Black Caps ease to another winSave
By Andrew Alderson
New Zealand eased to a four-wicket victory with 15 balls to spare in a ground-record chase against Bangladesh as part of their Champions Trophy build-up.
The Tigers reached 257 for nine after being sent in at Clontarf in Dublin's northeast on a spring afternoon in which beanies and hoodies were de rigueur in the player dug-outs.
The previous highest successful chase in 21 one-day internationals at the venue was 230, by Pakistan against Ireland in May 2013, although a tie emerged in the same series when the hosts reached 275 in a rain-restricted 47 overs.
The Black Caps proved clinical in their batting execution, delivering steady partnerships of 39, 41, 30 and 37 to move to 147 for four in the 31st over. Captain Tom Latham provided the spine with 54 from 64 balls in that launching platform, before Jimmy Neesham injected momentum to get them within 17 runs of victory.
As man-of-the-match, Neesham took further steps towards one of his tour objectives of taking responsibility as a senior player on his way to 52 from 48 and taking two for 68 from nine overs. He batted aggressively but within reason until holing out at deep mid-wicket. His innings included an 80-run fifth-wicket stand with Neil Broom, who made 48 from 65 balls. Colin Munro got them home convincingly with an unbeaten 16 from 14.
Bangladesh ignited the contest with an opening stand of 72 in 15.2 overs, but New Zealand always had a grip.
The Black Caps were aided by a slow wicket which, once the bowlers took the pace off the ball, made run-scoring difficult. Their worst enemy was a series of fielding calamities involving sloppy ground work and, on one occasion, lax backing-up.
Parts of the surface exhibited an unevenness which suggested cows had recently grazed in the paddock, but it's an area that needs hours of drills ahead of the Champions Trophy.
The highlight for New Zealand with the ball was the maturity of spinners Mitchell Santner (one for 36) and Ish Sodhi (two for 40) who tempered the Bangladeshi run-rate mid-innings. Both reinforced strong performances in the opening victory over Ireland, where Santner snared five for 50, and Sodhi took one for 40. The pair were prepared to float the ball up for the most part; Sodhi even had two for 16 until conceding 11 from his eighth over.
With Seth Rance, Neesham and Munro conceding seven or more runs an over, Hamish Bennett's three wickets for 31 also deserved commendation. In his first ODI since January 2014, he benefitted from Rance's safe hands behind square leg for each of his dismissals, which came in the space of seven balls.
Latham's attacking captaincy helped restrict the run flow at crucial stages, while Luke Ronchi's glovework conceded no byes. He was rewarded with the catch of Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim and the run out of Mashrafe Mortaza before igniting the chase with 27 from as many balls.
Rahim, with 55 runs off 66 balls, continued the form shown before injuries curtailed his New Zealand tour last summer. He was unruffled using the depth of the crease and sweep shots to ensure bowlers had to control their length. Mushfiqur was backed by opener Soumya Sarkar (61 from 67), Mahmudullah (51 from 56) and Mosaddek Hossain (41 from 41).