New Zealand cruise home over Bangladesh

Published: Wednesday, December 26, 2007, 13:54 [IST]
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New Zealand produced a morale-boosting performance as they romped to a six-wicket win over Bangladesh in their one-day cricket international here, the first of a three-match series.

Set a modest target of 202 on the short-boundaries of Eden Park, opener Jamie How set the platform with a patient 88 before Scott Styris ended the game with a towering six in the 43rd over.

Following heavy defeats to leading cricket nations Australia and South Africa in the past two months, New Zealand were desperate to stem the slide against the minnows of international cricket.

"We wanted to win comprehensively, but we had to understand we're going through a bit of a rough patch," a relieved New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori said.

But Vettori acknowledged his decision to send Bangladesh in to bat first appeared to have backfired when Mohammad Ashraful was in full flight, plundering the boundaries with 70 off 57 balls.

"I think the way Ashraful played took the game away from us for a certain period of time," Vettori said.

But New Zealand's fortunes turned on one wayward ball from Jacob Oram.

With Bangladesh racing along at five an over, Ashraful belted the Oram delivery straight to Peter Fulton at deep mid-wicket, triggering a sensational collapse.

Bangladesh were then 150 for four after 29 overs, and in the space of the next 20 more balls they added just four more runs and lost three wickets to be 154 for seven.

Mashrafe Mortaza (17) and Abdur Razzak (not out 22) added some life to the tail before the Bangladesh innings ended at 201 in the 43rd over.

Despite New Zealand's batting shortfalls in recent months they were never in trouble on the ideal batting wicket.

How and Brendon McCullum started with a 90-run opening partnership before a lack of concentration by McCullum (40) saw him lob a full toss straight back to Farhad Reza.

Fulton (35) joined How to add another 67 for the second wicket. Fulton's dismissal, followed by How and Ross Taylor (8) in quick succession left Styris to end formalities with his second six to remain unbeaten on 25.

The second game in the series will be played in Napier on Friday with the third and final ODI in Queenstown on New Year's Eve ahead of two Test matches.

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