New Zealand registered yet another commanding victory over Bangladesh as they beat the visitors by 66 runs in the first of the three-match T20I series in Hamilton. Bangladesh now have lost 30 matches in New Zealand against the home side with no win to their name.
The start was just about perfect for Bangladesh. Nasum Ahmed, on debut, knocked over Finn Allen in the very first over. But morning doesn't always show the day, does it?
Bangladesh did well to restrict New Zealand to 48 for one in the powerplay and managed to send back the dangerous Martin Guptill in the next over for 34. He was Nasum's second victim as the left arm spinner deliberately pitched the ball way outside off stump and Guptill hit that straight to long off.
Bangladesh were in a great position at that time but Devon Conway and Will Young spoiled the party for them. Conway started from where he left off in the ODIs and kept on picking the gaps. Young too was aggressive and both the batsmen took the pressure off each other by hitting boundaries regularly.
Conway could've been out at the 15th over when Shoriful Islam, at the boundary, took the catch cleanly but touched the boundary cushion with his boots. Conway was on 47 then and eventually went on the score a superb 92 not out off 52 balls. Debutant Young also batted well for his 30-ball-53.
Glenn Phillips came in at five and hit some lusty blows and New Zealand posted a huge total of 210 for three.
Nasum Ahmed was the pick of the bowlers, picking up two for 30 in four overs. But it was a forgettable outing for another debutant Shoriful as he gave away 50 runs in his four overs. The other two pacers- Mustafizur Rahman and Mohammad Saifuddin were expensive too. Both of them went for more than 40 runs without getting a wicket.
The chase never got going for Bangladesh. Liton Das was the first man to go as he played a half-hearted shot and was caught by Ish Sodhi off Tim Southee at the third over. Naim Sheikh played a few fantastic shots including a splendid shot off Lockie Ferguson. But the fast bowler responded with a 147 kph screamer that trapped him leg before. The score was 39 for two then at the fifth over.
Then it was Ish Sodhi who broke the backbone of Bangladesh batting line-up. He sent back Soumya Sarkar, Mohammad Mithun, Mahmudullah and Mahedi Hasan in space of two overs, leaving Bangladesh tottering at 59 for six at the eighth over.
Afif Hossain was the lone spark for Bangladesh with the bat as the youngster played a fine 33-ball-45 with the help of five fours and a six. Mohammad Saifuddin hung around and remained unbeaten for a run-a-ball 34. Bangladesh batted out 20 overs and managed only 144 for eight.
Sodhi was the star performer for New Zealand, picking up a four-wicket haul. Lockie Ferguson, on return from injury, took two wickets for 25 runs.
The two sides will face each other in the second T20I on March 30.