New Zealand clinched a thriller against Bangladesh by two wickets at the Kennington Oval on Wednesday. Chasing 245 to win, the Kiwis were cruising at 218 for five in the 43rd over, but losing two wickets in consecutive overs in the form of allrounders Colin de Grandhomme and Jimmy Neesham brought two tailenders at the crease. WIth the crowd, filled mostly by Bangladeshi fans, getting charged up with their team’s sudden resurgence in the match, the Tigers pressed hard in the dying stages of the game.
However, tailenders Mitchell Santner and Matt Henry held their nerve and added 20 runs in less than three overs, with Santner scoring most of the runs. But, Bangladesh hit back again as Mohammad Saifuddin bowled a slower full-toss which Henry tried to hit over but failed completely to find his stumps crashed. Joined by Lockie Ferguson at the crease, the spinner showed further resilience with the bat as he creamed a cover drive for four to get his team past the winning total.
Earlier, Bangladesh were bowled out for 244 in a new pitch at the Oval which acted slower than expected. All the top-five Bangladeshi batsmen got a start but failed to convert it into a big score. Former captain, Shakib Al Hasan, who became the third cricketer from his country to play 200 ODIs, was the top scorer for his team with 64. He was the only batsmen to cross the mark of 30.
Also, the Kane Williamson-led unit, backed up by smart fielding and disciplined bowling, managed to keep the Bangladeshi batting under their control throughout the first innings by taking wickets at regular intervals. Henry, the best Kiwi bowler of the day, returned with a figure of 4-47 and was aptly supported by the likes of Santner and Trent Boult. The spinner seemed unplayable at the middle overs as he conceded the first boundary only in his 9th over.
Shakib Al Hasan, however, played his shots as he hit Neesham for three consecutive boundaries. Partnering Mushfiqur Rahim, the all-rounder added 50 runs only to see the wicket-keeper batsman getting run out at 19 for a call he didn’t respond to properly. Shakib was shaky between the wickets throughout the innings as he almost got Tamim Iqbal out in the 12th over earlier. In his bid to consolidate for his mistakes, Shakib completed his 50. But, he couldn’t continue with his act as he got out at 64 edging a de Grandehomme delivery to wicket-keeper Tom Latham.
In the second innings, Shakib removed openers Martin Guptill (25) and Colin Munro (24), and should have had captain Kane Williamson run out on 8 while he was bowling. Williamson was out by more than a foot when the bails were taken out, but video showed wicketkeeper Mushfiqur knocked off the bails with his right arm before he caught the ball. Williamson stayed. Taylor and Williamson got their running sorted out, settled down, and reached their 26th partnership of 50-plus in ODIs, equaling the New Zealand record.
Taylor played the aggressor, while Williamson was happy pushing singles and twos, knowing the run rate required wasn’t taxing. Their partnership of 105 made Bangladesh wilt until Williamson tried to flick Mehedi Hasan one-handed and looped the ball straight to hands at deep midwicket. He was out for 40. Latham followed for a duck, but Taylor pressed on. He was on 82 when he edged behind with a faint nick and immediately walked. Neesham and de Grandhomme looked like getting New Zealand home safely until they were out in consecutive overs. Santner stayed cool and helped Ferguson get the Kiwis home. New Zealand improved to 5-0 against Bangladesh at the World Cup, batting second each time.