Black Caps thrash Bangladesh to claim series victory

Author
Niall Anderson, NZ Herald,
Section
Cricket,
Publish Date
Saturday, 16 February 2019, 10:58AM
Martin Guptill of New Zealand celebrates his century. (Photo / Getty)

Their bowling has been good, their batting has bounced back, their fielding – well, that's another story – but the Black Caps have reasons for optimism after another dominant victory over Bangladesh.

An eight-wicket win at Hagley Oval was their second straight comfortable triumph, sealing a series win with one game remaining. Every bowler got amongst the wickets, the top order made runs, and only a slew of dropped chances ensured the Black Caps' win wasn't even more of a thrashing.

Nobody has cashed in more from this series than Martin Guptill, with the opener bringing up his second straight century with a brutal innings.

Chasing 227 for victory, Guptill got halfway there by himself, bashing 118 from just 88 balls. Unlike in the first ODI, where he and opening partner Henry Nicholls started slowly in their chase, this time they attacked from ball one.

The pair had added 45 in the first seven overs when Nicholls picked out a fielder on the square leg boundary, but Guptill powered on, bringing up his 50 from 33 balls, looking exquisite through the covers and producing several of his trademark straight sixes.

He managed four sixes in total, and 14 fours, bringing up his 16th ODI century from just 76 balls as he added 143 for the second wicket with Kane Williamson, who broke a relative drought by finishing unbeaten on 65 as the Black Caps completed their chase with 13 overs remaining.

This series also doubled as a drought-breaker for Guptill, who had gone six ODIs without passing 15, before rediscovering his best form against the admittedly unthreatening Bangladesh attack.

His unbeaten 117 in the first ODI was eventually bettered by one run, being caught hooking on the square leg boundary, and there's no doubt his confidence will be back - if it ever left – ahead of the World Cup.

Yet, there's still a nagging feeling of how much this series success means for the Black Caps' chances at the World Cup. They had already proven that they are a class above the second-tier international nations in these conditions with their victories over Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh have shown that they are largely at the same level as, if not worse than, their subcontinent counterparts.

So, they were never likely to make the most of the Black Caps' deficiencies that India exposed, and there remains uncertainty about whether New Zealand will have what it takes to take apart the best sides in international world cricket.

There's nothing they could do to alleviate those concerns in this series though, which always profiled as a way to create confidence and get players back in decent form. These contests have also confirmed the Black Caps' first-choice new ball pairing, with Matt Henry and Trent Boult again making an excellent start in the first innings, reducing Bangladesh to 16-2 and putting them in a defensive mindset immediately.

Matt Henry of New Zealand celebrates dismissing Tamim Iqbal Khan of Bangladesh. Photo / Getty

Henry went for just 16 runs from his first eight overs, bowling quality lines and lengths, and this time they got strong support from their fellow bowlers, with Lockie Ferguson the best of the bunch, claiming 3-43.

Those figures could have been even better, but Ferguson had two sitters dropped off his bowling at slip by the usually reliable Ross Taylor, while Todd Astle and Nicholls also shelled more difficult chances.

That was the only black mark on an otherwise promising performance, and another dominant display can be expected in the series finale on Wednesday.

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