Martin Guptill’s splendid hundred and a gutsy knock by Ross Taylor took New Zealand to victory against Bangladesh in a game full of fluctuating fortunes.
When New Zealand lost the wickets of Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson against the new ball, they were in a spot of bother. However, Guptill used his feet against Shakib Al Hasan to start his innings on a great note.
When the Bangladesh seamers, Rubel Hossain and Taskin Ahmed came into the attack, he played some cracking shots on the back foot. Guptill also showed his ability to use his height to come well-forward and play a couple of shots down the ground against the pacers. He completed his hundred in a mere 88 balls.
Ross Taylor gave good support to Guptill. Initially, he struggled for timing, but once he got set, Taylor went right back to play a slew of cut shots. Taylor scored a well-deserved fifty and with it, aggregated 5,000 ODI runs. Once Guptill lost his wicket, Grant Elliott came out all guns blazing.
Taylor and Élliott were dismissed in quick succession to give Bangladesh genuine hope of coming back into the game. However, Corey Anderson with some lusty blows took New Zealand closer to win before he was dismissed by Nasir Hossain. It was Daniel Vettori then, who held his nerve to take the home team to a tense victory.
For Bangladesh, Shakib picked up four wickets. In fact, it was a good strategy to start with spinners at both ends up front, as Brendon McCullum likes pace on the ball. Shakib even snared the important wickets of McCullum and Kane Williamson. The spinners also extracted a bit of turn. However, the seamers were slightly below par.
Earlier, Mahmudullah twinned measured judgment outside the off-stump and stroke-play to aggregate back-to-back centuries. He became only the second Bangladeshi to score hundreds in successive games in ODIs. Soumya Sarkar and Sabbir Rahman too played useful hands.
The New Zealand camp would rue the fact that Corey Anderson dropped a catch when Mahmudullah was on one. Among the pacers, Trent Boult and Tim Southee produced a fine exhibition of swing/seam bowling with the new ball. Boult was even rewarded with the wickets of Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes, though he came in for some punishment in the end overs.
Vettori, the experienced campaigner, put up a fine performance. But, Mitchell McClenaghan struggled to make an impact. McCullum again led from the front with his field placements and athletic fielding.
Martin Guptill was declared man of the match.
Bangladesh 288 for 7 in 50 overs
New Zealand 290 for 7 in 48.5 overs