Hamilton, March 13 (IANS) A brilliant unbeaten century by Mahmudullah (128) guided Bangladesh to post an impressive 288/7 in 50 overs in their final Pool A match of the World Cup against New Zealand at Seddon Park here on Friday.
Fresh from their historic victory against England, Bangladesh became the first nation in the World Cup to not be bowled out by the co-hosts as they put up the highest total by a side against New Zealand in this tournament.
Put in to bat, Bangladesh did not start well and were struggling at 4/0 at the end of the fifth over. Kiwi pacers Tim Southee (0/51) and Trent Boult (2/56) were in their elements at the start as they swung the ball and beat the batsmen at will, also notching four maidens.
The Asian team had more to bother about when they lost both their openers (27/2), going down to Boult, by the 10th over.
However, Soumya Sarkar (51) and Mahmudullah struck an important 90-run third-wicket partnership to revive the Bangladeshi innings. The 22-year-old Sarkar scored his maiden half-century in only his sixth One-Day International (ODI).
Following the wicket of Sarkar, captain Shakib Al Hasan (23) and wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim (15) scored small cameos which kept the innings going with Mahmudullah at the other end. Shakib and Mushfiqur gave away their wickets to left-arm pacer Corey Anderson (2/43), which brought in Sabbir Rahman (40).
At 182/5, Madmudullah and Sabbir put up a significant 78-run sixth-wicket partnership to take the Bangladeshi side well past the 250-run mark, the first time it has been done by a team against New Zealand in the World Cup.
Mahmudullah continued his fluent innings at the other side. The all-rounder, who scored a match-winning hundred against England on Monday to guide his side in to the quarter-finals, scored a successive century to give Bangladesh a chance to beat their formidable hosts. The right-arm bat smashed 12 boundaries and three sixes in his 123-ball innings.
Brief scores: Bangladesh 288/7 in 50 overs (Mahmudullah 128 not out, Soumya Sarkar 51, Sabbir Rahman 40; Grand Elliot 2/27, Corey Anderson 2/43, Trent Boult 2/56) vs New Zealand.