New Zealand will be looking to follow up their comprehensive six-wicket rout of Bangladesh in the first ODI at Eden Park by sealing the three-match series tomorrow at McLean Park. New Zealand's batting revival, led by Jamie How, after disappointing performances against South Africa and Australia, has brought relief to Daniel Vettori with bigger challenges ahead.
Mohammad Ashraful and Tamim Iqbal took the New Zealand attack apart with a 97-run stand and paved the way for a competitive score. However, New Zealand clawed back into the match after the tourists, placed comfortably at 150 for 3, lost their last seven wickets for only 51 runs. Bangladesh lost the plot and their bowlers could do little to turn the match into a contest. The target of 202 was overhauled with nearly seven overs to spare, thanks to a 90-run opening stand between How and Brendon McCullum.
"We've got to be tough on ourselves because we know that we have to put in good performances here so they lead into the England series," Vettori said. "There's always a few slip-ups but to come back from having a team 140-2 and to bowl them out for 200 [sic] is the most important bit."
Ashraful was impressive in his 57-ball 70 and Vettori admitted he had anxious moments when watching Ashraful blitz away and his side would have to be on their toes for the rest of the series while he's at the crease.
"I thought he was pretty outstanding," Vettori said. "It sort of reminded us of of some of the world class players going round at the moment in his ability to hit good balls for fours and sixes consistently. He's obviously got an amazing eye and is going to be a major threat to us the whole series."
Bangladesh coach Jamie Siddons admitted that the batsmen got their strategy wrong and didn't focus on staying at the crease for 50 overs.
"The batsman that were in were probably looking at a 280 target rather than making sure we got 250," Siddons said. "The captain has a bit to answer for there. We've got to make sure we get 250 and bat our 50 overs.
"Ashraful and Tamim seemed to make it look pretty easy but the two guys threw it away. If you get those sorts of starts you can't afford to fall away that badly. We broke a few team rules, so we'll talk about that and hopefully make sure it doesn't happen again."
Bangladesh have made one change to their line-up, bringing in Tushar Imran for middle-order batsman Mehrab Hossain Jnr, who's recovering from a sore shoulder.
The pitch appeared similar to the one at Eden Park, with a tinge of grass, and is expected to have consistent pace and bounce. The weather on the eve of the match was bright and sunny and Bangladesh would hope their batsmen make good use of the conditions.
New Zealand: Jamie How, Brendon McCullum, Peter Fulton, Ross Taylor, Scott Styris, Mathew Sinclair, Jacob Oram, Daniel Vettori, Kyle Mills, Mark Gillespie, Chris Martin
Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Junaid Siddique, Mohammad Ashraful, Aftab Ahmed, Javed Omar, Shakib Al Hasan, Farhad Reza, Mehrab Hossain Jnr, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Sajidul Islam, Shahadat Hossain, Mashrafe Mortaza