New Zealand 173 for 5 (Phillips 58*, Mitchell 34*, Mahedi 2-45) beat Bangladesh 142 for 7 (Sarkar 51, Naim 38, Southee 2-21) by 28 runs (DLS method)
In a rain-interrupted fixture on a drizzly Tuesday evening in Napier, New Zealand, bowling with a wet ball that was becoming increasingly hard to grip, had to work hard to eke out a 28-run win over Bangladesh via the DLS method. This gave them an unprecedented ninth straight home series victory, with Glenn Phillips playing a key role with both bat and ball, even though most of the wickets were picked up by their pace bowlers.
The DLS drama
Sheets of rain, which interrupted play twice during the New Zealand innings, brought about a bizarre passage of play soon after Bangladesh began their reply to New Zealand’s 173 for 5, scored in 17.5 overs. For nine deliveries of their chase, Bangladesh were in the dark about their target. Or, well, thought incorrectly that their target was 148. Play was stopped for over five minutes even as match referee Jeff Crowe worked through frenetically to sign-off on a revised DLS target of 171 – first broadcast as 170 – off 16 overs.
Soumya on a mission
When play resumed, Soumya Sarkar batted like a man on a mission, shellacking four fours and three sixes in his first 15 deliveries to entertain hopes of Bangladesh’s first win on tour. At the end of seven overs, Bangladesh were well placed at 76 for 1, needing a further 95 off 54 balls with nine wickets in hand. Ish Sodhi, taken for 19 off his first over, struggled to grip the ball. Adam Milne, returning to New Zealand’s XI for the first time since 2018, struggled to hit the right lengths. The game was afoot.
Sodhi, Phillips amp up pressure
Then Sarkar started to try and manufacture strokes – attempting reverse sweeps and paddles, and looking to make room to muscle the ball on the face of some disciplined spin from part-timer Phillips. His two overs went for just 13 runs, while Sodhi bounced back to concede just five off his second over. The asking rate crept up and Sarkar soon holed out to long-on off Tim Southee for a 27-ball 51.
Taking a cue from the spinners, Southee used his slower variations, the cutters and the knuckle ball, to tighten the screws. Bangladesh had reached a point of no return and had to go for broke. Mohammad Naim fell to give Phillips his first international wicket, leaving Mahmudullah to do the bulk of the hitting. At that stage, they needed 60 off 23 balls. It was a task too steep, with Milne, Hamish Bennett and Southee taking two apiece to close out the game.
Bangladesh had a shot as long as Soumya Sarkar was at the crease Getty Images
Sustained aggression wins the day
Earlier, in the 17.3 overs that were possible in their innings, New Zealand displayed their formidable batting depth and sustained aggression most reminiscent of England’s white-ball template. This helped them post a big total despite none of the top four managing more than Martin Guptill’s 21, after Bangladesh elected to make first use of some moisture on the surface.
The start of the innings was hectic, with Finn Allen, bowled for a first-ball duck on debut, looking to give impetus. Backing away to use brute force, he clubbed the returning Taskin Ahmed down the ground and over midwicket to set the tone, but ran out of luck at 17 as he mistimed a hoick to square leg off the last delivery off the first over.
Then, Ahmed, off whom four catches were dropped in the ODIs, showed his athleticism in pulling off a one-handed stunner, throwing himself to his left at short fine-leg to dismiss Guptill. When Devon Conway was out top-edging to deep square next delivery, New Zealand had slipped to 61 for 3.
Phillips rises to the occasion
Phillips moves around in the crease, tries to throw spinners off their lengths by using his feet or backing away to cut and pull – methods that have made him quite a plucky T20 batsman. By the time he walked out to bat, Bangladesh’s left-arm spinner Nasum Ahmed still had two overs left. Phillips took his time, finding the gaps and seeing Nasum off, before launching into the bowling at the death.
Using the depth of the crease to good effect, he muscled two sixes towards deep midwicket, to go with his five fours, one off which was a lofted hit over cover off the back foot off Mahedi Hasan. He finished with 58 off 31 balls, and was helped in no small measure by Daryl Mitchell, who clubbed Mohammad Saifuddin for three successive boundaries in the 17th over, followed by three fours in the following over off Ahmed. Mitchell raced to 34 off 16 and Bangladesh were on their way staring at a 200-plus target when the rain arrived.
Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo