Ashraful a real handful

Last updated 00:00 01/01/2009
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HOW'S THAT ONE? Black Caps opening batsman Jamie How was in fine form against Bangladesh at Eden Park, scoring 88.

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No prizes for guessing who New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori has identified as Bangladesh's main threat this summer.

Visiting skipper Mohammad Ashraful provided the individual highlight of yesterday's first one-day international, with a blistering knock of 70 from 57 balls.

He caught more than a few eyes around Eden Park, including those of Vettori, who admitted he was beginning to wonder how to stop the talented 23-year-old.

"I think we were pretty pleased with everything apart from the way we bowled to Ashraful, and in some ways that was the way he played," Vettori said after the comprehensive six-wicket win.

"I thought he was pretty outstanding. It sort of reminded us a little of some of the world-class players going around in world cricket at the moment - his ability to hit good balls for fours or sixes consistently.

"He's obviously got an amazing eye, and he's going to be a threat to us all series."

But Ashraful will need much more support from his teammates, with New Zealand running through the rest of the order far too easily in good batting conditions.

Vettori was most pleased with the way his bowlers fought back to snare the final eight Bangladesh wickets for 65 runs, especially as he said they had been a little remiss recently in not finishing off teams.

However, he wasn't entirely satisfied.

"There was some good stuff out there today and some things that weren't so good.

"We've got to be tough on ourselves because we know that we have to put in good performances here so they lead into the England series."

Bangladesh coach Jamie Siddons said his side had looked to get 280 when it should have been more concerned with ensuring a total of at least 250.

Several players, including Ashraful, threw their wickets away.

"We broke a few team rules, so we'll talk about that and hopefully make sure it doesn't happen again.

"If we get those sorts of starts, you can't afford to fall away that quickly and that badly," Siddons said. "We've got to make sure we get 250 and bat our 50 overs."

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