Bangladesh v New Zealand, 2nd ODI, Mirpur October 31, 2013

NZ uneasy but focused on bigger goals, says Mills


Kyle Mills, the New Zealand fast bowler, has conceded that the series defeat to Bangladesh has made the team uneasy, but said the side is also focused on a long-term goal of the 2015 World Cup. New Zealand lost the second ODI in Mirpur by 40 runs to concede the three-match series to Bangladesh. The loss was also their sixth successive defeat against Bangladesh in completed matches, dating back to the last bilateral series between the two sides in 2010.

"We are trying to build a team towards the 2015 World Cup," Mills said. "It is in 15 months' time and that's the most important thing right now. The conditions in Australia and New Zealand are going to be a lot different from here. Corey Anderson and James Neesham are going to be prepared for the pressure-cooker environment in that tournament. But we have learned a lot in the past few weeks.

"Every loss puts pressure on players and management. We have been a good one-day side in the past 12 months, winning series overseas but we lost here. Everyone is going to be on edge, naturally."

It's an interesting way to view the events in Mirpur over the last three days. The composition of the New Zealand ODI squad suggests they are planning for the 50-over World Cup more than a year away, particularly with their choice of medium-paced allrounders. However, it would be silly to think they weren't adequately prepared to win in Bangladesh. New Zealand's last series loss to Bangladesh was a blow to the country's cricket and New Zealand Cricket intervened after the loss, conducting a review of the tour.

In spite of focusing on the big picture, New Zealand went down on Thursday night by 40 runs, a big defeat for a team ranked above Bangladesh. Early wickets didn't allow the visitors momentum and they failed to put together a decent partnership that would threaten the home side. The batsmen let down the bowlers, who kept things tight on a good batting wicket and bowled Bangladesh out for 247, a below-par score batting first at the Shere Bangla National Stadium.

"We didn't get off to the greatest starts, we lost early wickets. Every time we tried to build a partnership, we lost a wicket," Mills said. "Ross Taylor and Corey Anderson, and then Brendon McCullum and Taylor, got a partnership going but we lost wickets there. It let us down a little bit.

"We did well with the ball. Corey Anderson and James Neesham really stepped up. That's definitely a total we could have chased down. The conditions were difficult, but the partnerships let us down."

Brendon McCullum has not scored too many runs on this tour and the side would have missed Kane Williamson, out due to injury. But Mills was adamant about the team's improvement, mainly due to New Zealand's series victories against South Africa and England earlier this year.

"I don't think it [Bangladesh's winning streak] is a mental block whatsoever," he said. "We beat South Africa and England recently on their shores. Bangladesh are a good cricket side in their own conditions. Everyone's building towards the 2015 World Cup. Conditions will be lot different for them there."

New Zealand's biggest target now would be to ensure they don't go down 3-0, which will be a repeat of the whitewash they endured in 2010. The third and final ODI of the series is at the Fatullah Cricket Stadium, a ground on which they have never played a game.

"I think we can [avoid the whitewash]. We were not too far in the first game but Rubel got three wickets from three balls. It was obviously disappointing tonight," he said. "It is a tough challenge here to play in these conditions. We want to end ODI series on a high. Everyone will be up no doubt."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on November 2, 2013, 9:14 GMT

    While the focus is now on NZ , I think Bangladesh need to prevent a repitation of what happened during the aftermath of previous series win vs NZ. BD crumbled badly under the weight of expectation and embarrassed themselves in the world cup. Another world cup at home is around the corner and we need to keep our feet firmly on the ground

  • KH. RAFIQUE on November 2, 2013, 6:12 GMT

    Its really funny and inappropriate from Mills that we are preparing for the 2015 world cup.What an excuse to be get defeated????LOL

  • Android on November 1, 2013, 20:59 GMT

    actually now NZ become a weaker team than Bangladesh and so they will be white wash meant bangla wash.

    Typed with Panini Keypad

  • Neville on November 1, 2013, 19:21 GMT

    I'm a passionate NZ cricket fan but I'm afraid it's tough to digest the latest line of excuses from the NZ team about 'focusing on the World Cup in 15 months time'. The World Cup is irrelevant to this series, as much as this series is irrelevant to the World Cup. Mills has admitted as much in the article by reference to different conditions. The fact of the matter is NZ's batting has not been able to match Bangladesh's. It's time they batted first and hopefully post a decent enough score for them to defend. Five out of the six losses 2010 and 2013 have been through failure to chase successfully. I also feel Ross Taylor is the principal culprit of NZ's loss in game 2. He soaked up 82 balls for his 45 so failed to convert after spending that time at the crease. His wicket was the turning point in NZ's chase. High time the batsmen stood up and took accountability. Brendon McCullum should open in game 3 (drop Devcich or Rutherford) with Ronchi slotting in as keeper.

  • Jay on November 1, 2013, 19:07 GMT

    As a keen follower of NZ cricket, I am bitterly disappointed at this performance against BD. Either NZ took BD lightly OR they simply didn't care much about this series. Either way, they lost and that's not good. A team's true mettle comes in foreign conditions. NZ have always struggled in the subcontinent but BD are still an inexperienced and greenhorn team; to lose against them goes to show how much NZ cricket has sunk. Full credit to BD though. For the second consecutive time within 5 years, they have beaten a full strength NZ side in an ODI series. All is bright for Bangladeshi cricket, for NZ it's back to the drawing board in time for WC 2015.

  • Abdus on November 1, 2013, 15:56 GMT

    NZ no worries you guys are Superb cricketers i am sure NZ will fill much comfy playing at your backyard. Best wishes for the 2015 world cup.

  • Sarfin on November 1, 2013, 12:44 GMT

    Some may think this series defeat is end of world for NZ. But it's time acknowledge that Bangladesh have finally finding some ground. On home condition Bangladesh can defeat any team. As an admirer of NZ cricket, I can see some really promising future in Anderson, Neesham and others. The world of cricket is obsessed with 4 nations. But may be it's time to give some attention to rest of the teams. Best of luck NZ (not for the next match though :p)

  • Shane on November 1, 2013, 11:17 GMT

    @ Mohammad Asheque Hossain - it you make even a weak attempt to stay in touch with reality, or have any knowledge of cricket whatsoever, you will know that Mills has been one of the best ODI bowlers in the world for many years now - including a long spell ranked number 1, and most of his career ranked in our around the top 10. Please, stick to facts rather than emotional nonsense.

  • Dummy4 on November 1, 2013, 10:57 GMT

    Looking towards future without keeping an eye in your present, is never a good idea. When Kiwis were whitewashed in 2010 they gave similar excuses. I think a more sporting and mature response is to say, 'okay we are not playing well. We must step up our game'. And that must start from the Captain.

  • Dummy4 on November 1, 2013, 8:55 GMT

    yeah keep on blaming the conditions. not surprised to see a mediocre bowler like Mills once again putting the blame on the pitches. We will see what the Tigers do in the 2015 World Cup. So you can stop worrying about us rather worry about yourselves !!