CHAMPIONS TROPHY: Centurions Shakib and Mahmudullah stun NZ
Bangladesh produced a historic batting performance to beat New Zealand by five wickets and keep their Champions Trophy hopes alive in Cardiff. Tim Southee’s brilliant opening spell reduced Bangladesh to 12-3 after the Black Caps made an underwhelming 265-8.
However, a record stand of 224 between Shakib Al Hasan (114) and Mahmudullah (102 not out) saw the Tigers complete a stunning win with 16 balls remaining. They will qualify for the semi-finals if England beat Australia on Saturday (June 9).
It was an engrossing match as Shakib and Mahmudullah produced the highest partnership for Bangladesh in one-day cricket to wrest the game back from New Zealand, who are eliminated after the defeat. The Tigers are reliant on the result at Edgbaston if they are to secure a place in the semi-final on June 15, but they will be able to reflect on a calm and impressive chase here.
From the position Bangladesh were in, with their key batsman Tamim Iqbal dismissed for a duck, it took true determination to secure a victory. The ball has barely swung throughout the tournament, but Southee exploited the movement on a two-paced pitch to rip through Bangladesh’s top order.
Tamim, a centurion in the opening match of the tournament, fell to the first delivery he faced and Southee barely let up with a tight, tempting line, helped by some sharp fielding.
When Adam Milne bowled Mushfiqur Rahim with a 91mph delivery it felt as though Bangladesh had been left with too much to do, but Jimmy Neesham’s introduction into the attack saw the game shift again.
Mahmudullah and Shakib targeted Neesham, alternating between attack and well-timed running to force New Zealand to rethink, and they were unable to stop Bangladesh’s steady accumulation. Shakib’s century came first – brought up, fittingly, with a six – before Mahmudullah slashed Boult to the long-on boundary to bring up three figures.
Despite Shakib’s evident disappointment when he was bowled with just nine runs needed, his part had already been played. It was the first ever 200-run partnership for Bangladesh in ODI cricket, and it could not have come at a more opportune moment.
New Zealand will be left to rue a third successive batting collapse which stopped them posting a truly competitive total. Throughout the competition the Black Caps have been reliant on Kane Williamson, the lynchpin of the side, who made a century against Australia and 87 against England when no other player passed 40.
However, once he has fallen New Zealand have often followed suit, losing 7-37 against Australia and 8-65 against England after his dismissal. Here, he withstood the tricky new ball conditions, dealing with Taskin’s pace well, and looked composed as he registered his 31st one-day half-century and put on 99 runs with Taylor.
His wicket – needlessly run out at the non-striker’s end – halted New Zealand’s momentum and, when Ross Taylor was caught out by a brilliant bit of slow bowling from Taskin for 63, the Black Caps floundered.
Four wickets fell for just 62 runs in the final 10 overs, New Zealand losing three wickets to spinner Mosaddek Hossain through a combination of poor shots and some tight Bangladesh bowling. (BBC Sport)