|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Fantasy||Mobile|
Having used the Tests and one-day internationals to experiment with different kinds of defeat, the New Zealand team won the one that mattered on Wednesday, bagging a pleasant little trophy and the chance to meet Bangladesh's prime minister.
She did quite well, relying on her copy of The Who's Who of Medium-Fast Trundlers to pick out which one was Southee, which one was Mills, which one was McClenaghan and so on, although she slipped up when she asked Ross Taylor, "Didn't you used to be captain?"
And this T20 series whitewash should be a wake-up call for Bangladesh, who were perhaps a little complacent about taking on the plucky minnows in the black caps.
It was the tourists who batted first and were given some early-innings oomph by the athletic biffery of Devcich. They scored a tidy total, a total so tidy, in fact, that if Kyle Mills had invited his most pernickety elderly relative around to inspect it, even after peering very closely at it, looking around the back of it, lifting it up to check whether he'd dusted properly, she would have been forced to admit that, yes, it was a very tidy total indeed.
The first ball of Bangladesh's reply, to Shamsur Rahman, went for four. To a man, the New Zealand fielders had that look you see on the faces of actors portraying Vietnam veterans: the glazed eyes, the beads of perspiration on the brow, the temporary paralysis.
Fortunately, they were rescued from their flashbacks by Shamsur himself, who holed out next ball, at which point a stunned silence took hold in the stadium, of the kind that you would expect if in the middle of an ambassador's ball, a guest had stripped naked, climbed up on top of the ice sculpture and started to play air guitar with the ambassador's loofah.
Camera shots of some of the spectators revealed people looking totally shocked, as if aliens had landed mid-pitch, as though they'd never witnessed anything like this before. We can only imagine what kind of conversations were going on in the stands:
Spectator A: We've hit a boundary from the first ball, we're bound to win.
Spectator B: Yes, our opponents will struggle to recover from the emotional blow of conceding a four early on in a T20 game.
Spectator A: I expect Shamsur will go on from this to score a hundred at least.
Spectator B: Definitely. There is very little chance of his losing his wicket quickly. That is not a characteristic of a Bangladeshi batsman, particularly not in this format.
Spectator A: No! This cannot be happening!
Spectator B: What happened, I didn't see?
Spectator A: You aren't going to believe this, but Shamsur just lost his wicket
Spectator B: I don't believe you!
Spectator A: I said you wouldn't.
Spectator B: I don't know how to react to this. I have literally never seen anything like this happen before in my life.
Spectator A: I think there's only way to respond to this sort of unprecedented calamity.
Spectator B: Stunned silence?
Spectator A: Damn right.
Shamsur set the trend for a sequence that was fun but did not help Bangladesh in their total-overhauling efforts. Ziaur launched one delivery for six, then got a lovely little inswinging yorker from Southee that was so pretty, he stepped out of the way to let it through. Having hit his obligatory boundary, Mominul then tried to get out, failed, but got it right next ball. All very entertaining, but one boundary per batsman was not a promising strategy.
Fans of brutal batsmanship did get a treat in the fourth and fifth overs of the innings when Mushfiqur and Naeem Islam went berserk, hitting seven boundaries in eight balls. But this time, the relentless swinging was doomed to fail. Their innings was a rickety old car in need of a service that simply couldn't cope with being asked to go at full throttle for long.
Technically, though, New Zealand lost more games than they won on tour, and, as ever when a team loses a series to Bangladesh, the search is on for an explanation. Jamie Siddons started the ball rolling by suggesting that the New Zealand players couldn't cope with the conditions. The alternative explanation, that Bangladesh are a better one-day team than New Zealand, is clearly too unpalatable to contemplate.
Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England. He tweets hereFeeds: Andrew Hughes
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
|Comments have now been closed for this article
Andrew Hughes is a writer and avid cricket watcher who has always retained a healthy suspicion of professional sportsmen, and like any right-thinking person rates Neville Cardus more highly than Don Bradman. Providing his ransom demands continue to be met, he has promised never to write a whimsical book about village cricket. @hughandrews73