x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Redmond impresses in first start

Aaron Redmond proved his credentials as injury-stricken New Zealand thrashed Ireland by 83 runs in the Super Eights yesterday.

NOTTINGHAM // Aaron Redmond proved his credentials as injury-stricken New Zealand thrashed Ireland by 83 runs in the Super Eights yesterday. Redmond, drafted into the Black Caps squad on Wednesday night to replace the sick Jesse Ryder, made an immediate impact with a hurricane 63 off 30 balls at the top of the order. New Zealand, sent in to bat on an even-paced wicket, rode on Redmond's belligerence to pile up 198-5 before bowling the minnows out for 115 in 16.4 overs.

Four Irish batsmen ran themselves out with New Zealand's stand-in captain Brendon McCullum effecting two of them with direct hits. His elder brother Nathan claimed three wickets with his offbreaks. The Kiwis play Sri Lanka and Pakistan in their remaining second round matches with the top two teams in the group set to advance to the semi-finals. The Black Caps were once again without their regular captain Daniel Vettori, who is yet to play in the tournament due to a shoulder injury, while frontline batsman Ross Taylor missed out due to a hamstring strain.

Redmond, 29, was playing club cricket in England when he was called up to replace Ryder, who was hospitalised in London with a mysterious illness and ruled out of the tournament. The seven-Test veteran showed no signs of nerves in his first Twenty20 international as he hammered 30 runs in the first two overs and contributed 40 to an opening stand of 51 with stand-in captain Brendon McCullum. Scott Styris continued Ireland's leather hunt with 42 off 23 balls, adding 61 for the third wicket with Martin Guptill, who remained unbeaten on 45 .

"I had been playing in the Bolton League. There were a lot of 50-over matches which were rain-affected, so it was good practice for this shortened version of the game," said Redmond. "We have plenty of good players. I just go out there and bat. It was important to get a good start and put runs on the board. But we all miss Jesse. He's a good man." Ireland, a non-Test playing nation, qualified after beating Bangladesh in the first round.

* AFP