Taylor century clinches series
Bangladesh had a bright start to the 100th ODI in the country, but hopes of a possible series win dimmed once two of New Zealand's emerging talents, Ross Taylor and Jamie How, stepped up to the challenge, and Bangladesh's top order capitulated. Although they failed to pull off their first series victory over a major Test-playing nation, Bangladesh, who'd lost several regulars to the ICL, gained in confidence during the contest.
That confidence showed as their new-ball bowlers - Mashrafe Mortaza and Syed Rasel - accounted for both openers, reducing New Zealand to 13 for 2. The New Zealand top order had collapsed in the first two one-dayers but How and Taylor averted a repeat by putting on a century stand.
Taylor scored his third ODI century while How provided the early momentum during his 73 to help New Zealand reach 249, their highest total of the series. How sparked off the recovery, scoring quickly to put the pressure back on the bowlers. Mortaza's first four overs went for just five runs, but How opened up with two fours in each of the next two overs.
Taylor took time to get his eye in, but neither batsmen let Abdur Razzak, the left-arm spinner, settle. In his third over, Razzak was hit over long-on by Taylor; How followed up with a four through the same region. Nor were the other spinners allowed to bowl too many tight overs.
How was lbw to offspinner Naeem Islam after putting on 125 for the third wicket and Taylor then took charge to ensure the scoring-rate was kept above six. Two quick wickets, however, hampered their chances of pushing the run-rate in the third Powerplay (overs 35-40). Taylor fell in the 47th over to Mortaza soon after reaching his hundred; only 44 of his runs coming in boundaries. Daniel Vettori and Kyle Mills maintained the momentum, adding 30 in the last three overs.
Chasing 250, Tamim Iqbal, the local boy, raised Bangladesh's expectations with a brisk 35. His partner Junaid Siddique fell early to Mills, but Tamim and debutant Imrul Kayes built the innings patiently. Bangladesh had moved to 49 after 11.5 overs when the innings fell apart. Oram, who failed with the bat, struck in his first over, having Kayes caught behind for 12. Bangladesh lost Tamim on the same score when he nicked Jeetan Patel to McCullum. An ambitious shot from Ashraful led to his downfall, and a slog-sweep from Shakib Al Hasan reduced Bangladesh to 59 for 5.
Naeem, who's played a vital part with his offbreaks in his debut series, saw off more deliveries (106) than the top five combined and remained unbeaten on 46 to delay New Zealand's celebrations till the 50th over. The lower order gave him good support, but a professional New Zealand side ended Bangladesh's hopes of pulling off another upset win.