Belligerent Taylor seals series for New Zealand
Having been kept to 183 by New Zealand's tidy bowling attack, Bangladesh were drubbed by the broad bat of Ross Taylor as they surrendered the series to the hosts at the University Oval in Dunedin. Another cheap Brendon McCullum dismissal and Martin Guptill's wicket inside the first ten overs would have given Bangladesh some hope, but Taylor's belligerent innings confirmed what most had expected from this Dunedin match. Swatting five sixes in his 52-ball 78, Taylor pushed Bangladesh into a corner and helped seal the game in the 28th over.
This win, however, had been sealed in the first half of the day by New Zealand's bowling attack. A familiar Bangladesh collapse at the top saw the home team take a firm grip on proceedings following an excellent new ball spell from Andy McKay, who was supported well by Daryl Tuffey and Ian Butler in the first 15 overs. The New Zealand seamers ripped apart a spineless Bangladesh top order that capitulated to 25 for 5 and then 46 for 6, before Mushfiqur and Naeem Islam combined to bring up a record seventh-wicket stand that gave the scoreline some respectability.
McKay, in just his second appearance for New Zealand, bowled an immaculate line, occasionally extracting swing and bounce from the Dunedin track, nicking out Tamim Iqbal with a short riser and knocking out Shakib Al Hasan's middle stump to end with the impressive figures of 17 for 2 from his ten overs. Tuffey did well to hold onto a sharp chance off his own bowling to dismiss the out of form Mohammad Ashraful in the ninth over, who toiled for 18 balls for just one run. Butler too picked up a wicket in the Powerplay overs, with Aftab Ahmed caught behind playing a loose cut shot on just 10.
Extremely poor running between the wickets compounded the problem for Bangladesh, with Imrul Kayes and Mahmudullah being found short of their ground after being sent back by their partners. Bangladesh were left in tatters in the 23rd over as Mahmudullah departed, with the total on 46 for 6.
Thankfully for Bangladesh, Mushfiqur and Naeem played intelligently, cautiously keeping the good deliveries out and picking up the singles on offer to get Bangladesh to a position from which they could attack in final ten overs. Even the threat of Daniel Vettori was negotiated without incident by the pair, who brought up 101 runs in 147 deliveries, a Bangladesh record for the seventh wicket. Mushfiqur was especially superb in the batting Powerplay which ended in the penultimate over, clobbering some lacklustre death bowling by Tuffey and Butler over midwicket and straight down the ground for a valuable spate of late boundaries.
Despite Mushfiqur's late surge however, the damage had been done by New Zealand in the first half of the innings, and 183 was always going to be challenging to defend on a track that seemed to be getting better for batting as the day wore on.
Bangladesh started reasonably well with the ball, dismissing Brendon McCullum early on for 9, but a quick Martin Guptill 32 effectively ended any hopes of a Bangladesh victory. Rubel Hossain bowled with pace to induce a top edge from Peter Ingram to leave new Zealand at 100 for 3, before James Franklin joined Ross Taylor to see New Zealand to within striking distance of the Bangladesh total.
Taylor continued his rich vein of form, hammering 78 in a 56-ball innings which included five massive legside sixes and six fours, but was caught in the deep attempting to end the chase with a maximum over square leg. Neil Broom received a beauty first up and was given out lbw, but Vettori and Franklin saw New Zealand home in the 28th over with no further drama. In the end an all too easy five wicket win for the hosts.
Andrew Fernando is a student at Auckland University