Kolkata, March 26 (IANS) Bangladesh bowlers, led by left-arm pacer Mustafizur Rahman, kept New Zealand on a tight leash and restricted them to a modest 145/8 on a slow Eden Gardens strip in a World Twenty20 Group 2 contest here on Saturday.
Mustafizur returned with brilliant figures of 5-22 for his side as Kane Williamson top-scored for New Zealand — already through to the semi-finals — with a 32-ball 42. Colin Munro (35) and Ross Taylor (28) were the other major contributors.
The Kiwi openers, skipper Williamson and T20 International debutant Henry Nicholls gave their side a brisk start. Williamson started off with two consecutive boundaries of pacer Mashrafe Mortaza in the first over. With 25 runs on the board, Nicholls, who was brought in as Martin Guptill’s replacement, fell as Mustafizur cleaned him up with an incoming delivery.
In the next over, Williamson struck Shakib Al Hasan for a boundary and a six and at the end of the powerplay, the Black Caps were 39/1.
There were a few quiet overs thereafter as the Bangladesh bowlers crawled back into the game. Williamson tried to take the matter into his own hands and tried a cheeky scoop against Mustafizur but the pacer’s slower delivery crashed into his stumps.
The boundaries dried up as Bangladesh further tightened the screws on a pitch that was slowing down.
In the 13th over, New Zealand were finally able to break the shackles as they were gifted four byes. Munro, who was keen on rotating the strike, clubbed Mahmudullah for another boundary in the first ball off the next over and then followed it up with two big sixes.
However, Amin Hossain was able to castle Munro as he went for another big heave. Then Mortaza struck by bowling all-rounder Corey Anderson for a duck. Ross Taylor, who was dropped at 9, carried the innings forward with Grant Elliot.
After a brief 22-run partnership, Elliot (9) perished as he lofted one to mid-on. Taylor too departed soon after. Wickets at regular intervals pegged the Black Caps back as they managed to get only 145 on the scoreboard.