On the back of a magnificent overall performance, New Zealand romped home to another victory and now have four points from two games. Bangladesh did well to make a comeback but was not good enough as New Zealand’s lower-order collected the much-needed runs to carry the team over the line.
The flourishing New Zealand pace attack
The troika of Matt Henry, Trent Boult, and Lockie Ferguson may not come across as one of the intimidating bowling attacks in the World Cup. Though they have the class of Boult, New Zealand do not have enough firepower to back him up. Well, this was a common perception prior to the start of the tournament and they were over-reliant on a misfiring Tim Southee, whose series of poor performances saw him being axed from the playing XI, but two games into the tournament, the belief has changed.
It’s not easy to make up for Southee’s absence; he was their second best bowler in the 2015 World Cup and has immense experience under his belt. But the trio have put up stirring performances in two back-to-back games and have formed an intimidating pace attack. Matt Henry is leading the wicket-taking chart with seven scalps in his kitty from two games. Boult has kept things tight with his immaculate control and deadly swing while Lockie Ferguson has shown sheer discipline. They have accounted for seven wickets apiece in both the games and have infused fear in the minds of opposition.
New Zealand are tagged as underdogs and have a good chance of showing the world that 2015 was not a flash in the pan. Their bowling had a major role to play in both the victories so far and if they manage to pull their weight together, there is no reason why they cannot grab a semi-final spot. And for that happen, their bowling have to replicate similar magic for the remainder of the tournament.
Mushfiqur Rahim needs to control his nerves under the pump
Despite not having enough runs on board, Bangladesh were fighting it out and after chipping two quick wickets, the game was wide open. There is no denying to the fact that New Zealand’s batting rely heavily on Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor as the duo bind the middle-order. Williamson’s early dismissal is no less than a boon to any side and Bangladesh just let that opportunity slip by, courtesy to an over-excited keeping from Mushfiqur.
In the 11th over, Taylor called for a run to which the Kiwi skipper responded immediately, there was hardly a run there and Tamim got the throw dead right towards the striker’s end. Williamson was not even in the frame and all Mushfiqur had to do was collect the ball and get the bails off. But in a rush of blood, perhaps, the keeper not only made a fuss of the direct hit but disturbed the bails before even collecting the ball. This huge blunder gave Williamson a much-needed life and the skipper ensured he steadied the ship with a crucial 105-run stand with Taylor.
Bangladesh would have certainly found themselves in a comfortable position had this mishap not occurred and in all probability won the game too. This is not the first time; Mushfiqur has lost his calm under the pump. In a World T20 encounter against India, Mushfiqur’s pre-mature celebration saw him becoming the king of memes when he threw his wicket away while being on the brink of a win. With two needed off three deliveries, Mushfiqur went for a big heave only to be caught at deep midwicket. Result? Bangladesh lost the game by a whisker.
Bangladesh will find themselves in more tricky situations in the games to come and Mushfiqur, being the keeper and a veteran, will have to hold his nerves and execute things as they come.
Bangladeshi batsmen flounder after good starts
At this level, it is borderline criminal to throw it away wickets after getting a good start. In a 50-over format, one just cannot afford to rely on decent scores and needs daddy hundreds, especially in batting-friendly conditions of England. After a solid start against South Africa, Bangladesh’s batting fizzled out against New Zealand. Successful teams like England, India and Australia have enough centurions in their line-up, but Bangladeshi batsmen have struggled to exhibit the needed composure and temperament.
It’s not like their batsmen struggled to get going, but they did fail to convert solid starts into big scores. Barring Shakib Al Hasan none of the Bangladeshi batsmen crossed the 50-run mark. The top eight got double digit scores but not a single one was able to cross over the triple digit mark, which denied them from posting a massive total. This conversion failure was also one of the key reasons behind South Africa’s failure against the Asian Tigers, and it seems the latter have started following the template.
In fact, Bangladesh didn’t have a centurion in the first game, but Shakib and Mushfiqur Rahim got decent scores, which is why the weakness was camouflaged. But in a tournament like this, it cannot be hidden and was only about time before teams brutally exploited it. The pitch was good enough for a 300-run total and they way their openers started, it looked achievable. But throwing away wickets and not trying to achieve the 100-run milestone denied them a massive total, which played a key role in their defeat.
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