New Zealand 147 for 6 (Guptill 61) beat Bangladesh 146 for 6 (Mahmudullah 43) by four wickets
The opening shots of the ICC World Twenty20 were fired in the beautiful setting of Wormsley as New Zealand edged a last-ball four-wicket win over Bangladesh in the first warm-up match ahead of the tournament proper which starts in ten days.
The conditions were not ideal for either side, the weekend heat giving way to overnight drizzle which left the pitch with a hint of dampness, and a chilly wind blowing down the valley. Although the sun did come out later, sweaters were very much in evidence.
Bangladesh, who chose to bat, appeared well placed on 87 for 3 after 11 overs but rather lost their way thereafter. Several batsmen got starts without going on to play a major innings, and only Mahmudullah (43 off 41 balls) really forced the bowlers onto the back foot. He seemed set to press on when superbly caught by a diving Nathan McCullum at long-on.
New Zealand's start was even more impressive thanks to Martin Guptill who cracked 61 off 41 deliveries, but Bangladesh's spinners slowed the scoring rate and put pressure on the middle order. Shakib was the pick of the bowlers, taking 1 for 15 in his four overs, the wicket the crucial one of Guptill who was bowled after being beaten in the air.
As the asking rate increased, so did the panic. Two run-outs brought about by excellent fielding left New Zealand struggling, but a sloppy 17th over from Naeem Islam put them back in the chase, and they started the last over requiring 12. The first three balls produced only three, but then McCullum hammered a six over long-on. A single off the fifth delivery left New Zealand needing two off the last ball, and McCullum secured the win with a drive hard to the left of long-on.
"It was a good outing in the park for us against some quality players," Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful said. "I am happy with the spirit we showed out there and the way we fought till the last ball. We have to improve in all areas and that's what practice matches are for. From that perspective this was a good start and now we'll be able to better assess where we are."