New Zealand earned a 35-run win over Ireland to move into prime position for a spot in the T20 World Cup semi-finals.

The result sends the Black Caps top of Group 1 and, although England and Australia can both move level on seven points, Kane Williamson's men are in a position of strength due to their superior net run rate.

It was captain Williamson's 61 from 35 balls that set the tone for his side's innings of 185-6, with Josh Little (3-22) the pick of Ireland's bowlers as he claimed a hat-trick in the 19th over.

Still, there was little the underdogs could do to limit the damage, as Finn Allen (32), Devon Conway (28) and Daryl Mitchell (31 not out) also made valuable contributions.

Ireland, who stunned pre-tournament favourites England earlier in the Super 12s, were 68 without loss in reply at one stage but crumbled to 150-9 in the face of a fine New Zealand bowling attack and are now out of the competition.

Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi accounted for Ireland's top four between them and there was scant resistance lower down the order, with George Dockrell's 23-run cameo ended by the impressive Lockie Ferguson (3-22).

Williamson leads by example

Skipper Williamson was back to his best for New Zealand with an aggressive knock that included five fours and three maximums.

He laid the foundations to set a daunting total for Ireland, who were not to be taken lightly after also overcoming West Indies amid an impressive campaign.

Reflecting on the victory, he said: "It was a good team effort really, that Ireland team has been playing beautifully, they've got a really well-rounded side, and it was a good match and good to get the win."

Josh's Little moment of joy

It may ultimately have come in a losing effort, but a hat-trick is always a thing of beauty and Little's was a joy to behold.

In three consecutive deliveries in the penultimate over he accounted for Williamson, James Neesham and Santner, becoming only the sixth man to rack up a World Cup treble.

That feat further enhanced the fast bowler's already glowing reputation and franchises around the world will certainly have taken note.