New Zealand make it three wins in three, but Williamson goes off hurt

New Zealand make it three wins in three, but Williamson goes off hurt

New Zealand cricket player

Daryl Mitchell plays a reverse sweep during his half-century (Cricinfo)

Source : island

Kane Williamson resumed international cricket by doing Kane Williamson things, scoring a precise 78 against Bangladesh. He shepherded New Zealand close to their eight-wicket win in Chennai, but couldn’t quite see the chase through, as he left the field retired hurt in the 39th over. Daryl Mitchell got New Zealand home with 43 balls to spare, putting the seal on the team’s dominating start to this World Cup.

Williamson had missed seven months of competitive cricket due to a right knee injury he sustained during last season’s IPL, and his World Cup return was thought to be improbable at the time. Even when he was named in the New Zealand side as their captain, he was expected to miss the initial stages of the competition. But not only did he return sooner than expected, Williamson showed little drop in quality, as he went through the gears against Bangladesh.

Williamson struck ten fours and a six in his 108-ball 78, eventually going off with cramps. More than his innings, Williamson’s biggest contribution was to add to two sizable partnerships. First, he made 82 for the second wicket with Devon Conway after New Zealand lost an early wicket. Then alongside Mitchell, he added 108 runs for the third wicket. It made the chase an easy one for New Zealand as they won with plenty to spare.

At the start of New Zealand’s 246-run chase, Bangladesh gave their fans some hope when Mustafizur Rahman removed the high-flying Rachin Ravindra, opening for the first time in ODIs, in the third over. Mustafizur produced a second chance shortly afterwards when Conway, batting on 4, drove away from his body, only for Mehidy Hasan Miraz to drop the chance at point. It was a difficult diving chance, but that one sticking could have charged up Bangladesh.

Soon after the reprieve, Conway struck Shoriful Islam for two fours to break free. Williamson then took his turn on Shoriful, cracking him over point and through point and cover in the 10th over. Then, it was Taskin who went for two fours in the 13th over, before he dropped Williamson at short midwicket when the New Zealand captain was on 27.

Shakib, who suffered that drop, broke the second-wicket stand when he trapped Conway lbw for 45 off 59 balls. Conway’s attempted reverse sweep went awry as he missed the shot, hitting his back-leg. The Conway wicket however did little to help the Bangladesh cause as the next batter, Mitchell, immediately picked up the pace.

He opened his account with a six off Shakib, before Williamson lifted his opposite number over long-on for his first six. Williamson continued to find the odd boundary for the next ten overs, hitting Shakib and Mehidy for four more boundaries before Mitchell got back into action with a stinging pull off Taskin, followed by two straight sixes off Shakib and Taskin.

Even after Williamson called off his innings in the 39th over, Mitchell went after the Bangladesh bowling till the chase was completed in the 43rd over. Mitchell smashed six fours and four sixes in his unbeaten 67-ball 89.

Earlier, when Williamson put Bangladesh to bat first, it took them little time to fall into their familiar top-order slide. Litton Das clipped the first ball of the innings, from Trent Boult, right into Matt Henry’s lap at fine-leg. It was a well-timed shot that he met after coming down the track but he tried it on a difficult angle with the bat. Litton became only the second Bangladeshi opener to fall in the first ball of a World Cup match, the previous being Hannan Sarkar against Sri Lanka’s Chaminda Vaas in 2003.

Tanzid Hasan produced four boundaries in a quick recovery partnership with Mehidy, but the rookie left-hander once again fell on 16. It was a tame dismissal when Tanzid clipped a ball to short square-leg in the eighth over.

A third soft dismissal followed in the 12th over when Mehidy pulled Lockie Ferguson into fine-leg’s lap for 30. He struck three superb cover drives in his 46-ball stay but once again, Bangladesh sent him to a batting position which usually takes a bit of time to getting used to.

New Zealand reduced Bangladesh to 56 for 4 in the next over when part-timer Glenn Philips had the in-form Najmul Hossain Shanto hit to midwicket. Conway took a tumbling catch but Bangladesh regrouped through their most experienced pair.

Shakib and Mushfiqur added 96 runs in almost even time by pressing back at the New Zealand side. Mushfiqur wasted little time by hammering Philips with his favoured slog sweep for a six. Two more Mushfiqur fours later, Shakib pulled Henry before smashing Mitchell Santner for a straight four. Mushfiqur hit Ferguson for his second six, over third man, as Bangladesh looked to be on the road to recovery.

Shortly after Mushfiqur reached his fifty though, Shakib cramped up. After taking a bit of medical attention, the Bangladesh captain took off his helmet as he smashed Ravindra for a straight four and a six over midwicket. He added another six off Ferguson but he was out next ball, again trying to slog the fast bowler.

Mushfiqur followed him back shortly afterwards, though the Henry delivery that bowled him kept really low. It was still a valiant knock given that he had walked in with the task of reviving Bangladesh’s innings.

Tohwid Hridoy, now batting out of position at No 7, couldn’t kick on so it was left to Mahmudullah, batting at No 8 for the first time in 13 years, to ensure a decent finish. He ensured Bangladesh batted out the 50 overs, himself remaining unbeaten on 41, but it was still a sub-par team score.

Brief scores:
New Zealand 248 for 2 in 42.5 overs (Devon Conway 45, Daryl Mitchell 89*, Kane Williamson 78, Mustafizur Rahman 1-36) beat Bangladesh 245 for 9 in 50 overs (Mushfiqur Rahim 66, Shakib  Al Hasan 41*,  Mehidy Hasan Miraz 30, Mahamudullah 41*; Lockie Ferguson 3-49, Trent Boult 2-45, Matt Henry 2-58) by eight wickets


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