Bangladesh take a 1-0 lead in the BAN vs. NZ 2021 T20I series after defeating New Zealand by 7 wickets in the first match. Bangladesh will have a chance to extend their series lead if they win the second match on Friday (September 3). Bangladesh will be favorites in the next match if they can maintain their present form at home, but New Zealand will attempt to tie the series. Bangladesh's bowlers did an outstanding job in the first match, allowing the host to win easily. This article covers the opening match of the BAN vs. NZ 2021 Twenty20 International series.
BAN vs. NZ 2021: The First T20I Match Report
The weather was nice in Dhaka, ideal for a T20 contest. The New Zealand batsmen appeared to be battling with the pitch conditions throughout the game. They are not used to playing on such a spin surface, especially in T20 cricket.
New Zealand made a poor decision by electing to bat first on an unfamiliar pitch. They kept losing wickets from the start of the innings and were finally bowled out for only 60 runs with 19 balls to spare, their lowest total ever in the T20 format. The Sri Lanka team similarly bowled New Zealand out for 60 runs in the 2014 ICC T20 World Cup in Bangladesh. The match took place at Chattogram.
Bangladesh's campaign was optimistic that they would be able to comfortably chase down the target after a stellar fielding effort. The New Zealand spinners, though, took two wickets quickly while defending the low total, making the Bangladesh camp panic. Mohammad Naim tried to find a gap in the cover region, but all he discovered was Henry Nicholls in the short cover.
Bangladesh found themselves in a tough position all of a sudden, and they were 7/2 at the time. Later, Bangladesh were able to turn the game around thanks to a 30-run partnership between Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim.
The Shakib-Mushfiqur partnership took the total to 37 before newcomer Rachin Ravindra removed Shakib (25) with a length ball in the 10th over. Bangladesh didn't lose any wicket after that, and they comfortably reached the target in the last delivery of the 15th over. Mushfiqur Rahim (16) hit the winning shot in the deep midwicket area with his trademark pull shot. Captain Mahmudullah Riyad was undefeated for 14* runs.
New Zealand Innings
Mahmudullah Riyad handed the ball over to off-spinner Mahadi Hasan in search of an early breakthrough. He did not disappoint and Rachin Ravindra was out in the third ball of the innings.
Mahmudullah's strategy of using multiple spinners in the power play to unsettle the batsmen paid off well. He employed Mahadi, Shakib, Nasum, and Mustafizur in the power play and took four important wickets in the first four overs.
Captain Tom Latham (18) and Henry Nicholls (18) tried to rebuild the innings with a 34-run stand for the fifth wicket, but it only lasted until the 11th over. New Zealand would have scored more than 100 runs in their innings if they had stayed at the crease till the end. Bangladesh would have struggled to chase 100 runs on such a pitch.
Mohammad Saifuddin broke this partnership, but all credit goes to Nasum Ahmed, who took a superb catch in the deep square leg region.
New Zealand were 43/5 at that stage, and they were on the verge of scoring their lowest ever T20I total. That fear came true as they were bowled out for 60 in 16.5 overs. The left-arm pacer, Mustafizur Rahman did what he does best. He took three wickets in the death overs. Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan, Nasum Ahmed, and Mohammad Saifuddin each took two wickets.
Player of the Match
Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan was named Player of the Match for his excellent bowling and batting performance. Shakib's bowling figure in the match was 4-0-10-2, in addition to his 25 runs.
A turning pitch aided Bangladesh spinners in choking out New Zealand batsmen in the opening of a five-match BAN vs. NZ 2021 series. Mustafizur Rahman was the only pacer in the playing XI for the host, and the strategy worked perfectly. Bangladesh's management is expected to use three spinners as well in the second encounter. However, New Zealand have more spinning choices than Australia, and they might cause Bangladesh batsmen more trouble than Australia did in the previous series. So, a spin-friendly pitch may not ensure Bangladesh's victory in every match in the series. The second encounter is likely to be much more exciting.