Little hat-trick in vain as New Zealand seal semi-final berth
New Zealand became the first team to qualify for the T20 World Cup 2022 semi-finals after it became evident that Australia wouldn't be able to overtake their NRR.
Australia had to win by 185 runs against Afghanistan to overhaul the Blackcaps' NRR but now, having only set Afghanistan a target of 169, the best the hosts can finish is on +1.877.
Josh Little joins exclusive T20 World Cup club
Little struck with three consecutive deliveries during his final over at the Adelaide Oval to become just the sixth player in T20 World Cup history to register a hat-trick.
The left-armer picked up the big scalps of Williamson, Jimmy Neesham and Mitchell Santner with some excellent bowling to become join teammate Curtis Campher as the only Ireland player to register a T20I hat-trick.
Little also finishes the tournament with 11 wickets in an impressive individual display that bodes well for the future of Ireland cricket, with his figures of 3/22 against the Kiwis meaning the 23-year-old finished with a total of 7/59 from 11 overs against three of the groups biggest teams - New Zealand, England and Australia.
Captain Kane bounces back to form
Despite Little's heroics with the ball, Ireland struggled to mix it with their more fancied opponents for much of the match as New Zealand maintained their place on top of Group A with their third victory of the tournament.
They will be buoyed by the return to form made by Williamson, who showed glimpses of his best during his 35-ball innings of 61 as the Black Caps posted an imposing total of 185/6 after being sent in by Ireland skipper Andy Balbirnie.
The New Zealand captain received good support from openers Finn Allen (32) and Devon Conway (28), while Daryl Mitchell (31) chimed in with some lofty blows late in the innings to ensure the score was more than enough.
Ireland openers offer glimmer of hope
Paul Stirling (37) and Balbirnie (30) gave some brief hope when they put on 68 for the opening wicket inside eight overs in reply, but New Zealand put pay to any chance of an upset by collecting wickets at regular intervals from that point on.
Spin duo Mitchell Santner (2/26) and Ish Sodhi (2/31) bowled well, while speedster Lockie Ferguson (3/22) showed some good pace to be the pick of the quick bowlers.
Ireland finish the tournament with a solitary victory during the Super 12 stage, but with their heads held high following a number of competitive displays.
New Zealand: Finn Allen, Devon Conway (wk), Kane Williamson (c), Glenn Phillips, Daryl Mitchell, James Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult
Ireland: Paul Stirling, Andrew Balbirnie (c), Lorcan Tucker (wk), Harry Tector, Curtis Campher, George Dockrell, Gareth Delany, Mark Adair, Barry McCarthy, Fionn Hand, Joshua Little
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