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New Zealand go through with all-win record

Wisden India logo Wisden India 26-03-2016

The legend of Mustafizur Rahman grew as the left-arm pacer finished with career-best Twenty20 International figures of 5 for 22. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to celebrate his stellar show with a win as New Zealand’s ultra-effective bowling unit did the trick again, guiding Kane Williamson’s men to their fourth win on the trot in the ICC World Twenty20 2016.

Having booked their semifinal berth following the 22-run win over Pakistan earlier in the week, New Zealand arrived at Eden Gardens in Kolkata without the pressure of qualification on their mind. But, as Martin Guptill had predicted the day before, New Zealand, who rested the star opener and brought in Henry Nicholls instead, put on yet another clinical show.

Opting to bat, New Zealand looked in trouble against Bangladesh’s shrewd bowling unit, led by Mustafizur, on a slow pitch. They struck 11 boundaries and six sixes in their entire innings to reach 145 for 8 in 20 overs. It seemed like Bangladesh had done enough to record a first win, but they crumbled against an even stronger bowling department to go down for a measly 70 from 15.4 overs to suffer a humiliating 75-run loss.

This performance would come as a blow to Bangladesh, who punched above their weight to make it to the Asia Cup final before going down to India, and arrived at this tournament with the expectations of a cricket-crazy nation behind them. But, while they lost four on the trot, they came awfully close to finishing with a win or two.

In fact, even on Saturday (March 26), at one stage Bangaldesh were in control. Mashrafe Mortaza, the Bangladesh skipper, rotated his paceman to perfection and cut off New Zealand’s run-scoring options. Just when Williamson began to threaten with his 32-ball 42, Mustafizur got into the act by bowling him around the legs. And that’s when the Mustafizur magic began to cast New Zealand in its spell.

Colin Munro (35) and Ross Taylor (28) were fortunate not to get out to the left-armer, but the five who did were undone by that famous off-cutter.

Mustafizur was on a roll and he had the chance to bag his sixth wicket and finish with a hat-trick off the last delivery of New Zealand’s innings, but Mitchell McClenaghan ended that hope with a massive six in the direction of long-on.

In pursuit, Bangladesh got off to a decent start despite losing Tamim Iqbal early as Mohammad Mithun and Sabbir Rahman looked in good nick. That partnership only lasted so long. In fact, that was the only time in the game Bangladesh looked like they were in pursuit.

Once Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi and Grant Elliott got going, Bangladesh stared in bewilderment as the slow bowlers showcased their expertise and left them broke.

Santner finished with 1 for 16 from three, while Elliott and Sodhi bagged three each to do even more to establish themselves in the side should the pitches going forward remain more or less the same.

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