Spirited New Zealand keep series alive against Bangladesh


New Zealand showed a spirited performance to hit back into the five-match Twenty20 International series as they capitalized on Bangladesh batsmen’s reckless batting to secure a mammoth 52-run victory in the third game at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.

Left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel who claimed a career-best 4-16 and a fine batting display of Henry Nicholls and Tom Blundell was key in New Zealand’s victory and make the series scoreline 2-1.

Offspinner Cole McConchie, who also registered his career-best 3-15, and left-arm spinner Rachin Ravindra (1-13) played their part well to dismiss Bangladesh for 76 in 19.4 overs after New Zealand recovered from 62-5 to put up a fighting 128-5 in the slow surface.

It was Bangladesh’s joint second-lowest total in this format. New Zealand in fact caused Bangladesh’s first four lowest total—70, 76, 76, and 78. It is also the eighth time Bangladesh scored below 100 in the shortest format of cricket.

Bangladesh batsmen indeed let the team down by playing ambitious shots but credit should go for this weakened New Zealand squad also who adapted to the condition very quickly as promised by their captain Tom Latham.

A brilliant 61 ball-66 runs for the sixth wicket partnership between Henry Nicholls and Tom Blundell was key in inspiring New Zealand to bounce back in the series.

Nicholls was not out on 36 off 29 with Blundell on run-a-ball-30. Both struck three boundaries in the process.

The visitors lost the first game by seven wickets and the second one by four runs.

After opting to bat first, New Zealand made a disappointing start like the first two games. Finn Allen who played his first match in the series after recovering from Covid-19, squandered his good start by being out on 15 off 10.

His fellow opener Rachin Ravindra also perished to a big shot when he appeared to set in the crease with run-a-ball-20.

Bangladesh pacer Mohammad Saifuddin then struck twice in an over, dismissing Will Young for 20 and Colin de Grandhome for a duck.

But the big blow for New Zealand came when offspinner Mahedi Hasan got rid of skipper Tom Latham with a return catch. Latham, who scored 49 ball-65 not out in the previous match, this time made just 5.

With 62-5, Bangladesh looked all set to bundle New Zealand out below 100 again but Nicholls and Blundell resisted. They curbed the aggression, knowing that playing a big shot could trigger another collapse.

Playing with caution, they helped the side amass a total, which was good enough to defend.

Things got easier when McConchie removed opener Liton Das, who made an aggressive start, hitting three fours in the first two overs.

Ajaz Patel then came into the action and immediately made an impact with a double strike that included the wicket of Shakib Al Hasan, who played a rash shot to be out for a duck.

Rachin Ravidra dismissed opener Mohammad Naim to further trouble Bangladesh, who relied on senior batsmen Mushfiqur Rahim and captain Mahmudullah to bring them back into condition.

But Patel was relentless as he came up with a double strike again, removing Mahmudullah for 3 on his 100th T20 match as first Bangladesh batsman and Afif Hossain in consecutive deliveries with Bangladesh at tricky 43-6.

That effective threw Bangladesh out of the game with Mushfiqur fighting alone to be not out on 20. Including him, only three Bangladeshi batsmen could reach a double-digit figure. The fourth game is on Wednesday.