NZ bully Bangladesh on flat track to win
New Zealand meandered to one of their most predictable one-day cricket series victories at McLean Park today as Bangladesh made no attempt to challenge a daunting target.
Overhauling an imposing 335 for five never truly interested Bangladesh, who instead opted for batting practice after captain Mohammad Ashraful was dismissed for three in controversial circumstances in the 15th over.
From then on the remaining Bangladeshis batted for time in light drizzle - aware not even the hovering dark clouds could save them.
New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori shared the crowd's restlessness as the match drifted aimlessly.
"I think there was probably a little bit of frustration about the style of play that was going on," he said.
"We thought Bangladesh would chase a little bit harder. When you're chasing 330 you have to take a few risks, if you don't you stall and that's what happened."
However, Vettori was still satisfied with his first series win in charge, although he emphasised a 3-0 whitewash was imperative.
"We have to, we're expected to win the series 3-0 and we have to.
"If we go down there (Queenstown) and get tripped up the series is almost a disappointment for us."
The gloomy mood of a frustrated crowd was first lifted by a streaker who entered proceedings in the 21st over and then, finally, when light rain prompted the crowd to desert in droves at the end of the 43rd with the tourists on 181 for six before a 102-run victory under the Duckworth/Lewis system was confirmed.
When the players headed for cover the original asking rate of 6.72 had skyrocketed to a 22.14, a ridiculous scenario as the tourists' reverted to damage control mode.
Aftab Ahmed made 54, the value of which might only be known when the test series starts in Dunedin next Friday, while teenage opener Tamin Iqbal's impressive tour continued with a fighting 43.
Pace bowler Kyle Mills at least took something tangible from a frustrating game with figures of four for 40 from 10 overs.
But it was a worrying day for Mark Gillespie; he suffered a shoulder injury midway through a solitary over that leaked 16 runs, and took no further part in the match.
Michael Mason has been called in as cover for the final match in Queenstown on Monday.
Mills apart, it was a day for the batsmen.
From the time captain Daniel Vettori won the toss it was apparent his batsmen were going to be the sole beneficiaries.
While New Zealand's bowlers earned the plaudits for their team's six-wicket win in the first match in Auckland, today the batsmen feathered their averages against an attack demoralised by inept officiating.
Each New Zealand batsman took advantage to varying degrees although none were able to push on the three figures and become the first one-day centurion since Scott Styris against Sri Lanka at the World Cup 11 games ago.
Still, that poor conversion rate was hardly a factor as Peter Fulton and Jamie How spearheaded a runfest finished off by Jacob Oram's whirlwind 55 off 31 balls at the death.
How and Brendon McCullum, who made 35, ensured the conservation of early wickets although not without some good fortune.
Australian umpire Peter Parker missed two obvious snicks but arguably neither influenced the outcome.
How was the first beneficiary on 12 and stood his ground before going on to score a perfectly paced 74 off 77 balls.
Another half-century, after his 88 in Auckland, aided his cause for a recall to the test squad, due to be named on Monday.
Man-of-the-match Peter Fulton followed with an assured 83 off 93 balls as his recovery from knee surgery continues smoothly.
He also had a ton in sight when he was gloved by Mushfiq Rahim, scant consolation for the wicketkeeper after confident appeals against How and later Scott Styris were rejected.
Styris didn't profit from his reprieve by umpire Tony Hill, chipping out 10 runs later for 41 but the damage was already irreparable - and about to get worse as Oram and Ross Taylor, with 34 not out, took charge.
They put on 89 off 49 before Oram was caught off the last ball while seeking a sixth six.
There were no similar onslaught from Bangladesh and when Ashraful, unconvinced Taylor had taken a sharp chance at cover, trooped off it was a matter of when, not if, New Zealand would go 2-0 up.
The only bright spot for the tourists was Aftab's letoff on 24 when Parker missed another thick edge, a measure of justice perhaps as Styris was the unlucky bowler.