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Taylor leads Kiwi blitz of Ireland

Ross Taylor laid a marker ahead of next week's world Twenty20 championship in England with a thumping 74 off 36 balls as New Zealand beat Ireland by seven wickets with three overs to spare in a warm-up at Derby's County Ground.

After Brendon McCullum steered the Black Caps to a last-ball win against Bangladesh yesterday, today's was a more convincing effort by New Zealand.

Ireland made New Zealand work as they reached 70 without loss in the ninth over, but were held to 152 before being blown away by Taylor who launched eight sixes in his assault.

He added 103 in 11 overs with Martin Guptill, who finished on a far more leisurely 45 from 42 deliveries, after Peter Connell had claimed McCullum in the second over and Jesse Ryder in the sixth.

Ryder had earlier played an important role with the ball as he claimed three for four from two overs to slow Ireland's innings after they were well placed for a more demanding total.

With Ireland on 106 for one, Ryder struck, removing Kevin O'Brien, Bray and Andrew Poynter as four wickets fell for 17 runs.

Although John Mooney, 20 from 14 balls, lifted the total over 150 it was no match for Taylor's display.

At Wormsley yesterday, Bangladesh, who chose to bat, appeared well placed on 87 for 3 after 11 overs but lost their way.

New Zealand's reply was sparked by Guptill who cracked 61 off 41 deliveries, but Bangladesh's spinners slowed the scoring rate and put pressure on the middle order.

As the asking rate increased New Zealand appeared to be struggling after two run-outs, but a sloppy 17th over from Naeem Islam put them back in the chase.

New Zealand started the last over requiring 12 runs to win and the first three balls produced only three.

McCullum then hammered a six over long-on. A single off the fifth delivery left two to get off the last ball, and McCullum secured the win with a drive hard to the left of long-on.

New Zealand play a two more warm up matches against India at Lords on Monday and against Australia at the Oval on Tuesday.

They open their championship against Scotland at the Oval on June 6.

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