New Zealand bounce back as Tigers suffer first defeat

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Sports desk, Sept 05: New Zealand bounced back strongly beating the hosts Bangladesh by 52 runs on Sunday in the third match of the five-match T20I series at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.

Bangladesh won the first two matches of the series, and they had a good chance to wrap up the series with two matches to play. But yet another poor batting performance handed the Kiwis a big victory and stay alive in the series.

New Zealand have won the toss and opted to bat first. They posted a challenging total of 128 on the tricky Dhaka surface thanks to the 66-run stand in the sixth wicket by Henry Nicholls and Tom Blundell.

In reply, the hosts tumbled for 76, their second-lowest in the format, and lost the match by 52 runs.

Bangladesh never looked to dominate the Kiwis as they did in the first two matches. The hosts lost the first four wickets inside the power play. Openers, Mohammad Naim and Liton Das, returned to the dressing room in a span of one run.

Liton smashed three fours and hinted that he would enjoy batting, but he failed to continue and fell for 15. He perished to Cole McConchie. In the very next over, Naim was removed by Rachin Ravindra.

Mahedi Hasan, who got a chance to bat up of the order, failed to justify the decision as he only scored one run, and right after him, Shakib Al Hasan was out for a duck. Both Mahedi and Shakib were hunted by Ajaz Patel.

The onus was on Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah Riyad, Afif Hossain and Nurul Hasan to keep the Tigers in the match. While Mushfiqur was firm at one end of the wicket, Mahmudullah, Afif and Sohan fell in quick succession.

Eventually, Bangladesh tumbled for 76 all out in 20 overs with Mushfiqur remained unbeaten for 20 off 37 balls.

For New Zealand, Ajaz bagged four wickets while McConchie took three.

Earlier, New Zealand failed to secure a good opening stand once again as they posted 16 on the first wicket. Mustafizur Rahman earned the first breakthrough for the Tigers removing Finn Allen for 15.

Allen was playing his first match in this series. He was tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of the series. He has recently returned negative in two Covid-19 tests and joined the New Zealand team.

For Bangladesh, Mohammad Saifuddin bagged two wickets conceding 28 runs in four overs while Mahedi Hasan, Mustafiz, and Mahmudullah Riyad took one wicket each.

It was the 100th T20I for Mahmudullah. He became the first Bangladeshi cricketer to have played 100 T20Is.

The hosts fielded an unchanged playing XI, while the visitors made three changes.

They overlooked Hamish Bennett, Ben Sears and Doug Bracewell to pave the way for Finn Allen, Scott Kuggeleijn, Jacob Duffy.

The remaining matches of the series will take place on September 8 and 10 at the same venue. Bangladesh need to win any of those matches to seal the series while the Blackcaps need to win both for the same.