Daniel Vettori, the New Zealand captain, has breathed a sigh of relief after New Zealand leveled the three-match series 1-1 yesterday in Mirpur. Bangladesh's historic seven-wicket win in the series opener, followed by another good bowling performance, left New Zealand under pressure defending 212 but the visiting bowlers came good when it really mattered. The pitch for the second ODI, however, did not impress Vettori.
"Absolutely it's a relief. I think when you lose the first game and put a mediocre total on board than there are some concerns," Vettori said. "So we were a little nervous in the dressing room even though we scored 200-plus runs."
Vettori was not pleased with New Zealand's second under-par batting display, and hoped they would do better in Chittagong, venue of the final ODI, provided a good pitch was prepared. "It wasn't the greatest score and we are lucky that Jacob [Oram] put some runs on the board for us. Once again we were scratched with the ball and Bangladesh bowled very well at the start and put pressure on us," he said. "So it's another disappointing batting performance, but on a difficult wicket. I don't think the wicket was very good for one-day cricket. We were lucky to get 212 and in the end it was good enough. We hope Chittagong will offer a true ODI wicket."
Bangladesh were in with a good chance to register a rare series win after reducing New Zealand to another poor total, but were bowled out for 137. Mohammad Ashraful, the losing captain, blamed it on 'slow batting'.
"Yes, we were close to a series victory as our bowling and fielding was good but we batted too slowly. It was not easy to bat on this kind of wicket where the ball stops a bit," Ashraful said. "It's very difficult to judge the ball and it was difficult to make up when we scored only 50 runs off 20 overs. In this situation you can only chase down if you had a good start,"
Ashraful's 86-ball 40 was the best score in a poor Bangladesh reply. "It was tough to comeback in the match after the departure of Shakib [Al Hasan]. The asking run-rate went high," he said. "We had a plan to take the Powerplay early but everything changed after the dismissal of Shakib. If we had not lost a few quick wickets then we might have used the Powerplay at a later stage. I must say they [New Zealand] read the pitch brilliantly and bowled very well."