MALAHIDE, Ireland (AP) — Michael Bracewell smashed 24 runs in the last over, including a winning six off the penultimate delivery, as New Zealand beat Ireland by one wicket with one ball to spare on Sunday in the series-opening one-day international.
New Zealand finished on 305-9 in 49.5 overs at Malahide in reply to Ireland's 300-9.
The Black Caps seemed well out of the contest at 120-5 in the 22nd over when opener Martin Guptill was bowled for 51, but Bracewell took charge and blazed an unbeaten 127 off 82 balls, with the last of his seven sixes finishing the tense contest in style.
The New Zealanders set a record by successfully chasing 20 off the 50th over. That surpassed the previous 50th-over best in an ODI chase by England against Australia in 1987.
Bracewell, who had two uncles and a cousin who played for New Zealand, sent Craig Young's first two deliveries for four, launched a six over mid-wicket and then found the legside boundary again before securing victory with a six which cleared the rope at long on. Young's bowling figures blew out to 1-78 from 9.5 overs.
Bracewell's innings included 20 fours and key partnerships of 61 for the seventh wicket with Ish Sodhi (25) and 64 for the ninth wicket with Lockie Ferguson (8). He said he just “enjoyed every moment” of his first ODI century.
The result was tough on Ireland, particularly Harry Tector, who scored his first ODI century batting at No. 4 after New Zealand chose to bowl first.
Tector’s emotional celebration — his grandmother died last weekend — came after he brought up his hundred from 109 balls after hitting a fourth successive four off Blair Tickner.
He was eventually out for 113.
Ireland captain Andy Balbirnie said Bracewell timed his run chase to perfection.
“We pretty much went toe to toe with them all the way until the last few overs,” Balbirnie said. "I can't really fault the guys today. They put in a great shift today, and unfortunately we just didn't get over the line.
“Very quiet dressing room at the moment.”
New Zealand is at the start of a white-ball tour of Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands.
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