but perhaps most impressively amassed 7-59 in matches against England, Australia and New Zealand.
He caught Williamson at deep square leg to start his hat-trick, before getting Jimmy Neesham and Mitchell Santner lbw, both of them going to hit mid-wicket with fast balls.
That form has already earned him a contract in the South African T20 League, which kicks off in January, and is likely to attract interest from other leagues.
Ireland’s chase started well with Balbirnie and Paul Stirling at 68-0, but once the former dragged Santner he fell down the chase.
They moved to 73-3 and then 120-6 as the spin duo of Santner and Sodhi tied Ireland up which led to wickets.
Although it ended on a slightly disappointing note, it has been a positive campaign for Ireland, with Little and batsman Lorcan Tucker, who scored 204 runs in seven games, the highlights.