New Zealand win Bangladesh thriller by 3 wickets

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New Zealand completed an unbeaten run in the cricket World Cup group stages on Friday by defeating Bangladesh by three wickets at Seddon Park.

A third-wicket partnership of 131 between Martin Guptil and Ross Taylor rescued the New Zealanders after their leading batsmen Brendon McCullum (8) and Kane Williamson (1) had departed in the space of an over while chasing 289 to win their sixth consecutive tournament match.

Grant Elliott and Corey Anderson both scored 39 with a flurry of strokes and Tim Southee struck a huge six followed by a four to give his team victory with seven balls to spare. Both teams had already qualified for the quarter finals.

Guptil, who was struck by cramp in his left leg on 99, scored his first World Cup hundred and his team's first of the tournament before he was caught for 105 from 100 balls. Taylor compiled 56 after struggling for runs in the earlier games.

Bangladesh, on a roll after defeating England on Monday, became the first team to bat through their 50 overs against the co-hosts, reaching 288 for seven with Mahmudullah scoring an unbeaten 128.

Mahmudullah, who scored Bangladesh's first World Cup hundred against England, was granted a huge slice of luck on one when an edge off Tim Southee went through Corey Anderson's hands at first slip.

Thereafter he batted with a sensible mix of caution and aggression, taking advantage of McCullum's aggressive field placings and marshalling the lower order skilfully.

New Zealand made their first team change of the tournament when Mitchell McClenaghan came in for the injured Adam Milne. McCullum then won a rare toss and asked Bangladesh to bat on a hot, steamy afternoon after steady rain fell for much of Thursday.

Southee and Trent Boult swung the ball late and only four runs came off the first five overs as the batsmen played and missed.

Boult then struck, bowling Imrul Kayes for two with a magnificent delivery which moved away late from the right hander and capturing the wicket of Tamim Iqbal (13), caught by Anderson.

Then came Anderson's costly drop and enterprising batting by Mahmudullah and Soumya Sarkar (51), who scored his maiden one-day international half-century.

Daniel Vettori bowled yet another subtle, probing spell of flighted left-arm spin, conceding only 42 runs and picking up a wicket while Anderson was also economical and was rewarded with two wickets when Shakib Al Hasan (23) and Mushfiqur Raham (15) edged catches to wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi.

New Zealand appeared to have the game under control at that stage but runs came freely off McClenaghan, who was unable to extract any bounce from the pitch.

Sabbir Rahman (40) cracked two sixes and five fours and Mahmudullah paced his innings admirably to reach his century off 111 balls after a subdued start.

Al Hasan, captaining Bangladesh in the absence of Mashrafe Mortaza, who has been battling injury and a sore throat, then opened the bowling with his slow left-arm spin.

He dismissed McCullum caught at long-off while Williamson sliced a delivery to cover.

 


Preview

 

Unbeaten New Zealand made their first team change of the World Cup on Friday when left-arm paceman Mitchell McClenaghan replaced the injured Adam Milne for their final Pool Amatch against Bangladesh.

McClenaghan's height and aggression will be an ideal complement to the speed and swing of Tim Southee and Trent Boult, and captain Brendon McCullum immediately opted to field after winning the toss in conditions which will suit the quick bowlers on a hot, steamy day after steady rain soaked Seddon Park on Thursday.

Bangladesh omitted captain Mashrafe Mortaza, who led his team to an historic win over England on Monday.

Mortaza has been suffering from a sore throat but, perhaps more importantly, could have missed the quarter-finals if his team were fined for a second time for failing to bowl their 50 overs in the allotted time.

All-rounder Shakib Al Hasan will captain the team.

New Zealand are top of Pool A and assured of a home quarter-final in Wellington while Bangladesh grabbed the final knockout place with their upset victory over England.

Bangladesh have won their last seven matches against New Zealand but all those matches were staged in favourable conditions at home.

