By Aiden McLaughlin
With the White Ferns picking up a dramatic last ball victory against Australia earlier in the evening to square their T20i series at 1-1, the second match of today’s double header at McLean Park saw the Blackcaps looking to seal a series victory against Bangladesh. Napier, so often the subject of weather related scorn, be it rain or sunstrike, threatened briefly with a few drops of rain, but with the floodlights on even before the coin toss, the later wasn’t a factor tonight.
Bangladesh won the toss and usually would have batted, but with clouds above, they decided to put Tim Southee’s team into bat. After a debut first ball duck at Seddon Park on Sunday afternoon, Finn Allen negotiated his first ball safely and hit the second for four, a reverse sweep off Nasum Ahmed. A second boundary, in the second over of the match, saw Allen hit the ball straight back down the ground off the bowling of Mohammad Saifuddin. He was starting to settle.
A huge six from Allen at the start of the fourth over, bowled by Taskin Ahmed, was followed by another big swing the following delivery, but it was misjudged and Bangladesh had their chance; unfortunately for them, their fielding woes of the tour continued and the catch was dropped. The last ball of the over saw another big swing and this time he wasn’t so fortunate and was caught by Mohammad Naim, having scored 17 off 10 balls.
The wicket brought Devon Conway into the action, with light drizzle falling across McLean Park. He took a painful knock to the hand off the second delivery he faced, bowled by Shoriful Islam, but, as Conway has demonstrated repeatedly since hitting the international scene, he accumulates runs quickly, but quietly.
Guptill was caught beautifully at short fine leg by Taskin Ahmed off the bowling of Saifuddin with the last ball of the sixth having scored 21 off 18 balls; the very next ball Conway mistimed one to be caught at deep square leg by Mohammad Mitun off Islam, having scored 15 off his 9 balls. New Zealand were suddenly 55-3 with two new batsmen in Will Young and Glenn Phillips at the crease.
With the drizzle becoming more persistent, it looked likely from the stands that the players would come off, but play continued and by the end of the tenth over, Young (6 off 10) and Phillips (19 off 13) had brought the score to 81-3 at the halfway mark.
The fourth ball of the twelfth over saw Young’s innings come to an end as he missed a straight one, to be stumped by Liton Das off the bowling of Mahedi Hasan, having scored 14 from 17 balls. This brought Mark Chapman out to the middle with the score at 94-4. He faced three balls before the umpires finally conceded defeat to the weather gods after 12.2 overs, with the scoreboard reading 102-4.
After a 25 minute delay, the players returned, ironically, as the rain started to get heavier once again. Chapman was caught and bowled shortly afterwards by Mahedi having scored 7 off 8 balls faced – 111-5. Daryl Mitchell was next in to accompany Phillips who was steadily building his innings. A full toss from Mahedi in the 16th over saw Phillips hit a 6 over deep backward square to take him to 48 and the next ball he secured his half century off just 27 deliveries. Mitchell was providing great support, getting to 34 off 16 deliveries as the Blackcaps reached 173-5 when the rain once again became too heavy to continue, with 17.5 overs completed.
A further 49 minute delay saw the New Zealand innings end there and Bangladesh were eventually set a target of 170 from 16 overs; eventually because it was initially 179 from 17 overs, then 148 from 16 overs, then 171 from 16 overs before the final confirmation.
After Tim Southee’s first over went for 6 runs, Hamish Bennett bowled the second and with the last ball of that over, he took the wicket of Liton Das who, after scoring 6 runs, pulled to Glenn Phillips at deep square who took an excellent diving catch. Bangladesh were 13-1.
Opener Mohammad Naim initially led the chase for Bangladesh, supported by Soumya Sarkar, but they quickly started to see the required run rate potentially get out of control. After the 5th over, they needed another 133 runs from 11 overs, at 12.09 per over. But when Ish Sodhi bowled the next over, the batsmen chanced their arms; two sixes, a four, a couple of singles and a wide saw Sodhi concede 19 runs and they needed 114 from 10 overs.
Adam Milne, consistently bowling around the 145km/hr mark, saw his second over (the seventh of the innings) go for 20 and with Soumya now the more aggressive partner, with 40 off 15 balls at that stage, the target of 94 from 9 overs and 9 wickets remaining was very much on.
As the clock ticked past 10.30pm, the crowd was becoming increasingly quiet, until another full dive from Phillips in the outfield got them excited as he looked to catch Naim off the bowling of Sodhi in the ninth over – although he got there, he couldn’t hang on.
At the 10 over mark, Bangladesh needed 76 more from the last 6 overs and then came the breakthrough Sarkar, on 51 off his 27 balls faced didn’t quite get hold of the first ball of Southee’s third over and was caught by Adam Milne at long on. 76 still required and Mahmud Ullah on his way to the middle to start a new partnership.
Sodhi’s third over (over number 12 of the chase) went for 10 at a time where Bangladesh needed much more and with the first ball of the 13th over, and the pressure on the batsmen ever increasing, Glenn Phillips took the wicket of Naim, comfortably caught by Martin Guptill at long off. 60 runs were now needed from 23 balls.
Milne came back into the attack in the 14th over and bowled Mahmud Ullah who had scored 21 off 12 balls. Two balls later and it was Afif Hossain’s turn to see his stumps fly as Milne struck again to make it 126-5. Suddenly, the target was 45 over 12 balls and the Blackcaps were all but home.
Southee struck with the first ball of the next over, Mohammad Mithun departing for 1, with wicketkeeper Conway taking the catch. In the last over, Bennett took his second wicket as Mohammad Saifuddin was caught by Southee.
In the end, the margin of victory for New Zealand was comfortable as they won by 28 runs (DLS) to take the three match series with the final game to be played at Eden Park on Thursday night. The McLean Park crowd had hung around until 11.10pm but the wait had been worth it.
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