McCullum Smashes Record As New Zealand Hammer Bangladesh

McCullum Smashes Record As New Zealand Hammer Bangladesh
McCullum Smashes Record As New Zealand Hammer Bangladesh
©REUTERS / Action Images

New Zealand 191-3 (B McCullum 123) beat
Bangladesh 132-8 (Nasir Hossain 50) by 59 runs
ICC World Twenty20 2012, Group D, Pallekele
Report by John Pennington

Brendon McCullum hit a new world record Twenty20 International score of 123 in 58 balls as New Zealand thrashed Bangladesh by 59 runs in the opening game in Group D of the ICC World Twenty20 2012 in Pallekele.

He also became the first player to score two centuries in the format, taking Bangladesh apart as New Zealand posted 191 for three and in reply Bangladesh could manage just 132 for eight, despite an impressive half-century from Nasir Hossain.

Bangladesh won the toss and chose to bowl first and made a solid start as Mashrafe Mortaza kept to a tight line and length although the first runs came from a wayward delivery down the leg side that sped to the boundary.

Martin Guptill struck a clean six down the ground but fell for 11 when he was bowled by Abdur Razzak. In strode Brendon McCullum and over the course of the next 60 minutes, he changed the course of Twenty20 history with some extraordinary strokes.

He was helped by a poor bowling performance from Bangladesh, who offered up plenty of balls that invited huge shots and he was only too happy to oblige.

In all, he struck 11 fours and seven sixes, adding 50 in 34 balls with James Franklin, who played intelligently alongside McCullum, hitting 35 in 36 balls with one straight six and a couple of boundaries. Together they scored 94 for the second wicket and it was broken when Franklin was caught by Elias Sunny in the deep off the bowling of Mortaza.

Mortaza had a mixed day. His early spell was impressive but he threw away four overthrows and then dropped McCullum on 92 when the ball was drilled straight at him at cover.

After ten overs, New Zealand were 75 for one – the sort of platform that teams dream about and it took McCullum 29 balls to reach his half-century, after which he continued to strike the ball hard, far and often as Bangladesh wilted.

He and Ross Taylor, who may never score an easier 14 runs in his life, took 15 runs from the 17th over and then 17 from the penultimate over and McCullum reached three figures with another boundary.

He passed the previous high score of 117 by smashing Razzak for another six and then fell to the final ball of the innings when he finally miscued one, Tamim Iqbal taking the catch off Razzak, who despite conceding boundaries returned respectable figures of two for 28.

Unusually, Shakib Al Hasan offered no control or penetration, leaking 40 runs, Shafiul Islam conceded 34 in three overs and Sunny 36 in three.

McCullum, as is his wont, mixed classical cover drives and excellent placement with brutal shots that almost defy description. They certainly defied the fielders’ attempts to rein them in and time after time the sheer speed with which he struck the ball rendered field placements null and void. One shot in particular highlighted this as the batsman flat-batted a short ball straight down the ground, past the bowler for four.

After Tamim had taken the catch to end McCullum’s masterclass, his game was quickly over as he was dismissed from the third ball he faced without scoring a run, easily caught by Guptill at short cover as Kyle Mills made an early breakthrough.
Shakib and Mohammad Ashraful both got off the mark with boundaries but quickly found themselves under pressure through New Zealand’s disciplined bowling and sharp fielding. The pressure told when Shakib (11) chipped a simple catch to Kane Williamson and Mills could celebrate a second wicket.

Mushfiqur Rahim was given a reprive when he edged a wild drive only for McCullum to prove he is fallible by missing a simple catch behind the stumps. A couple of boundaries followed but the advantage was wasted when Rahim lofted one high into the air and Kane Wililamson took a good catch in the deep to leave the Tigers whimpering on 33 for three in the fifth over.

At the end of the Power Play, Bangladesh were 37 for three – ahead of New Zealand in terms of runs but behind in terms of wickets and without the capacity to accelerate that they sorely needed.

That quickly became of 37 for four when Ashraful, who had made 21 in as many balls, was trapped in front by Tim Southee as he played all round a straight delivery.

Bangladesh limped to 54 for four at the halfway stage as Mahmudullah (15) and Nasir Hossain tried to mount a recovery, the pair hitting a six apiece and Hossain delicately guiding Oram to the third man boundary for a four.

Their partnership hinted at little permanence and it ended when Mahmudullah chipped Nathan McCullum to Williamson at long on.

Nasir has made quite the impact since making his debut in 2011 and he was the only thorn in the side of New Zealand, taking on Daniel Vettori with gusto, fighting a lone hand to the end as Bangladesh’s aim quickly changed from winning the match to damage limitation.

He stood head and shoulders above his colleagues in making 50. His half-century came from 37 balls and was brought up with another skilful guide to third man for four. Two balls later he failed to find the boundary and was caught by Guptill off Southee, who bowled excellently to pick up three for 16.

Ziaur Rahman was dropped on one by Vettori and he promptly hit Mills for six to bring up the team century and both batsmen were quick to pounce on anything short offered up by the quick bowler, who nevertheless recorded new career-best figures of three for 33.

Mortaza struck a boundary before spooning a catch to Franklin, Sunny fell for five to become Southee's third wicket while Rahman remained unbeaten on 14 as Bangladesh's challenge faded rapidly.

They now need to beat Pakistan to stay alive in the competition and New Zealand will go into their game against Pakistan full of confidence and their big stars firing on all cylinders.

© Cricket World 2012

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