New Zealand cruise to T20 win in Ireland

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Dane Cleaver's 78 not out and Michael Bracewell's hat-trick has powered New Zealand to an 88-run win over Ireland to clinch their Twenty20 series 2-0 at Stormont.

New Zealand posted 4-179 on Wednesday and bowled out Ireland for 91 to secure their fifth-straight win over the hosts. The Kiwis triumphed by 31 runs on Monday after a 3-0 series win in the one-day internationals at Malahide.

"Sometimes you can have days like that with the bat. When you're 50-odd for seven chasing 170, you're never really in the game," Ireland captain Andy Balbirnie said.

Cleaver's unbeaten innings came off 55 balls and included five fours and four sixes in just his second T20 international appearance. Finn Allen contributed 35 off 20.

Chasing 180, Paul Stirling gave the Irish a fast start, hitting New Zealand captain Mitchell Santner for a six and a four in the first over. But against Lockie Ferguson, he was caught on 21 to leave the hosts 1-23.

Ireland managed just four runs for their next two wickets, as Jacob Duffy was dismissed by Gareth Delany for a first-ball duck before Harry Tector (2) was run out.

Ish Sodhi took 3-21 and Ireland were 7-86 when Bracewell came on for his first over. The offspinner had Mark Adair and Barry McCarthy caught in the deep with successive deliveries before Craig Young sliced to backward point from the next ball as Ireland was all out for 91.

"There's not a lot that [Bracewell] can't do at the moment so I thought I'd get him in there. We're pretty happy with the win today," Santner said.

"The wicket looked a little better in the first innings but it was a bit up and down. The way Dane paced that innings was good and then our bowlers did well."

The visitors can sweep the three-match T20 series on Friday.

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