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October 11, 2008
Another embarrassment loomed for New Zealand after Syed Rasel ripped through their top order but Jacob Oram saved the day with a match-winning all-round performance. Bangladesh's fans would have been preparing to celebrate their first major series triumph but they will now have to wait for the series decider on Tuesday. Man of the Match Oram, who nearly rescued his team with a half-century on Thursday, hit an unbeaten 62-ball 75 and bowled an economical spell to snuff out the hosts' chances.
Chasing 213, Bangladesh collapsed for 137, squandering the chance to record consecutive ODI wins against a Test-playing nation other than Zimbabwe. If Rasel's 3 for 23 caused New Zealand to panic, Kyle Mills took two early wickets to get his team back into the contest. Those wickets were vital as they denied Bangladesh the composed start to their chase they enjoyed on Thursday. The remaining batsmen walked in under pressure and cracked at a time when runs were needed.
It was an about-turn from the patient hard work that earned them a memorable victory in the first ODI. Even the duo of Mohammad Ashraful and Junaid Siddique, who had excelled on Thursday, failed to provide any sort of momentum and the asking-rate began to climb.
New Zealand's top order flopped once again after being put in, but fortunately for Daniel Vettori, his bowlers responded to challenge this time around. They bowled with control and the effort was complemented by the attacking fields Vettori set, which played a major hand in suffocating the batsmen.
Bangladesh suffered an early loss in their chase. Mills stuck immediately with the second ball of the innings as he trapped Tamim Iqbal lbw with a delivery that pitched on the seam and cut in. A few overs later Mushfiqur Rahim was cleaned up by Mills' pace. The responsibility fell on Ashraful and Siddique, with Bangladesh needing a good partnership.
Unlike his run-a-ball innings on Thursday, Ashraful had to go on the defensive today. However, that decision to play sedately ultimately led to Bangladesh's downfall. Ashraful hit his first boundary off the 47th delivery he faced, at a time when consistent scoring could have kept the asking rate from shooting up. When Tim Southee had Siddique caught at mid-off for 32 in the 27th over, Bangladesh had just 71 on the board. The remaining batsmen came with the required run-rate over six, and none stood up to a challenge as Bangladesh suffered a familiar collapse - Mashrafe Mortaza's cameo only put off defeat by a few overs.
New Zealand will count themselves lucky to win after Rasel's early demolition of their top order. Sensing the need to take the upper hand, Ashraful asked the left-armer to complete his spell in one go and Rasel bowled a stump-to-stump line to put presssure on the tentative batsmen. Jesse Ryder showed signs of converting another good start, but he misread a slower one to give back an easy return catch to Rasel.
Just as in the first game New Zealand lost the plot during the second Powerplay. Three wickets fell in the space of three runs. Bangladesh were no mood to retreat, but New Zealand found a counter-attacker in Oram.
His patient half-century in the first ODI showed he had grasped the conditions in Mirpur well. Once again he steadily picked his team out of the woods. Pinching singles and hitting the odd boundary, Oram was happy as long as he could stretch the innings. At the 25-over mark, New Zealand were stuttering at 72 for 4. When Oram took guard the score read 86; by the end of the third Powerplay, which New Zealand smartly decided to take from the 44th over, they were 182 with one wicket in hand. In the final over, Oram finally broke the shackles and launched Abdur Razzak's left-arm spin for 25 valuable runs, with three sixes and one four.
On the way he took advantage of Bangladesh's sloppiness. Oram was on 26 when a leading edge off Shahadat Hossain flew towards cover where Razzak failed to latch on cleanly after colliding with another fielder. New Zealand had another reprieve when Bangladesh didn't appeal after Mortaza got a direct hit in from mid-on; replays suggested last man Jeetan Patel was out. The incident occurred on the first ball of the 47th over, and a potential target of 169 became 213. Had that appeal been made, perhaps the whole of Bangladesh might have been rejoicing at a series win.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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