Bangladesh lose match, series, Mirpur mojo

When New Zealand batter Will Young got out, even the most enthusiastic crowd of the Sher-e-Bangla was subdued. The crowd, the strongest component of the country’s cricket, was most vibrant throughout the day despite heat, humidity and humiliation. But even they could not keep their spirits going.

Bangladesh’s awful form in their favourite format continues as they lost the final match of the three-match ODI series and lost the series by 2-0 at the SBNS.

And not only it was a huge demoralisation before the World Cup, it was a sheer shock as Bangladesh for the first time failed to win an ODI at SBNS throughout a year since 2007 (there was no ODI here in 2019 and 2020).

The fortress of Bangladesh cricket is shattered in such a time when the team is struggling with internal rife, external issues amid a period of transformation.

On such a day, the result of a match takes backstage and becomes almost irrelevant. And no wonder a second-string New Zealand clinched an easy seven-wicket victory with 93 balls to spare.

Young was the top scorer with 70 and when he got out New Zealand was on 130-3, only 42 runs away from win. Henry Nicholls remained not out on 50 and Tom Blundell on 23 to make sure the visitors won a series here after 10 years.

The only bright spot of the innings for Bangladesh was the bowling of Shoriful Islam. The left-arm pacer bowled a fiery spell and almost got a hattrick as he dismissed Finn Allen and Dean Foxcroft in consecutive deliveries in the 10th over. However, the score was too low to defend.

Shorfiul returned with figures of 2-32. Nasum got the other wicket.

Earlier in the day, Bangladesh had a poor show in batting and only their stand-in captain Najmul Hossain showed some resistance. Najmul, who won the toss, set a new record by scoring maximum run as a Bangladeshi captain in debut. His 76 now surpassed 70 of Aminul Islam against India in 1998. Apart from these two, Habibul Bashar and Shakib Al Hasan scored 50s in their debut as captain for Bangladesh.

Najmul scored his runs in a smooth manner as he struck 10 boundaries in his 84-ball knock. He, however, did not get support from the other end and Bangladesh could form only one half-century stand when Najmul added 53 with Mushfiqur Rahim (18). Mahmudullah made 21.

Pacer Adam Milne was the chief destroyer, picking up four wickets conceding 34 runs in 6.3 overs.

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