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Match Report
Ian Callender, Richard Gillis

Ireland made two changes for this match. Andre Botha had a hamstring injury and was replaced by John Mooney while Kevin O'Brien returned for Paul Mooney.

Report by Richard Gillis of the Irish Times on 10th April 2007.

Ireland lost their third Super Eights game comprehensively here in Georgetown as a late onslaught by New Zealand's batsmen changed the character of the match that, earlier in the day, had begun to swing Ireland's way. At 189-7 off 42 overs, the New Zealanders were looking decidedly shaky. That they went on to amass 263 says much about their all-round strength as, like England a week ago, they plundered tired Irish bowling in the final five overs of their innings. A frustrating eighth wicket stand of 71 in 43 balls between Brendan McCullum and James Franklin turned a below par total into an intimidating one. The depth of batting in the side were shown by Franklin, the Kiwi number 10, who has a Test century to his name

Their late-order bludgeoning ruined Trent Johnston's figures. The captain's first eight overs conceded 32 runs, his last two a further 31, including one huge six by McCullum which sailed back over the bowler's head and smashed a window in the Providence National Stadium's brand new media centre. Faced with such a target, the Ireland innings was always behind the pace. From a high point of 110-3, the Ireland innings descended to 134 all out. The last seven wickets fell for 24 runs in nine overs.

Early in the day, New Zealand's decision to bat was taken in the light of Bangladesh's giant-killing performance on this ground a few days before, when their three spinners tormented the South Africans on a pitch that turned more as the day went on.

It was a lethargic start, with Boyd Rankin bowling a series of loose overs, including seven wides. It was something of a shock then when he then removed Kiwi captain Stephen Fleming with a good ball. The slow pace of the wicket was demonstrated by some imaginative field placements as Johnston employed his close catchers in front of the wicket, at short extra cover, rather than at slip.

The pick of the Ireland bowlers was the off-spinning duo of Kyle McCallan and Andrew White, who bowled in tandem to tie down the New Zealand middle order that has lit up this tournament. Bowling at a pace that perfectly suited the pitch, McCallan finished with figures of 2-35 off his 10 overs. Their ability to contain even the most aggressive batsmen were shown by the innings of Jacob Oram, who walked to the wicket with a barnstorming reputation and a 2007 average of 97 in all ODIs. Oram walked back to the pavilion having scored 20 from 48 balls, all in singles.

Jeremy Bray came to the wicket with two noughts from his last two innings. Such was his desire to avoid a third he risked a single to Oram at point who threw down the stumps at the bowler's end as Bray dived for his ground. This left the decision too close for the TV cameras to call. He got the benefit of the doubt. He went quickly afterwards, to a brute of a ball from Shane Bond, the quickest bowler in the tournament. Bond was certainly too quick for William Porterfield's pull shot, which edged over slips and was caught running backwards by Scott Styris.

As has so often been the case, Morgan and Niall O'Brien consolidated following the early wickets, and pressure was exerted by tight Kiwi bowling on a run rate that did not rise above three an over. Attempting to free the shackles, Morgan had a beautiful pull shot off the left arm swing bowling of Franklin, the most uninhibited shot he has played in the tournament so far. However he went next over, bringing Kevin O'Brien in to join his brother. The younger O'Brien has been in and out of the side, but his batting here showed real maturity, as he hit a series of boundaries, including three sixes struck with a short arm jab, the follow-through barely reaching hip height. He had outscored his brother by two to one. He was one short of a deserved half-century when disaster struck. Called by his brother for a single, he was then sent back halfway down the wicket and run out by several feet. As Kevin walked off, Niall held his head in despair.

Perhaps trying to make up for the error, the elder O'Brien was then caught as he ran down to Patel lofting him to deep mid-wicket. His exit precipitated a rush of Ireland wickets as the pressure of a run rate above a run a ball proved too much.

Report by Ian Callender in Daily Mail on 10th April, 2007.

