NORMAL service was resumed at Malahide yesterday as New Zealand beat Ireland by three wickets to take a winning 2-0 lead in the World Cup Super League series but the Black Caps were made to fight for the victory.

Unlike Sunday, the Boys in Green were chasing the game from the moment Paul Stirling was lbw in the first over but having been bowled out for 216 they again stretched the world’s top ranked team.

Early wickets were needed and they don’t come any earlier than two in the first two balls of the reply with Mark Adair twice hitting the stumps, and New Zealand captain Tom Latham keeping out the hat-trick ball.

Adair was blasted out of the attack with a 6, 4, 4, 4 assault from Finn Allen, who made 60, but Ireland stuck to their task picking up regular wickets and when Latham was sixth out with 40 still needed their was just glimmer of hope.

But the Black Caps victory was again secured by Michael Bracewell whose 42 not out was not as spectacular as Sunday’s heartbreaking century, but just as decisive as his third six finished the game with 11.5 overs to spare.

Bracewell, who must surely be man-of-the-series whatever happens in Friday’s final game, had also taken two key wickets with his off-spin, ending Harry Tector’s run of scores and having Andy McBrine stumped for 28.

The meat of the home side’s innings was provided by George Dockrell who struck two sixes and 10 fours in a powerful 74 from 61 balls, his best score for Ireland, while Adair contributed 27 not out, with three maximums.

“I'll have to practice my coin tossing over the next few days,” said skipper Andy Balbirnie, having lost a second toss. “It's always tricky when the ball is nipping and spinning 20 overs into a game.

“If we had got 20 or 30 more we might have been closer to a win. We could have scrapped a bit more. There are some positives out there but it's still a loss and we're disappointed."