Guptill hundred, bowlers earn New Zealand 1-0 lead

After an indifferent series against India, Martin Guptill roared back to run-making with his 15th hundred in ODIs, helping New Zealand win the first match in Napier by eight wickets. Trent Boult and Mitchell Santner were the other enforcers-in-chief, both of them picking three wickets apiece to bowl Bangladesh out for a modest 232 – a score that looked beyond Bangladesh at 94/6 until Mohammad Mithun came into his own with a delightfully stout 62 off 92 balls.
But as good a recovery as it was from Bangladesh, a total of 232 sets you up for a loss in nine out of 10 games in the modern-day ODI ecosystem. That Mashrafe Mortaza opted to bat, after Mohammed Shami had recently shown them the hows and whys of bowling first here, made things worse. New Zealand feasted on Bangladesh’s vulnerability in their first international innings on an overseas tour, and picked four wickets inside the first 8.2 overs to leave them rattled.
Boult flagged off the carnage with Tamim Iqbal’s wicket in his first over; and it came off a beautiful delivery that pitched middle, forced a drive and then straightened to take the outside edge. Matt Henry’s wicket of Liton Das followed soon after, meaning both the openers were back in the pavilion by the fifth over.
Mushfiqur Rahim was another big wicket New Zealand managed early. Softened by a blow on his helmet from Boult, Rahim tried to cut a delivery too close to play and shot an inside-edge onto his stumps. Soumya Sarkar’s struggles against the short ball was more conspicuous, thanks to a top-edge that was caught by Henry, the bowler, himself.
There could have been a recovery window there, had Lockie Ferguson not put on a workshop of serious pace bowling, when he consistently hit the 150 kmph and beyond to trouble every batsman in sight. Kane Williamson had done well to keep his slips intact, which is why Mahmudullah’s edge, when it did arrive, carried to Ross Taylor in the cordon.
After Sabbir Rahman failed in his comeback game, falling stumped in Santner’s first over, the onus was on Mehidy to put on some kind of partnership with Mithun at the other end. And he did, getting off the mark with a couple of beautiful shots, pounding into anything short and wide that Santner bowled, before falling to the same bowler after an important 37-run stand. Bangladesh went from 94 for 6 to 131 for 7, and Saifuddin then joined Mithun in the middle, the duo going on to add 84 runs for the eighth wicket.
Saifuddin made 41 off 58 balls before falling to a mistimed slog-sweep off Santner whereas Mithun was cleaned up by a 150 kmph delivery from Ferguson. Bangladesh couldn’t bat their 50 overs out but the win at the halfway mark was in their recovery.
The chase, from New Zealand’s perspective was clinical. The target being 233 helped, but openers Martin Guptill and Henry Nicholls took their time to get going, not panicking at the lack of run-scoring opportunities against the new ball upfront. They were 22 for 0 was 7 overs, and nearly doubled the score at the 10-over mark en route to a 103-run opening stand – New Zealand’s first since January 2018. The partnership, coming at about 4.5 runs per over, never swallowed Bangladesh over but was just effective enough to gnaw at the target and inch New Zealand closer.