New Zealand maintained their unbeaten record at the World Cup as Ireland were bamboozled by the spin of Daniel Vettori in the Super Eight clash in Guyana's National Stadium, going down by 129 runs. A first win in the second phase may be as far away as ever but a defiant fourth wicket stand of 75 between the O'Brien brothers ensured Ireland were competitive for a large part of the match. Indeed, while Niall and Kevin were adding 75 for the fourth wicket, even reaching their victory target of 264 was not so fanciful. However, a horrible mix-up when Niall fatally sent back his younger brother led to a collapse which saw Ireland lose four wickets for 18 runs and the chance of the upset to beat all upsets was gone.

The Black Cap's match winners were all too predictable. Shame Bond, the second-best bowler in the world rankings, took two early wickets and the spin twins Vettori and Jeetan Patel finished them off in some style.

If Ireland thought they produced a good fielding display then it was nothing compared to the New Zealanders who, unlike Ireland who have failed to hit the stumps with a direct throw in the whole tournament, just could not miss yesterday. The difference between the sides was stark and with the world champions next, on a fast wicket in Barbados, there could be more of the same on Friday.

Jeremy Bray and William Porterfield continue to struggle at the top of the order. Bray got his first run in three matches with a risky single, only surviving because the moment the ball hit the stumps was between frames on the replay, but it hardly mattered because he got a beauty from Bond almost immediately and the edge carried to the wicket-keeper. Porterfield attempted to pull an 84 mph delivery from Mr Bond and only got a top edge and when Eoin Morgan was caught off the bottom edge, off Jacob Oram, Ireland were 35-3.

The O'Briens then dominated the next 16 overs with Kevin particularly impressive, hitting three sixes until, at 49, he was called and sent back by Niall and Hamish Marshall swooped to end the partnership.

The rest was a procession with Vettori finishing with four wickets, three of them lbw against bemused batsmen and Patel got two with his off-spin as Ireland failed to survive to the end of the 30th over.

The Ireland bowlers produced a poor start, a good middle and another disappointing finale as the New Zealanders plundered 45 from the last three overs. After just one boundary in the previous 26 overs, Johnston and Kevin O'Brien conceded seven in the last 18 balls, two of them sixes, to turn a respectable 218-7 into a match-winning total.

The first eight overs were not too clever either with Dave Langford-Smith and Boyd Rankin over-pitching too often, striving for the perfect length on a desperately slow pitch, and Peter Fulton was also lethal on anything wide. Rankin conceded 27 runs in his opening spell of four overs but, not to be completely outplayed, he chimed in with his ninth wicket and following the dismissals of Herschelle Gibbs, AB De Villiers, Michael Vaughan and Ed Joyce in his last two games, added the prize scalp of Stephen Fleming. The New Zealand captain played a loose drive outside off stump and Porterfield gratefully snapped him up. At the other end, Langford-Smith was hit for quartet of fours in the space of eight balls but came back splendidly to dismiss Hamish Marshall, caught over his head by Morgan at extra cover and, crucially, Scott Styris, the in-form Kiwi.

With both powerplays out of the way by the end of the 20th over, Johnston wasted no time in introducing not only Kyle McCallan but also Andrew White into the attack. In tandem for 13 overs, they restricted the free-scoring batsmen to 55 runs, 10 of those coming off the last two overs, with the giant Oram rendered virtually strokeless. Both bowlers deservedly finished with two wickets, McCallan having Craig McMillan caught at short third man and Fulton, the backbone of the innings, was lbw for 83 in the 39th over. White had to wait for his second spell to join the wicket-taking column but with his fourth ball he tempted Oram to drive straight to long-on, his 20 runs had used up 48 balls, and with his ninth Daniel Vettori was caught down the leg side by Niall O'Brien.

Because of the success of the spinners and Johnston in the middle of the innings, Kevin O'Brien was not introduced until the 46th over but his second over went for 14 and with the captain, much like his finishing performance against England, leaking runs at the other end, the New Zealanders were more than happy with their final total. They knew anything McCallan and White could do, Vettori and Patel would follow. And how!

Man of the Match award went to New Zealand opening batsman Peter Fulton.