New Zealand survived a dramatic late fightback by Bangladesh to pull off a nervy two-wicket win in their World Cup clash at the Oval on Wednesday.
Man-of-the-match Ross Taylor scored a 91-ball 82 before a clatter of wickets gave Bangladesh the chance to pull off a shock win.
It needed a 20-run eighth-wicket stand between Mitchell Santner (17 not out) and Matt Henry (six) to bring the target down to seven required in a highly tense atmosphere.
Lockie Ferguson (4 not out) and Santner hit a boundary each to seal the win.
“It’s very nice to get across the line,” said New Zealand captain Kane Williamson. “We still knew that 250 could be quite challenging.
“It wasn’t our most clinical effort with the bat. There were a few soft dismissals that we’d want to address. But it’s a great experience to have in tournament cricket.”
Paceman Mohammad Saifuddin (2-41) and spinner Mosaddek Hossain (2-33) had given Bangladesh a glimmer of hope after New Zealand were apparently cruising towards a comfortable win.
New Zealand slumped from 160-2 to 218-7, with off-spinner Mehidy Hasan Miraz dismissing Williamson (40) and Tom Latham (0) in the same over before Hossain accounted for Jimmy Neesham (25).
The win is New Zealand’s second victory after their crushing 10-wicket victory over Sri Lanka, with the team hungry for a first-ever World Cup triumph.
– Shakib reaches 200 ODIs –
Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan did his best to mark his 200th one-day-international appearance in style with a polished 64 and two wickets but it was not enough.
Shakib removed Black Caps’ openers Martin Guptill (25) and Colin Munro (24) before Taylor and Williamson steadied the innings during their 105-run stand for the third wicket.
Bangladesh, sent in to bat, lost their last six wickets for just 65 runs.
Paceman Henry finished with figures of 4-47 as Bangladesh were bowled out for 244 in the final over.
Shakib, cheered on by a large contingent of Bangladeshi supporters, scored his 64 off 68 balls but too many of his teammates failed to capitalise on good starts.
Once he was caught by wicket-keeper Latham off the bowling of Colin de Grandhomme in the 31st over, the Bangladesh batsmen lost their way.
Tail-ender Saifuddin hit a 23-ball 29 with a six and three boundaries before Henry and Trent Boult (2-44) mopped up the tail.
“It was a good wicket, we were 20 or 30 short,” said Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza.
“The outfield was slow. We got set and then got out too often. We couldn’t make a good partnership in the middle.
“At the end it was a tight match. To win matches you have to get wickets. They closed it professionally — credit to them.”