Fulton and Mills star in series-clinching win
The second one-dayer in Napier turned out to be hopelessly one-sided as New Zealand's batsmen made best use of a placid surface to help register a 102-run win to take the series 2-0.
Jamie How, Peter Fulton and Jacob Oram scored half-centuries to power New Zealand to 335 for 5 and Bangladesh's chase hit a dead end as soon as Kyle Mills struck with three quick wickets in the early stages. Bangladesh were already out of the match when rain stopped play after 43 overs.
Captain Daniel Vettori took the opportunity to give his batsmen a shot at notching up some runs and confidence and they obliged. How took the aggressive route with a 77-ball 74 at the top while Fulton's innings was more workmanlike, running the singles and keeping the fielders on their toes in the middle overs. Oram then clubbed four sixes in his 31-ball 55 and led his side's late charge towards a total that proved way out of reach for the opposition.
Fulton and the middle order thrived on another productive opening stand between How and Brendon McCullum, who added 82 at more than a run a ball with a mixture of flamboyant strokeplay and electrifying running. McCullum stood a foot outside the crease to pick the ball on the full. While he regularly charged down the track and shuffled across the stumps, How preferred to stay put at the crease and respect the coaching manual, still ensuring that the poor deliveries were rightfully dispatched.
Bangladesh, however, were at the receiving end of a poor decision when a genuine outside edge off How's blade convinced everybody except the umpire Peter Parker. To add further insult to injury, How bludgeoned the next ball through the covers and hung around to add another half-century stand, this time with Fulton. He brought up his fifty with an off drive off Farhad Reza, but his pursuit of the elusive three-figure mark ended when he was trapped in front of the stumps by Abdur Razzak.
Fulton, who came in during the third Powerplay, made good use of the restrictions by fetching four boundaries. With the slower bowlers operating from both ends, Fulton and Scott Styris settled down by rotating the strike. Fulton was constantly on the lookout for singles and his efficient half-century was characterised by firm punches past cover, flicks to midwicket and cheeky paddle sweeps. The fact that there were no boundaries between the 26th and the 38th overs almost went unnoticed because the scoreboard kept ticking away.
Styris fell seven short of his fifty after succumbing to a slower ball from Reza, scooping to short third-man. Ross Taylor too enjoyed a good hit in the middle, clubbing Razzak for consecutive boundaries over midwicket before getting down on his knees and slogging Mortaza high over long-on. Towards the end, not a single bowler was spared and the one to suffer the most was Razzak, who conceded 75 off his ten overs, a rare bad day for a bowler known for economical spells.
Reza was at the mercy of Oram's blade as he conceded two huge sixes in his ninth over, the first over midwicket and the second over long-on. Oram found time to deposit two more over the same region, as if teeing off like a golfer.
Bangladesh's only noteworthy passage of play with the bat came at the start as Tamim Iqbal and Junaid Siddique added 63 at just over five an over. A boundary past the covers got the chase off to an emphatic start and the pair showed good application in getting behind the line and driving on the up past the infield on the off side. Tamim was the more dominant partner, picking Mark Gillespie for a six over backward square-leg and following it up with a trademark flat-batted biff past the bowler after advancing down the track.
With very little in the pitch to assist the bowlers, only a momentary lapse in concentration could have yielded a wicket and Siddique succumbed, falling to a miscued pull. Mills, who came back well after the early pasting, plucked out Tamim in the same over, inducing an edge outside the off stump. Ashraful fell in controversial circumstances, standing his ground after Ross Taylor claimed a low catch at cover but the umpires upheld the appeal.
Following his dismissal, Aftab Ahmed and Tushar Imran went on the defensive, struggling to find the boundaries as New Zealand tightened the noose. Aftab, obviously bogged down by the situation, waited for the third Powerplay in the 35th over to free his arms but it was a little too late. A flurry of boundaries, including a cheeky scoop over fine-leg for six, hastened his progress to a half-century.
Mills returned to dismiss Shakib Al Hasan, caught hooking to fine leg, and finished with commendable figures of 4 for 40. Aftab continued to assert himself but didn't last too long after his fifty, holing out to a diving Oram at deep square-leg. The rain only cut short the inevitable.
Kanishkaa Balachandran is a staff writer at Cricinfo