Bangladesh posted their largest total in a limited-overs match against New Zealand but couldn't stop the Kiwis from cruising to a six-wicket win in the first one-day international yesterday.
Opening batsman Jamie How top-scored with 89 as New Zealand overtook Bangladesh's total of 201, made in 46.3 overs, with seven overs to spare to lead the three-match series which continues at Napier tomorrow.
How put on 90 for the first wicket with Brendon McCullum (40) to set New Zealand on the path to their ninth win over Bangladesh in as many one-day internationals.
He then added 67 for the second wicket with Peter Fulton (35) to nudge New Zealand closer to victory before falling to a catch in the deep.
The win came as a boost to New Zealand, and particularly for new captain Daniel Vettori, who had been under selection pressure after a series of poor team performances on recent tours to South Africa and Australia.
"It's been a long time coming," Vettori said. "This win will be good for our confidence. I was taking nothing for granted today and I'm happy with the performance."
"They put a lot of pressure on us at times and I was pleased with the way we responded," Vettori said.
Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful top-scored with 70 as his side made 201 after being sent into bat by Vettori.
Ashraful hit 10 fours and a six, compiling his runs from only 57 balls, and added 97 for the third wicket with opener Tamim Iqbal (50) in the most substantial partnership of the Bangladesh innings.
Bangladesh were in command of the match at 150 for three in the 29th over before Ashraful's dismissal set off a mini collapse and handed the initiative to New Zealand.
Ashraful played a careless shot and was out immediately before the third powerplay of the Bangladesh innings, starting a middle order failure which saw four wickets fall for four runs in four overs.
Bangladesh slumped to 154 for seven and ended their innings well short of a competitive total.
"I think on this kind of wicket we needed 50 runs more than we got," Ashraful said. "While myself and Tamim were there we had a very good chance but then we lost four or five quick wickets and that cost us the match."
Ashraful's inventive stroke play temporarily confounded the New Zealand bowlers, who eventually fought back to dominate the innings.
While Tamim played some lavish drives, Ashraful took many of his runs through the leg side with full-blooded pull shots or wristy flicks behind square leg.
He twice scored fours by stepping outside off stump and ramping wide deliveries through vacant fine leg.
Tamim included four fours and two sixes in his patient, 66-ball innings before he was out in the 27th over when Bangladesh were 136-3. Jacob Oram made two vital breakthroughs for New Zealand, removing Iqbal for 50 then removing Ashraful in his next over.
Oram finished with three for 36, Kyle Mills took three for 46 and Mark Gillespie, battling to save his place in the New Zealand lineup, conceded 18 runs from his first two overs but fought back to take three for 27 from eight overs.
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