New Zealand have completed an unbeaten tour of Ireland after winning the third and last Twenty20 by six wickets at Stormont, with Glenn Phillips proving the Black Caps’ matchwinner.
The visitors had to chase for the first time on Friday and overcame Ireland’s decent 6-174 by reaching 4-180 with an over to spare.
The Black Caps, who also won the one-day international series 3-0, were indebted to Phillips and Daryl Mitchell, who kept the target in sight with brilliant rotation of the strike and running between the wickets.
Phillips, dropped on 13 and 15, hit only one six and one boundary but he finished 56 not out from 44 balls.
He and Mitchell combined for 82 in 8.5 overs to lift New Zealand far from trouble after struggling at 3-65.
Their stand ended when Mitchell was bounced and caught by medium-pacer Josh Little for 48 off 32.
But new batter Jimmy Neesham then rushed the visitors to victory with 23 off six balls, including a match-winning six over midwicket.
Ireland kept the same side which had lost by 88 runs on Wednesday, and Paul Stirling gave them a great start with 40 off 29, including sixes off Jacob Duffy, Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi.
But Stirling’s exit started a collapse, as Ireland tumbled from 1-79 in the 10th over to 6-116 in the 17th, Sodhi slowing them down with his 2-24.
Then Curtis Campher took 19 off bowler Blair Tickner, Mark Adair took 18 off Neesham, and the last over bowled by Duffy went for 13.
Adair scored 37 off 15 and Campher 19 off eight but New Zealand again had the answer as they have done all tour.
The Black Caps next visit Scotland for three matches from Wednesday.