While the slugfest in the high-scoring India-Australia ODI series was just about coming to a conclusion, and Indian fans’ gloating about explosive batting by their superstars continued unabated, another cricketing event in the neighboring Bangladesh went literally unnoticed. On November 03, 2013, Bangladeshi cricketers completed a 3-0 ODI whitewash of the visiting New Zealand side, when they outplayed the Kiwis by four wickets in the third and final ODI in Fatullah. It was very much like Bangladesh’s repeat performance of the 5-match ODI series in 2010, when New Zealanders were thrashed 4-0, with one match completely washed out due to rain.
In the Fatullah game, the Kiwis batted first and helped by a brilliant 107 not out by Ross Taylor, set a stiff 308-run target for the hosts to chase. Bangladesh began cautiously, with no score in the first over. They didn’t have their star batsman Tamim Iqbal but his replacement, Ziaur Rahman, hit two fours in the next over to guide his team mates in setting the tempo for things to come. Later in the innings, Shamsur Rahman excelled with his bat to post 96, Naeem Islam chipped in with 62 and Mominul Haq scored a run-a-ball 32. In the final stages, when the hosts needed 49 runs in the last seven overs, Nasir Hossain came up with an unbeaten 44 to finish the victory for Bangladesh.
Earlier, during the beginning of New Zealand tour, the two-Test series had produced drawn games. The ODIs followed the test series and in the first game at Mirpur, Mushfiqur and Naeem scored 90 and 84 respectively and helped Bangladesh post 265. Due to the rains, however, the victory target for the kiwis was revised from 266 to 206 in 33 overs, after about 20 overs have been bowled. In the 24th over, Anderson provided a ray of hope for the visitors, when he smashed 4 sixes and 3 fours. But in trying to continue the slog, he was bowled by Rubel Hossain. As a matter of fact Hossain turned the game upside down by claiming 6 wickets, including a hat-trick, as Bangladesh won by 43 runs through the D/L method. The second ODI was also played at Mirpur and again the hosts batted first. Tamim Iqbal was the top scorer in that game with 58 runs; while Mushfiqur and Mominul Haq contributed 31each and Shamsur Rahman made a useful 25. Though the 248-run target was not daunting, the Kiwis were tied down by a fine bowling performance from Bangladesh. At no stage did the New Zealand batsmen show their dominance of Bangladeshi bowlers. Mashrafe Mortaza took three wickets in two of his spells, while man-of-the-match Sohag Gazi also accounted for three with his restrictive spells. The dangerous McCullum brothers were removed by Mominul Haque and the win looked easy for Bangladesh in the end.
The Kiwis drew solace from the victory; they recorded in the only T-20 match, which was the concluding game of their Bangladesh tour. In the match played in Mirpur on November 06, 2013, New Zealand scored a very competitive 204/5 helped by some spectacular batting by Devcich and Munro. Devcich opened with Rutherford and blasted 59 off 31 balls, while Munro did even better in plundering 73 off 39, studded with 5 sixes and 3 fours. Bangladesh began by losing 3 wickets for 19 on the board. But Naeem and Mushfiqur steadied the innings with a 43-run stand for the fourth wicket. In the end, 204 proved too much even for the enterprising Bangladeshis, who could only muster 189/9, allowing New Zealand to win the match by 15 runs.
The end of the series signified two crucial points. One, the Bangladesh have made vast improvement in their game and they have beaten the Kiwis on six consecutive occasions in the ODI games. The other point is that the New Zealand side needs to come up with some serious introspection of their game, where a good coach can turn the things to look much better in future.
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