New Zealand gun down woeful Bangladesh
An abysmal all-round display from Bangladesh meant that New Zealand romped to a ten-wicket victory in just 8.2 overs in the tour opening Twenty20 match at Seddon Park. A mediocre bowling performance was not helped by an error-ridden fielding effort by the tourists, who dropped straightforward chances from each of the New Zealand openers. The match was, however, already lost by the visiting batsmen, who crashed to an embarrassing 78 after putting themselves in on what seemed to be a good batting surface.
Daniel Vettori and spin partner Nathan McCullum completely foxed the Bangladesh middle order, snaring 5 wickets for 21 runs between them. Man of the match Vettori picked 3 for 6 and was close to unplayable, utilising the bounce and turn of the Hamilton wicket to brilliant effect.
Daryl Tuffey ended with two wickets thanks to a tight line and length both in his opening spell and against the tail. Jacob Oram and James Franklin shared three wickets between them in the middle overs.
Tamim Iqbal started off well, smashing Tim Southee over midwicket and straight down the ground in the second over, but was caught down the leg side, off a short ball that grazed his gloves, for 14. Aftab Ahmed, in his first Bangladesh appearance since April 2008, attempted to continue the momentum with a series of wild slogs to the leg side but managed to connect only once, lifting James Franklin over fine leg for six before being outdone by a yorker two balls later.
The New Zealand spinners then came into play, making an instant impact on the match. Vettori had Mohammad Ashraful caught at deep point, attempting a lofted cover drive, before trapping Mushfiqur Rahim in front two balls later. Nathan McCullum had Shakib Al Hasan playing on to a straighter one, leaving Bangladesh in tatters at 42 for 5 in the eighth over. Both spinners were tough to get away and applied telling pressure, even as Bangladesh wickets continued to fall at an alarming rate. Mahmudullah fell to McCullum in his final over before Vettori had Shahadat Hossain stumped, playing down the wrong line.
The tail provided some short-lived resistance, with Raqibul Hasan slogging his way to 18 from 13 deliveries, the top score for Bangladesh, but the home side's pacemen were on hand to smartly polish off the tail with two overs to spare.
New Zealand's openers, Brendon McCullum and debutant Peter Ingram, started slowly, but accelerated once McCullum hit his straps, hammering 56 from 27 deliveries in an effortless innings that included two audacious scoops over the keeper's head. Sloppy fielding and lacklustre bowling played their part in the touring side's early demise, with the bowlers serving up several rank long-hops and the fielders conceding too many avoidable runs to create any semblance of pressure on the batsmen.
Bangladesh will hope to recover from this humiliating defeat in time for the first ODI in Napier on Friday. However, the tour opener does provide an ominous sign for what is likely to be a lop-sided series unless the tourists raise their game drastically.
Andrew Fernando is a freelance writer based in Auckland