Heavy defeat leaves Tigers with lot to ponder
Bangladesh's 15-year unbeaten streak in ODIs at home against New Zealand came to a crushing end with an 86-run defeat against the visitors in the second match of the three-match series at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday.
The Black Caps, who had last won an ODI in Bangladesh against the hosts in October 2008 before losing seven matches on the trot, set up an imposing total of 254 all out after deciding to bat on a tricky Mirpur surface. And then leg-spinner Ish Sodhi wreaked havoc on the Bangladesh batting, scalping six wickets for 39 runs as the hosts were skittled out for 168 runs in 41.1 overs.
Playing with largely a second-string batting line-up, the visitors had found themselves in early trouble, losing three wickets for 36 runs against Mustafizur Rahman and Khaled Ahmed, the debutant pacer eventually ending with three wickets. But a 61-ball 49 from Henry Nicholls and 66-ball 68 from Tom Blundell in middle-order resurrected the Kiwi ship before some handy efforts down the order, including 35 from player-of-the-match Sodhi, took them to the total that they eventually defended comfortably.
Bangladesh never got going in their chase despite a refreshing 44 off 58 deliveries from Tamim Iqbal, the former captain who batted for the first time since July this year. Once the left-handed opener departed with the team score at 92 for five – becoming Sodhi's third of six victims – Bangladesh were already looking down the barrel. Mahmudullah Riyad, another returnee to the national team, held the rocking ship for quite a while, passing 10,000 runs in three formats in the process. But a loose shot on 49 against the off-break of Cole McConchie left the veteran all-rounder one short of 5000 runs in ODIs, extinguishing Bangladesh's hopes of a fight.
With the first match of the three-match series washed out, the third match scheduled for Tuesday becomes a series decider and an opportunity for the visitors to inflict a home-series defeat on Bangladesh for the first time in 15 years.
Apart from the record being on the line, the Bangladesh team management would also be worried about the brittle batting effort, not least helped by another poor show from Liton Das as well as Tanzid Hasan Tamim and Soumya Sarkar, both failing to make a case for inclusion in World Cup squad. Runs from Tamim and Mahmudullah, though, would assuage some of the corners.