New Zealand overcome spirited Bangladesh
A determined maiden century from Imrul Kayes and a wonderful spell of slow bowling by Shakib Al Hasan was not enough to deny New Zealand a 3-0 clean sweep after the hosts clinched the final ODI in Christchurch by three wickets. Man of the Match Martin Guptill powered New Zealand towards Bangladesh's modest 241 and, despite a mini collapse towards the end, they reached the target comfortably in the 45th over.
Earlier, Kayes batted for the majority of Bangladesh's innings, building productive partnerships with the middle order to guide his team to 198 for 4 after 40 overs. Mohammed Ashraful and Shakib both posted 30s after a disappointing showing in each of the previous ODIs, but were unable to kick on to put the New Zealand attack under pressure in the final overs.
Kayes, however, paced his innings intelligently, driving aerially through covers early in the innings before settling in for a long knock during the middle overs. Playing second fiddle to the likes of Ashraful and Aftab Ahmed, Kayes rotated strike effectively and hit the occasional boundary to keep the scoreboard ticking over at a healthy rate, even as wickets fell at regular intervals around him. He was slightly fortuitous at times, repeatedly beating McCullum with edges to the third-man boundary, but was the glue that held the Bangladesh innings together. He was eventually dismissed for 101, looking for quick runs in the 48th over.
Despite runs coming from the top order, Bangladesh were once again unable to put in a complete batting performance, and failed to accelerate effectively in the batting Powerplay and the death overs. While the visitors did well to reach 198 for 4 after the 40th, the final ten overs yielded only 43 runs for the loss of five wickets and left the score at 241 for 9, when at one stage at total in excess of 260 looked likely.
The visitors' failure at the end was also largely due to an excellent spell from Daniel Vettori, who was wicketless until the 44th over before picking up three scalps in consecutive overs to end with 3 for 42 from his ten. Tim Southee also picked up three wickets, and was the pick of the New Zealand attack, conceding just 37 runs from his full quota.
Brendon McCullum began the New Zealand run chase in belligerent fashion, pulling Shafiul Islam over square leg for six in consecutive overs, but fell attempting an ugly slog, dragging a fuller Rubel Hossain delivery onto his off stump. Martin Guptill came to the crease and was in supreme touch from ball one, timing it superbly to the straight boundary, both along the ground and over the infield. The running between the wickets was especially impressive while Guptill was in the middle, stealing lightning-fast singles to men in the infield.
Shakib then came into the attack dismiss Peter Ingram in his first over, playing inside the line of a well-pitched drifter that hit off stump. Ross Taylor too was stumped off Shakib after a flighted delivery beat the bat and left him well short of his crease.
Guptill, however, batted beautifully to string the New Zealand innings together, punishing the bad deliveries down the ground and through point, while rotating the strike with incredible efficiency to keep the run-rate well above what was required. When he holed out to long off for a run-a-ball 91, New Zealand were well placed to win the match, requiring 47 from 15 overs with five wickets in hand.
The departure of Neil Broom and Jacob Oram in quick succession, however, put some pressure back on the hosts, but Ian Butler and James Franklin had plenty of overs to play with. Despite the tension, they negotiated the remainder of the run chase without much drama. Franklin hit the winning runs in the 45th over, leaving Bangladesh to rue the missed opportunity to score 25-30 more runs, which might have made for a much tighter finish.