NEW ZEALAND gave themselves the perfect preparation ahead of the World Cup by whitewashing Bangladesh in the three-match series 2-0, with a seven-wicket win in the final ODI in Dhaka on Tuesday (26).
Will Young and Adam Milne starred with bat and ball respectively, with Young hitting 70 off 80 balls to guide New Zealand to 175-3.
Milne’s 4-34 restricted the hosts to 171 in 34.3 overs at Dhaka’s Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium. Stand-in skipper Najmul Hossain Shanto, with 76 runs, was the top scorer for Bangladesh, but was unable to give the hosts a competitive target with a lack of support from the other end after he opted to bat first.
New Zealand made light of their chase despite losing Finn Allen (28) and Dean Foxcroft (0) to Shoriful Islam in consecutive balls, as Young put on 81 runs with in-form Henry Nicholls for the third wicket.
By the time left-arm spinner Nasum Ahmed bowled Young, New Zealand were well in control. Nicholls, who made 44 and 49 runs in the previous two games, went on to complete 50 this time, while Tom Blundell (23 not out) hit a boundary to take New Zealand home, with 91 balls to spare.
Bowlers Cole McConchie and Trent Boult earlier complemented Milne, who was playing his first match of the series, claiming 2-18 and 2-33 respectively to deny Bangladesh any serious momentum in the contest.
The Kiwis, who lost the previous two series in Bangladesh 4-0 in 2010 and 3-0 in 2013, won the second match by 86 runs last Saturday (23). The first match was washed out by rain.
“The World Cup is just around the corner – to come up with the first win since 2008 is great,” said Young, the man of the match, after the match.
“This group plays a lot together, we gel well and it’s a lot of fun,” he added.
Young said that while he could not predict what conditions the Kiwis would face in India when the World Cup gets underway next Thursday (5), he hoped “it’s similar to these”.
Bangladesh initially rested several key players but, with the series at stake, they brought back stalwarts Najmul, Mushfiqur Rahim and Shoriful Islam. However, it did little to improve their overall performance.
Najmul, leading Bangladesh for the first time, held down one end to score his fifth ODI fifty but wickets kept falling regularly from the other end.
“Our batsmen didn’t score big runs,” Najmul said. “Hopefully, next time batters take responsibility and bat long.”
Milne and Boult struck early to reduce Bangladesh to 35-3, before Najmul and Mushfiqur offered a brief resistance with a 53-run partnership off 59 balls in their fourth wicket stand.
But Mushfiqur’s dismissal to Lockie Ferguson for 18 put New Zealand back on top and the visitors did not lose the momentum again.
McConchie ended any real chance of Bangladesh lodging a fighting score by dismissing Najmul with his second ball of the day, with the lefthander hitting 10 fours in his 84-ball innings.