Fleming Century Aids New Zealand Easy Win
Bangladesh continued their struggle in the Super 8s as Kiwi captain Stephan Fleming struck a superb unbeaten century to guide New Zealand to a convincing nine-wicket win against Bangladesh in their second Super 8 match at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.
Fleming hammered 102 off 92 balls and shared a 134 run partnership with Hamish Marshall who raced to his fifty with a huge six to secure the win. New Zealand reached their target in just 29.2 overs to maintain their 100% winning record in the tournament.
Fleming struck ten fours and three sixes in his match-winning knock. Marshall, who provided vital support to his captain, struck two fours and one six in his 54 ball 50.
New Zealand were well on course from the first over of their run chase and only lost opener Peter Fulton to reach the victory target of 175. Syed Rasel took the only wicket for Bangladesh who wasted a couple of opportunities on the field.
Bangladesh looked completely out of sorts and failed to pose any threat to Kiwis, a team they defeated in a practice match ahead of the gala event.
Earlier, New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming won the toss and decided to field first. Bangladesh made a cautious start and did not lose any wickets for the first 15 overs. After a sedate 55-run opening stand between Tamim Iqbal and Javed Omar, who replaced out-of-form opener Shahriar Nafees, Bangladesh lost their way in the middle and lost regular wickets without much resistance.
The disintegration started when left-handed Tamim (29) was brilliantly stumped by Brendan McCullum in the 16th over. Javed Omar soon followed him after making a patient 22 off 52 balls.
Aftab Ahmed and Shakib Al Hasan repaired the innings after two quick wickets and formed a 43 run partnership. Aftab again failed to consolidate after a brilliant start and eventually was caught in the deep after making 27 off 38 balls with three boundaries.
New Zealand strike bowler Shane Bond in his second spell ripped through the middle order and removed Saqibul Hasan (25) and Mushfiqur Rahim (0). Bangladesh failed to recover from the double strike and New Zealand established their domination over the course of the game.
Bangladesh captain Habibul Bashar and prolific batsman Mohammad Ashraful did not help Bangladesh’s cause as both returned to the pavilion without significant contribution.
Finally veteran Mohammad Rafique entertained the crowd with some lusty blows that included two sixes off Scott Styris. The left-hander, who was unbeaten on 30 off 36 balls, shared 34 runs with Syed Rasel for the last wicket to give the Bangladesh total some respectability after the Tigers were reduced to 140-9 in 42.3 overs.
Scott Styris was the pick of New Zealand bowler and grabbed 4 wickets for 43 runs. Jacob Oram continued his impressive run and took 3-30, having made the early breakthrough to remove Bangladeshi opener and finally put the final nail in Bangladesh’s coffin by removing Syed Rasel to bundle out Bangladesh for a meagre 174.
© Khondaker Mirazur Rahman