Shell-shocked Bangladesh slumped to a 27-run defeat in the third T20I of the series against New Zealand at Mount Maunganui today.
The target of 195 did not seem like a bridge too far for Bangladesh after a flying start of 44 runs in 4.4 overs. When Sabbir Rahman came out to bat and spanked the first two balls he faced for four, the flicker of hope in the hearts of Bangladesh fans may have burst into a flame, but that was the flash in the pan in the context of the chase.
After Soumya Sarkar was sent back in the ninth over with the score at 2-82, it all went downhill for the visitors, and they could manage 167 in 20 overs for the loss of six wickets.
Shakib Al Hasan tried to bring his team back into the contest, but his 41 from 34 balls went in vain. Soumya looked elegant and pretty effective at the top, and his cameo of 42 from 28 balls contained six splendid shots to the fence. Tamim Iqbal gave the necessary start for the tall chase with 24 from 15, but Bangladesh needed a top-order batter to blast away after getting his eye in today.
For the hosts, Ish Sodhi was the standout performer with the ball, and he took two crucial wickets for 22 runs in four overs. Trent Boult also captured two wickets, but was too expensive for his liking.
Earlier today, a scarcely believable display of shoddy fielding, bowling and decision-making led to Bangladesh wasting another fine opportunity as New Zealand scored 194 for four after being held to 55 for three at the halfway stage in the first innings of the third T20I at the Bay Oval.
Skipper Kane Williamson made the most of two dropped sitters to score a 57-ball 60 which guided the hosts out of troubled waters, while Corey Anderson hit an unbeaten 41-ball 94 with a record 10 sixes, the highest in a T20I innings.
Before that, fast bowler Rubel Hossain's slower off-cutters had the Kiwis on the ropes with one trapping Jimmy Neesham in front for 15 and getting the centurion in the last match, Colin Munro, caught at deep square leg, both in the fifth over, to leave New Zealand at 36 for two. Mosaddek Hossain's off-spin then had Tom Bruce caught at sweeper cover, and from 41 for three in the seventh over, Williamson and Anderson had quite the rebuilding job. They went about it quietly at first, hitting no boundaries in their first four overs and scoring 14 runs.
The shackles were then broken with two boundaries in the 11th over off Mosaddek which produced 12 runs. Anderson's six off Mashrafe in the next over, with Imrul Kayes hurting himself in a valiant effort to catch it at the long off boundary, helped the hosts take 12 off that over as well. Another 12-run over, this time by Rubel, followed and when Taskin Ahmed was hit for a six and a four in yet another 12-run over -- cumulatively conceding 48 from overs 11 to 14.
If the turnaround was threatening, Bangladesh's response to it was poor. Shakib Al Hasan dropped Williamson in the next over at deep square leg off Mashrafe, and that bit of fortune was celebrated by Williamson's partner with a four and two towering sixes.
Shakib then atoned with an excellent over that yielded just five runs, before Mashrafe inexplicably brought on Soumya Sarkar, a part-timer, on to bowl at two ferociously set batsmen. Three consecutive sixes off Anderson's bat followed, and by then the Tigers seemed to have given up. Further proof of that was Tamim Iqbal dropping another simple chance, again off Williamson's bat but this time the bowler was Mosaddek, at deep backward square leg.
Rubel came on and got the wicket of Williamson in the 19th over, bowling the home captain around the legs with a full toss. Two more sixes followed from Anderson, his ninth creating a record for most hit during a T20I innings, in the last over bowled by Taskin.
In the two slivers of silver lining for Bangladesh Shakib Al Hasan was phenomenal with figures of none for 22 in four overs, while Rubel was the sole success story with three for 31 off his four.
Bangladesh: 167 for 6 (20 overs)
Soumya 42, Shakib 41, Sodhi 2-22
New Zealand: 194 for 4 (20 overs)
Anderson 94*, Williamson 60, Rubel 3-31
Result: New Zealand win by 27 runs
Series: New Zealand win the 3-match series 3-0