New Zealand wanted a tough match, and New Zealand got it. A lot of the things that have worked so well in the previous games did not go right.
It was an Angstometer tweaking kind of match; the things that have had worked until now fell apart today; the worrying bits suddenly clicked.
The start was very good and, once again, Boult was unplayable early. But unlike in the previous big matches their second spells did not bring the rewards, and the gamble of bowling them out with attacking fields did not work. It led to a situation where Vettori and Anderson ended up bowling in the Batting Power Play; perhaps part of an experimentation, and it was not a total disaster. Having Elliott bowling over 48 and 50 is also not really Plan A
McClenaghan played very much like a guy who needs match time; it will be a big gamble if he is to play again in the tournament.
The fielding got a bit ragged towards the end with some dropped catches and a Pakistani like mis-field from Boult on the boundary. You would think that is an area that will improve.
McCullum was criticised for employing over attacking fields, but Guptill would have been caught on 68 had Bangladesh adopted the same approach.
The most encouraging part of the bowling effort was Anderson, still seen by some as a major weakness, who was the pick of the home bowlers.
Much has been made of all of New Zealand’s runs coming from two people. Today those batsmen both failed. That was Williamson’s first single figure score in an ODI since Boxing Day 2013. To put that in context, that match was the ODI immediately before the Ryder-Anderson run-fest in Queenstown.
So the pressure went on the beleaguered ones to sort it out
In Napier, Martin Guptill scratched his way to 50 and gradually started to find his timing and placement. Today he was approaching his best; the boundary hitting start, followed by great placement around all the park.
Today Ross Taylor scratched his way to 50. The optimists will point to the omen, the pessimists will say Taylor is out of form. The referral, then walking off the ground was a bit odd.
There was enough goodness from Anderson, Vettori and even Southee at the end. New Zealand got the challenge it needed, and it’s going to be a busy week; a really busy week.
As an aside; haven’t Bangladesh been a surprising revelation at this World Cup?
MVP points tomorrow