They have yet to win a one-day international in New Zealand. New Zealand remain the form team of the tournament with captain McCullum, leading from the front as opener, possessing the highest strike rate.

Boult and Southee are second and third in the wicket-taking list with left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori in fifth place.

The New Zealanders have dismissed each of their previous five opponents within 50 overs.

Preview

Bangladesh will seek to exploit New Zealand's weakness against spin and halt the co-hosts' unbeaten run when the teams meet in the World Cup in Hamilton on Friday.

Bangladesh surprised everyone by knocking out England with a hard-fought 15-run win on Monday to earn a place in the quarter-finals for the first time.

The Tigers' assistant coach Ruwan Kalpage believes the team can carry that momentum into the game against New Zealand who have already wrapped up Pool A as group winners.

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"We want to go into the quarter-finals unbeaten from the last match and our players look forward to that on Friday," said Kalpage, who predicted the Seddon Park pitch will help spinners.

Kalpage, himself a reputed former Sri Lankan spinner, warned his bowlers will have a plan against Black Caps skipper Brendon McCullum who has hit three half-centuries in his team's five wins, including an 18-ball fastest fifty in all World Cups against England.

"He (McCullum) has not had to start against spinners," said Kalpage. "It will be tough for us but we have plans for him. I'm pretty sure it (the pitch) will help the spinners."

Bangladesh can bring in Taijul Islam for left-arm spinner Arafat Sunny who failed to get a wicket against England.
Taijul got four wickets including a hat-trick on his one-day debut against Zimbabwe at home last year - the only bowler to achieve the feat in his first match.

Besides the spin, Bangladesh's pace bowlers have also come of age in the tournament, especially Rubel Hossain who was at his best with 4-53 against England.

Hossain can take inspiration from his 6-26, including a hat-trick against New Zealand at home two years ago.

But Bangladesh have never won a one-dayer in New Zealand in six outings, having also lost all three World Cup matches against their opponents.

Still, New Zealand will not relax and reckon Bangladesh are decent opponents.

"They are a decent side," said coach Mike Hesson. "We're in the middle of a World Cup (so) it's not a matter of thinking about tomorrow. It's a matter of making sure we don't drop the ball and keep putting in good performances."

New Zealand will also hope their key batsman Kane Williamson, spinner Daniel Vettori and all-rounder Grant Elliott overcome from a stomach bug they caught after the team's last match against Afghanistan in Napier on Sunday.

Vettori and Elliott recovered in time but Williamson missed practice on Wednesday although he is expected to be fit by Friday.

New Zealand hope middle-order batsmen Ross Taylor and Elliott score some runs before the knock-out stages.

Taylor has 53 runs and from just 90 balls faced in five matches while Elliott has 77 runs off 94 and wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi only 47 runs off 36.

But New Zealand's strongest element is their bowling which will test the Bangladeshi batsmen.

New ball partners Tim Southee and Trent Boult have 13 wickets apiece followed by spinner Vettori (12) and Corey Anderson eight.

Bangladesh will want opener Tamim Iqbal to cope with the new ball to allow in-form Mohammad Mahmudullah, who hit his country's first World Cup hundred against England, and the experienced duo of Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan to give solidity and a decent total.

Bangladesh are currently fourth in the table and if they finish in that position on Friday they will face defending champions India in the quarter-finals.

Squads and officials:

Bangladesh
(from): Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Mominul Haque, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Mahmudullah, Nasir Hossain, Sabbir Rahman, Soumya Sarkar, Rubel Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Taijul Islam, Arafat Sunny, Shafiul Islam

New Zealand (from): Brendon McCullum (captain), Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Grant Elliott, Tom Latham, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Adam Milne, Daniel Vettori, Corey Anderson, Tim Southee, Luke Ronchi, Trent Boult

Umpires: Richard Kettleborough (ENG) and Kumar Dharmasena (SRI)
Tv umpire: Nigel Llong (ENG)
Match referee: Chris Broad (ENG)
Weather forecast: 27 degree, partly rain

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