Redmond runs riot
Twenty20 international debutant Aaron Redmond defied all expectations with a blistering half-century to help power New Zealand to an 83-run win over Ireland in the opening Super Eights clash.
Redmond, called into the squad only this morning to replace the ill Jesse Ryder, made light of the step up from the Bolton League to the ICC World Twenty20.
The upshot, after Ireland had invited New Zealand to bat first on a sunny afternoon, was a total which was never threatened by Ireland, who were bowled out for just 115 chasing 199 to win.
Redmond, who smashed 63 off 30 balls, was last seen on the big stage in this country as a stodgy top-order batsman on New Zealand's Test tour 12 months ago, but he began his onslaught with off-side fours from the first two balls he faced off Peter Connell.
By the end of the next over, from Trent Johnston, Redmond was on 30 out of 32. But it was his opening partner Brendon McCullum who grabbed the glory associated with hitting the 100th six of the tournament, over midwicket off Kevin O'Brien.
By then, medium-pacer O'Brien had bowled his first over - with the wicketkeeper standing up - for just one run.
Off-spinner Kyle McCallan added success to economy in his first over, McCullum driving straight into the hands of mid-off and only one run conceded this time.
But those two overs were conspicuously out of place amid a stream of boundaries, and Redmond reached the seventh-fastest fifty in Twenty20 history when the second of two reverse-sweeps off McCallan brought him his 11th four from only 23 balls.
Alex Cusack trapped Redmond lbw shuffling across his stumps, almost outside off, and aiming to leg.
But Scott Styris and Martin Guptill lost little momentum in a 61-run third-wicket stand in under six overs, during which the former ought to have gone on 16 when Regan West missed a regulation return chance.
Styris eventually went to a tumbling catch by Kevin O'Brien at deep square-leg from a mistimed sweep off McCallan, and Jacob Oram picked out deep cover with an attempted big hit at Cusack.
But the Kiwis still had enough in reserve, mainly in the shape of Guptill, to set Ireland's batsmen a major challenge.
Needing a positive start to prevent the run-rate escalating out of control, Ireland suffered a dismal start when captain Will Porterfield was run out off the fourth ball of their innings when seamer Kyle Mills successfully deflected a drive on to the stumps in his follow-through.
Porterfield's early demise was one of four run-outs suffered by Ireland with New Zealand's energetic fielding continually forcing errors of judgement and hesitation.
That was underlined by the run out of Andre Botha, who top-scored for Ireland with an aggressive 28 from 17 balls, after he was involved in a mix-up with Kevin O'Brien.
Having pushed into the off side looking for a quick single, Botha set off tentatively, only to be sent back by O'Brien. Styris ran in from cover and his throw beat Botha’s dive.
Only Cusack offered much resistance after that, hitting 20 off 12 balls, before being caught by Brendon McCullum off brother Nathan.
He was one of two wickets to fall in three balls during that over, Nathan McCullum also winning an lbw decision against McCallan before Mills completed New Zealand's comfortable victory with 3.2 overs unused by removing West's off stump.