Black Caps crush Bangladesh to claim 3-0 ODI series sweep

Author
NZ Herald,
Section
Cricket,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 20 February 2019, 10:53AM
Tim Southee, Photo / Photosport
Tim Southee, Photo / Photosport

If the Black Caps wanted a tough test in their final series before the Cricket World Cup, they were sadly out of luck.

But, if they wanted to boost confidence in the camp and see some key players produce timely runs and wickets, then job well done.

An 88-run victory over Bangladesh in the Black Caps' final ODI before the World Cup sealed an overwhelming 3-0 series sweep, with today's win the most clearcut of the lot.

A pair of eight-wicket wins to open the series was capped off by today's beatdown, with the Black Caps smashing 330-6 after being put into bat, and having Bangladesh at 2-3 and 61-5 in response, before eventually dismissing them for 242.

Yet, whether we can glean anything from the game – or the series – is debatable. Even putting aside the perilous concept of 'form', when good performances come against uninspiring opposition, not to mention over three months before the World Cup, it's hard to form too many definitive conclusions.

Bangladesh were never supposed to win this series – they've still never won any of their 24 games in any format in New Zealand – but they were at least expected to be competitive, and while the Black Caps played well, Bangladesh never offered a threat, and never held the upper hand.

Today, the Black Caps did get the opportunity to build an innings in the mould they are trying to perfect before the World Cup. Batting first, a steady start led to consistent accumulation, before allowing the powerful hitters to explode at the death.

It was all smartly executed, with Henry Nicholls (64), Ross Taylor (69) and Tom Latham (59) marshalling the middle order to set up a platform. Nicholls, coming in at three after Colin Munro (eight) missed out on yet another opportunity, showcased his versatility once again, while Taylor passed Stephen Fleming for the most ODI runs for the Black Caps.

Stand-in captain Latham was the best of the lot, needing just 51 balls for his 59 and looking in superb touch before departing trying to raise the run rate further – a task that Jimmy Neesham (37 from 24 balls), Colin de Grandhomme (37 not out from 15) and Mitchell Santner (16 not out from nine) accomplished with aplomb.

Even there though, doubt remains over whether any of those players can repeat the dose against top-quality opposition. Bangladesh's seam attack couldn't hold a candle to India, and their best and usually incredibly economical bowler, Mustafizur Rahman, was wayward and tonked for 93 runs from his 10 overs.

Their top order has been just as bad, though the Black Caps bowlers can take some credit for that. After six games out of the side, Tim Southee's recall saw him take three wickets in his first seven balls, removing Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das and Soumya Sarkar with some exceptional swing bowling, on his way to claiming 6-65 - his best figures since 2015.

As has been the trend, Bangladesh's middle order saved the visitors from complete embarrassment. This time, Sabbir Rahman, who was dropped on a duck by Lockie Ferguson, made his maiden ODI century to provide some respectability, but Bangladesh were never a chance of claiming victory, as the Black Caps wrapped up a dominant series.

Dominant enough to have them as major players at the World Cup, though? That's a question that we are no closer to having the answer.

 

 

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