Bangladesh clinched the BAN vs. NZ 2021 Twenty20 International series with one game to spare (September 8) after winning the fourth match by 6 wickets on Wednesday at the Sher-e-Bangla cricket stadium in Mirpur. New Zealand failed to put up a defending total on the board at the crucial fourth match. Bangladesh battled a little in the middle overs but won the match in the last over. The host will try to make it 4-1 in the series with a victory on Friday (September 10). The top performers in Bangladesh's series-clinching victory over New Zealand have been highlighted in this article.
BAN vs. NZ 2021: Match Report of the Fourth T20I
New Zealand needed to win this match in order to stay alive in the series. But they were bowled out for only 93 runs with three balls remaining after electing to bat first on a spin-friendly surface. Will Young batted well for New Zealand, scoring 46 runs. He didn't get enough support from the other end to get the innings to a respectable total. Bangladesh's pacer Mustafizur Rahman and spinner Nasum Ahmed each took four wickets.
In the chase, Bangladesh lost three wickets for 32 runs in the power play. However, a 35-run partnership between Mohammad Naim and Mahmudullah Riyad for the fourth wicket, followed by an unbroken 29*-run stand between skipper Mahmudullah and Afif Hossain in the first ball of the 20th over, aided Bangladesh to seal the victory.
Mahmudullah played a captain's knock with 43* runs. On the other hand, Ajaz Patel was outstanding once again for the Blackcaps, taking two wickets for only 9 runs in four overs. The player of the match award went to Bangladeshi spinner Nasum Ahmed.
Nasum's Spin Hindered New Zealand's Progress
To begin the innings, Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah handed the ball to left-arm spinner Nasum Ahmed, who seized the opportunity by dismissing Rachin Ravindra in the fifth ball of the first over. Nasum's superb spinning deliveries had posed a challenge for New Zealand in the middle. They sought to be aggressive against him in an attempt to disrupt his rhythm, but they ended up handing him their wickets. Nasum struck again in the third over of the innings, sending Finn Allen back to the pavilion.
New Zealand were under pressure in the middle after losing two wickets in three overs. However, a 35-run partnership between skipper Tom Latham (21) and Will Young gave New Zealand some hope of putting up a total of around 150.
When Mahadi Hasan broke the partnership in the 11th over, Mahmudullah recalled Nasum to put pressure on the New Zealand middle order. Nasum struck twice in the 12th over, bringing New Zealand to 52/5.
After doing his part with the ball, Nasum Ahmed ended his spell with 4-0-10-4, his best ever T20I spell.
Mustafiz's Cutter Magic in the Death Overs
Left-arm pacer Mustafizur Rahman has developed into a death-over specialist over the years. The batters find it difficult to negotiate with his lethal slower and cutter deliveries.
Mustafizur Rahman got fired up again in the fourth match, taking four important wickets for Bangladesh. Mustafizur Rahman rocked New Zealand's lower order with his off-cutter deliveries, picking up four wickets.
Mustafizur took the last two New Zealand wickets in back-to-back deliveries. So, he will complete his hat-trick if he picks up a wicket in the first delivery of the fifth match. Mustafizur finished his spell with 3.3-0-12-4.
Opener Mohammad Naim's Patient Batting
Since Tamim Iqbal will not be playing in the ICC T20 World Cup, someone else will have to step in to fill his shoes. Thankfully, opener Mohammad Naim has been consistent for Bangladesh in recent T20 matches. If he continues to improve as an opener, he has the potential to be a long-term member of the Bangladesh national team.
Mohammad Naim was instrumental in clinching the series in the fourth match when the team was pursuing a low total. He batted till the 15th over and had some solid partnerships with Shakib Al Hasan and Captain Mahmudullah Riyad. His 35-run partnership with Riyad, in particular, helped Bangladesh to easily chase down the target. Naim scored 29 runs in 35 balls before being run out in the 15th over. In the context of the game, that was a pretty significant knock.
Captain Mahmudullah's Match-Winning Innings
Mahmudullah Riyad did a good job as captain, bowling New Zealand out for under 100 runs. However, when chasing this low total, he needed to play a decisive knock with the bat. Mahmudullah stepped out to bat in the seventh over and guided Bangladesh to victory in the final over of the match.
Riyad formed two strong partnerships with Naim and Afif, ensuring that Bangladesh remained steadfast in their chase. The game-winning strike came from Mahmudullah's bat. He slog-swept McConchie for a four at deep midwicket to secure a historic series triumph against New Zealand.
When looking at the top performers from the fourth match of the BAN vs. NZ 2021 series, it's apparent that skipper Mahmudullah Riyad, left-arm bowler Mustafizur Rahman, spinner Nasum Ahmed, and opener Mohammad Naim all played key roles in Bangladesh's series-clinching win over New Zealand. However, there were some flaws in Bangladesh cricketers’ performances, notably in batting, that must be addressed in order to improve further. Bangladesh's players must put up solid performances in the final match on Friday (September 10) to end the series on a high note. On the other hand, the New Zealand team will be keen to end the series with a consolation win.