Ireland on Friday almost pulled off a cricketing heist while chasing New Zealand's 360/6 in the third and final ODI match at The Village, Dublin. With Paul Stirling (120 off 103) and Harry Tector (108 off 106) hitting centuries, the hosts were on course for a magical win, But they ended up losing by one run in the thrilling chase. Another heartbreak for Ireland. New Zeland thus completed a 3-0 series sweep. They had already taken the series, thanks to two nervy wins, by one wicket and three wickets, in the first two matches. But it was almost a different day.
Needing 10 runs in the last over, bowled by Blair Tickner, debutant Graham Hume managed a single off the first two deliveries, then Craig Young not only got a life, but also four thanks to a misfield at deep mid-wicket by error-prone Glenn Phillips. Young got run out the next ball while returning for a second, leaving the equation at four off two with the last man Joshua Little in the middle. It became three off one, and Ireland managed only one bye.
Ireland's innings witnessed 34 fours and 11 sixes. For New Zealand, Matt Henry and Mitchell Santner took four (4/68) and three (3/71) wickets respectively.
Earlier, New Zealand captain Tom Latham won the toss and opted to bat first. Both the sides made changes -- a couple of changes for Ireland. Graham Hume made his debut, while Gareth Delany replaced Simi Singh. One change for New Zealand with Lockie Ferguson coming in for Jacob Duffy.
New Zealand then rode Martin Guptill's 18th ODI ton (115 off 126) and Henry Nicholls' 79 off 54 to post a massive total of 360/6 in their stipulated 50 overs. Glenn Phillips contributed with 47 off 30, while Michael Bracewell, continuing his good form, played a little cameo of 21 off 16. The innings witnessed 40 fours and nine sixes. For Ireland, Joshua Little claimed two wickets.
Martin Guptill won the player of the match award, while Michael Bracewell took the player of the series honours.
The two teams will meet in a three-match T20I series in Belfast, starting Monday (July 18).
Ireland: Paul Stirling, Andrew Balbirnie (c), Andy McBrine, Harry Tector, Curtis Campher, Lorcan Tucker (wk), George Dockrell, Craig Young, Joshua Little, Gareth Delany, Graham Hume.
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Finn Allen, Will Young, Tom Latham (c & wk), Henry Nicholls, Glenn Phillips, Michael Bracewell, Mitchell Santner, Matt Henry, Blair Tickner, Lockie Ferguson.
The series was part of the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League. Prior to the match, New Zealand were fifth with 80 points from eight matches, while Ireland were ninth with 68 points from 20 matches. England lead the 13-team table with 125 points from 18 matches, and the Netherlands are at the bottom. They have 25 points from 16 outings.
The three-match ODI series started with a thrilling one-wicket win for New Zealand on Sunday. Chasing a target of 301 runs, the Kiwis needed 20 in the last over. Michael Bracewell hit Craig Young for 4,4,6,4,6 to seal the win.
The 31-year-old then followed his 127 not out off 82 with another unbeaten knock, 42 off 40 in another tense chase on Tuesday.
Ireland have now lost all seven ODIs played against New Zealand.