Brilliant Shakib knocks down New Zealand

Brilliant Shakib knocks down New Zealand

Bangladesh rode on an outstanding all-round performance from Shakib Al Hasan to beat New Zealand by nine runs in Mirpur, making Daniel Vettori’s pre-match comments about his ability seem almost clairvoyant.

Shakib was scintillating with the bat in the latter part of Bangladesh’s innings, unleashing a range of shots in the batting Powerplay to lift Bangladesh to a competitive 229. He then tormented the visitors with the ball, scalping four invaluable wickets including a double-strike in the 15th over to remove the rampant Brendon McCullum and Grant Elliott. He then returned to bowl a brilliant penultimate over in the rain-curtailed run chase, giving away just three runs and claiming the wicket of Nathan McCullum to give his side an unexpected 1-0 lead in the five-match series.

Bangladesh’s hopes of defending the smallish total suffered a huge dent when they lost their captain and strike bowler, Mashrafe Mortaza, to a sprained ankle after bowling just one over. The blow left the inexperienced Nazmul Hossain and the hosts’ spinners to step up considerably, and vice-captain Shakib to take over the familiar captain’s role for the rest of the match.

Brendon McCullum’s devastating form at the top of the order exacerbated the problem for Bangladesh as he set about blasting the attack to all corners for 61 off 45 deliveries. He plundered boundaries at will, cutting and pulling short balls ferociously as well as slamming the fuller deliveries over cover and down the ground. Jesse Ryder too got in on the action, hitting three boundaries in his innings of 21, before chipping Shakib to short midwicket with the score on 53 in the seventh over.

Brendon McCullum used his feet against all the bowlers, with a particularly majestic straight strike off Naeem Islam in the eleventh over standing out. His fancy footwork, however, ultimately led to his undoing when he danced passed a dipping delivery from Shakib. Elliot followed two balls later to leave the visitors wobbling at 84 for 4 before the rain that had threatened through the day became heavy enough for the umpires to call for the covers.

When play resumed, New Zealand were left chasing 210 from 37 overs: a target Ross Taylor and Daniel Vettori set about hauling in systematically. Vettori was adjudged out after pulling a chest-high full toss straight to deep square leg, though the third umpire ruled it as a no-ball after the batsman asked for a referral. That was the second controversial umpiring incident of the day, following a stumping that should have been given during the Bangladesh innings, when Junaid Siddique survived after being caught out of his crease.

Vettori did not last long however, top-edging a sweep to short fine leg for 24. Shanan Stewart and Ross Taylor followed soon after, leaving the visitors in deep waters. Kyle Mills and Nathan McCullum kept trying, but were no match for a Shakib special in the penultimate over. Nazmul then successfully defended 17 in the last over to spark off scenes of jubilation in the stands.

Earlier, New Zealand’s slow bowlers strangled Bangladesh after a solid start. Vettori was at his miserly best, finishing with 2 for 29 from his ten overs, while Nathan McCullum and Ryder also made inroads into the Bangladesh line-up.

Opener Imrul Kayes fell to Kyle Mills after a 34-run stand for the first wicket, but Shahriar Nafees played intelligently for his 35, mixing firm defense with calculated aggression, before Vettori’s introduction made an immediate impact.

He removed Nafees with a quick yorker in his second over, as Bangladesh began to feel the pinch. Wickets continued to fall at regular intervals, with only Shakib managing to come to grips with the slowish surface. He began smartly against the seamers in the middle overs before exploding in the 45th, pulling Tim Southee for consecutive boundaries and then slamming Andy McKay down the ground in the following over to bring up his half-century. An inventive scoop and a crash through the covers off Mills raised hopes of 240, before a slower ball ended his stay. A couple of lusty blows from Mortaza lifted the score to 229, a score which ultimately proved sufficient.

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