Kane Williamson's dismissal prevented his side's progress vs Bangladesh at Cardiff    Getty Images
Kane Williamson’s dismissal prevented his side’s progress vs Bangladesh at Cardiff Getty Images

In match 9 of ICC Champions Trophy 2017, New Zealand posted 265 for 8 versus Bangladesh at Cardiff. Riding on fifties from Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor and contributions from Neil Broom and Martin Guptill, Kiwis were on course for anything above 280, but a lower order collapse prevented their progress. Bangladeshi bowlers kept Black Caps at bay with regular breakthroughs and did not let them accelerate freely. Mosaddek Hossain and Taskin Ahmed led their side’s resurgence with others chipping in as well. Both the sides are engaged in a must-win encounter in a bid to progress to the knockouts from Group A. Live cricket score: BAN vs NZ

There was a debate among the expert panel regarding Williamson’s decision to bat first. Nonetheless, Sourav Ganguly backed the New Zealand skipper stating that the pitch had behaved differently during Kiwis’ chase versus England at the same venue. This must have played a key role in their dugout, hence they decided to put ‘scoreboard pressure’ on Bangladesh. Luke Ronchi accompanied Guptill at the top. Mashrafe Mortaza hit the deck, but Mustafizur Rahman leaked runs by over-pitching the ball. There was not much movement and it helped the batsmen as they added 46 runs for the first wicket.

Ronchi struck two fours before departing for a 18-ball 16. He tried to chip one towards mid on but was caught by Rahman off Taskin Ahmed. Guptill, on the other hand, looked good and struck some lovely drives. He was timing his strokes from the middle of the blade before Rubel Hossain trapped him lbw for 33. It was a short of the length delivery and Guptill was caught inside the crease with no inside edge. He had a long discussion with non-striker, Williamson, regarding the height but refrained from going for a review. The ball was impact-in-line but slightly above the stumps. Nonetheless, the right-hander would have been adjudged out on umpire’s call.

Taylor came in the middle and took the Black Caps’ innings forward with Williamson. Taylor came and blasted two fine straight drives and stitched a vital 83-run partnership with his partner (their ninth 50-plus stand). The New Zealand skipper led from the front with his trademark leg glance, elegant drives and rotated the strike at will as well. He looked determined from the word go despite by foxed outside off stump on a couple of occasions initially. Nonetheless, there was a lean phase between 25-30th over with only a solitary four coming during that period. As a result, Williamson had a lapse of concentration and went for a single, only to fall short at the non-strikers’ end. His innings, 57 off 69 balls, was destined for a big score but saw a tame end courtesy the run-out. He, however, managed to topple Tamim Iqbal from the top spot in the leading run-scorer’s list of the tournament. Shakib Al Hasan was credited for his scalp as he stuck to tight lines, gave nothing away, bowled slower in the air and applied pressure from his end.

Much has been said about New Zealand’s woeful middle order. In their tournament-opener, Black Caps succumbed from 216 for 2 to 291 all-out against Australia. On the other hand, versus England, Kiwis lost their last 6 wickets for 32 runs. However, that was not the case today as Broom and Taylor added 49 off 52 balls with the former looking in good stead. Broom (36) got the odd boundaries and scored at a run-a-ball as the partnership blossomed.

However, Taylor was finding it difficult to lead his side’s charge and succumbed after his fifty. He fell in the 39th over as he went for a scoop, with fine leg up, failed to connect and departed giving a sitter to Rahman. Broom continued from his end with James Neesham coming in at No. 6. Neesham hammered two fours and got going but lost Broom and Corey Anderson in the very next over. Mortaza’s move of resorting to his off spinner, Mossadek, injected vital breakthroughs with Broom failing to accelerate and Anderson getting foxed for a golden duck. He got on the backfoot and missed the length of the ball to make the long walk back to the hut.

There was another mini-collapse for Kiwis as they were reduced from 228 for 4 to 240 for 7. They somehow managed to get to 265 for 8 in 50 overs but again failed to get going in the end overs. The last ten overs went for only 62 runs for the loss of 4 wickets. Mitchell Santner and Tim Southee’s cameos managed to get them over the 250-run mark but will have to bowl really well to keep New Zealand in the hunt.

West Indies’ legend, Ian Bishop, on air, stated that 280 will be challenging with the batsmen finding it difficult to judge the pace of the turf. Bangladesh will still be wary of the total and have to bat well amidst the threat posed by Trent Boult and Southee. If they strike early, the likes of Neesham, Santner (with their variations) and Anderson, who has a knack of breaking partnerships, will keep the subcontinental side under check.

From Bangladesh’s perspective, they will still fancy their chances as they had won their last encounter versus Black Caps, chasing 271.

Brief scores:

New Zealand 265 for 8 in 50 overs (Martin Guptill 33, Kane Williamson 57, Ross Taylor 63, Neil Broom 36; Taskin Ahmed 2 for 43, Mossadek Hossain 3 for 13) vs Bangladesh

Live cricket score: BAN vs NZ