With the women’s game earlier on Thursday (April 1) between New Zealand and Australia yielding no result, and rain causing a lengthy delay to the start of the third men’s T20I between New Zealand and Bangladesh, it seemed like the weather had pulled a prank on the hosts on April Fools’ Day. But a wait for more than two hours was worth it, as New Zealand put up quite a show to seal a 3-0 finish to the T20I series and extend Bangladesh’s winless run.
Finn Allen shored up his T20 credentials with a quick-fire 71 in only his second game to power New Zealand to 141 for 4 in a game reduced to 10 overs. Tim Southee and Todd Astle made short work of Bangladesh’s reply, picking up seven wickets between them to help New Zealand bowl the visitors out for 76 and register a commanding 65-run victory.
The Finn Allen show:
In what was an exhibition of power-hitting and deft strokeplay, Allen’s batting wagon wheel had shots all around the Eden Park, as he sent the bowlers on a leather hunt. Shoriful Islam’s economy rate of 10.50 was the lowest of the innings, which told the sorry tale of Bangladesh’s bowling. Their catching didn’t help either as Allen was put down four times, albeit a couple of them were tough chances, and he made the most of it during his 29-ball stay – scoring at a strike rate of 244.83 with 10 fours and three maximums. Not a bad way to approach a maiden season of the IPL!
Three of those fours and the six came off successive deliveries off Nasum Ahmed in the third over while Shoriful was hit for two boundaries in between two dropped catches in the fourth. A boundary off Rubel Hossain helped Allen bring up his fifty off only 18 balls – the joint second fastest for New Zealand in T20Is. Allen showcased his repertoire of shots, with plenty of straight hits, balls travelling over cover and midwicket, along with scoops and reverse sweeps behind the wicket. He was eventually dismissed in the final over when he got a top edge off an attempted scoop, but plenty of damage was done by then.
Guptill’s role in setting the tone
Even before Allen got into the act, it was Guptill who got New Zealand going after the hosts were asked to bat. Having smoked a 93-metre six off Nasum in the opening over, Guptill struck two sixes off Taskin Ahmed in the second – one of which was a 95-metre maximum which reached the top tier in the stands. He took a bit of a back seat when Allen took the Bangladesh bowlers to task, bringing up 43 in the three-over powerplay and 50 as early as the fourth over. Guptill was back in action in the sixth over when he hit two sixes off Mahedi and followed it up with a boundary. The spinner finally sent back the opener but not before a 19-ball 44, which included a four and five sixes, that provided a powerful platform.
A chase that never got going
When Soumya Sarkar hit a couple of boundaries off Southee in the opening over of the chase, Bangladesh looked eager to give a fitting reply. But things went south rather quickly, starting with two wickets in the opening over itself. Sarkar got a leading edge and saw Southee hold on to an excellent diving catch while stand-in skipper Liton Das moved too much to the off side and was bowled.
Mohammad Naim looked promising during his stay, scoring two sixes off Adam Milne and a boundary off Lockie Ferguson. But Astle’s googly had him mis-timing to be caught at long-on and the wrist spinner also sent back Najmul Hossain Shanto in the same over. At the halfway stage of the innings, there was no comparison at all as New Zealand had raced away to 69 without losing a wicket while Bangladesh could only get to 46, and lost four wickets in the process.
The procession of wickets continued as Astle bagged a couple in the sixth over to finish with 4 for 13, his career-best performance in T20 cricket. Each of the next four overs yielded a wicket apiece as Milne and Ferguson also got amongst the wickets, while Southee finished with three in the match and six in the series. Glenn Phillips, who earlier struck a brisk 14, bagged the last wicket to end Bangladesh’s miserable tour.
Brief scores : New Zealand 141/4 in 10 overs (Finn Allen 71, Martin Guptill 44; Shoriful Islam 1-21) beat Bangladesh 76 in 9.3 overs (Mohammad Naim 19; Todd Astle 4-13, Tim Southee 3-15) by 65 runs.