New Zealand have a point to prove to ‘dangerous’ Bangladesh: Todd Astle
Mahmadullah and Shakib al Hasan knocked New Zealand out of the Champions Trophy. © AFP

Hosts New Zealand have a point to prove to Bangladesh in the three-match ODI series starting on Wednesday in Napier, says the spin-bowling allrounder Todd Astle, after losing their last two matches in the format to them. (READ MORE: Simmering Bangladesh brace for New Zealand fightback)

Those two losses to Bangladesh came in 2017, the first in a tri-series also featuring Ireland and the second in the ICC Champions Trophy that followed. In that must-win match in Cardiff, Bangladesh chased 266 with five wickets and 16 balls remaining to knock out Bangladesh and move to the semi-finals.

Thought it has been 20 months since that defeat, Astle said stopping Bangladesh would be a challenge.

“The boys are excited, obviously. They’ve just come off a really good T20 series win and a challenging one-day series, so for us its making improvements,” he said on Tuesday at McLean Park. “The Bangladeshis will be a good challenge. They beat us last time in the Champions Trophy, so we’ve got a point to prove. Hopefully we can really come out strong in all three areas and have a good series win.”

New Zealand are coming off a 1-4 ODI series loss to India, and beating the same team 2-1 in the T20Is that followed is, in the words of skipper Kane Williamson, an isolated success keeping this summer’s World Cup in mind. (READ MORE: Bangladesh like being underdogs: Steve Rhodes)

Bangladesh return to ODIs for the first time since December, when they defeated West Indies at home 2-1 to draw to a close a year in which they won 13 of 20 ODIs. That, statistically, capped their second best year in ODIs after the 14 they won in 2009.

While against New Zealand in New Zealand the seventh-ranked team has lost all ten ODIs, Astle felt they were a force to be wary of.

“I think they’re a quite dangerous side,” he said. “They can certainly score good runs and against spin, I think for me, that will be a good challenge. It’s [about] trying to make sure we ask enough questions, put them under enough pressure that we can then win these games.”

The series starts in Napier followed by ODIs on February 16 in Christchurch and February 20 in Dunedin.