A fruitful tour match
The result of Bangladesh's tour match against New Zealand XI at the Cobham Oval in Whangarei yesterday was a three-wicket defeat for the tourists, but it was a fruitful outing for Mashrafe Bin Mortaza's team ahead of the first ODI at Christchurch on Boxing Day.
The few question marks heading into the series would mainly have been about the returning Mustafizur Rahman's fitness after having recovered from shoulder surgery and the form of the struggling Soumya Sarkar. The team management should be breathing easier on both counts after yesterday's match.
Soumya, who has averaged 10.11 from three ODIs and 15.93 in 16 T20Is this year, hit a solid 40 from 47 in Bangladesh's first innings score of 245 for eight in the rain-shortened 43-over match. The left-hander seemed to have rediscovered some of his timing and was moving his feet well against the new ball. He hit four boundaries, giving good support to Imrul Kayes, who got off to a flyer with a 29-ball 36 after Tamim Iqbal's early departure for one.
Although there were no big scores against a New Zealand XI attack made up mostly of first-class journeymen and former Under-19 players, a pair of 40s from Mushfiqur Rahim (45) and Mahmudullah Riyad (46) was evidence enough that the batting group were settling in well to the conditions, something both captains -- Mushfiqur and Mashrafe -- placed onus on before the tour.
All eyes then turned to Mustafizur who bowled the second over of New Zealand XI's innings and had opener Ryan Duffy caught down the leg side off the fourth delivery. He did not taste success again till the 36th over, but it was the classic Fizz wicket as a cutter caught the leading edge of Shipley's bat and ballooned to cover. Throughout his seven overs that went for 39 runs, he bowled with good pace and beat the bat on numerous occasions. Most encouragingly, he did not complain of pain in his left shoulder.
Shakib Al Hasan was the other success story in the bowling ranks, taking three wickets for 41 from his seven overs. A look at the bowling figures tell the story of Mashrafe looking to test out his resources in Kiwi conditions -- leg-spinner Tanveer Haider was bowled most often with nine overs for 59. The skipper himself bowled five overs for 29 while Taskin Ahmed bowled only 3.4 overs for 19 runs.
The testing phase however may have been costly as after having the opposition at 154 for six and then 199 for seven, they lost the match with 1.2 overs left. Ben Horne starred for New Zealand XI with an unbeaten 53-ball 60.
SCORES IN BRIEF
BANGLADESH: 245 for 8 in 43 overs (Mushfiqur 45, Mahmudullah 42, Soumya 40, Imrul 36; Hicks 2-30, Hampton 2-44, McPeake 1-32)
NEW ZEALAND XI: 247 for 8 in 41.4 (Horne 60 not out, Smith 50, Popli 45, Hampton 29 not out; Shakib 3-41, Mustafizur 2-39)
Result: New Zealand XI won by 3 wkts.