A determined Bangladesh recorded their first-ever win over New Zealand in emphatic manner on Thursday, making light of their player exodus to the ICL. The loss was a huge blow for New Zealand, who needed a clean sweep to take second spot in the rankings. Junaid Siddique, along with Mohammad Ashraful, ensured Bangladesh capitalise on the momentum given by Mashrafe Mortaza's bowling which helped restrict New Zealand to a modest target.
It was a significant victory for the hosts given the circumstances leading into the series but the challenge seemed to have inspired Ashraful and his team, who played sensibly with both bat and ball.
Junaid remained calm despite the fall of Tamim Iqbal, his fellow opener, in the fifth over. Even if Bangladesh's run-rate - the runs coming mainly in singles - was similar to New Zealand's after 15 overs (New Zealand were 62 while Bangladesh were 55) the hosts had lost one wicket compared to New Zealand's four. Junaid found good support in Mushfiqur Rahim, who brought up the team's 50 with a six over long-on off Tim Southee. Mushfiqur scored a useful 30 before going for another big hit, this time failing to clear deep midwicket.
During the New Zealand tour earlier this year Junaid had failed to consistently get off to good starts but today he showed he'd learned from past mistakes. He got lucky, too, on 46, when Scott Styris failed to collect a return catch. He went on to finish his half-century with a single and grew in confidence especially in the company of his captain. In the process he scored more runs than he had in his career: before this match, his ninth, his tally was 62.
Ashraful had been condemned for both his leadership and below-par batting form on the recent tour of Australia. Today he displayed a grim attitude and bolstered the good start provided by his young partner. When Daniel Vettori brought himself on in the third Powerplay - taken by Bangladesh under the new rules - in the 39th over, Ashraful immediately pulled him for a four past square leg and then stepped out for a six over long-on. Bangladesh had reached the 100-mark after 28 overs; ten overs later, they had piled up 60 more. The 109-run partnership was the highest of the day and overshadowed Jacob Oram's hard labour in the morning.
Oram had taken New Zealand to safety after they found themselves in a dangerous position at 79 for 6. Though he took a while to adapt to the low bounce and slow pace of the wicket, he managed to steadily regain the momentum. He had help from Vettori and their partnership of 70 for the seventh wicket rescued New Zealand.
For Bangladesh, Mortaza led from the front, pitching it accurately and taking advantage of the early movement after Ashraful had opted to field. Sensing the opposition batsmen's rustiness, since their only warm-up game was washed out, Mortaza hardly gave the batsmen any room in his unbroken spell of eight overs that fetched him three wickets.
New Zealand failed to benefit from any of the fielding restrictions or from the new Powerplay rule - they managed 55 in the first and then slumped in the second when they lost three wickets for seven runs. The final Powerplay, to be decided by the batting side, was taken in the 38th over but only 26 runs resulted off that.
Bangladesh had beaten New Zealand in the warm-up game during the 2007 World Cup, after which they recorded their best showing in the shorter version with four victories in the tournament. Today's win could be the start of another new chapter.