New Zealand 161 for 5 (Latham 50*, Allen 41, Shoriful 2-48) beat Bangladesh 134 for 8 (Afif 49*, Mahmudullah 21, Patel 2-21) by 27 runs
Dhaka: New Zealand won the final T20I against Bangladesh by a convincing 27 runs in Dhaka on Friday, even as the hosts took the series 3-2.
New Zealand set Bangladesh a chase of 162, thanks to captain Tom Latham’s half-century and Finn Allen’s explosive 41, and Bangladesh, who sent out a side with four changes with an eye on the fast-approaching ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021, fell short after collapses at the top and lower order.
New Zealand rung in the changes too – all of Scott Kuggeleijn, Ben Sears and Jacob Duffy were brought into the XI – and got off to a terrific start after deciding to bat.
Allen was belligerent, slamming a 24-ball 41, to form a 58-run opening partnership with Rachin Ravindra. It was exactly the sort of start New Zealand needed, given their troubles with the bat on this tour, and it set them up for a big total.
However, the duo was dismissed in quick succession, and that took some steam off the innings.
It was Shoriful Islam who did the damage in the sixth over, inducing a catch to mid-off from Ravindra (17) before clattering Allen’s stumps two balls later.
That slowed down the scoring rate drastically, even as the wickets fell more regularly.
Will Young (6) and Colin de Grandhomme (9) were both dismissed for single-digit scores, even as Latham sealed up one end.
The captain finally found some support in Henry Nicholls, with the duo adopting a conservative approach to arrest the slide of wickets in the middle overs.
Their 35-run stand came in as many deliveries, but it also gave them a platform to launch an assault in the death.
Nicholls fell in the 17th over, attempting to go after a wide yorker, but Cole McConchie hit the ground running. He scored a 10-ball 17*, and more importantly, aided Latham’s assault – the duo put on an unbroken 43 for the sixth wicket, with Latham ending up on a 37-ball 50*.
Bangladesh had a tricky target, and decided the best approach to the chase was caution.
Their openers, Mohammad Naim and Liton Das put on 26 runs within the first five overs, but before they could capitalise on that start, the New Zealand bowlers struck, with Ajaz Patel seeing off Das.
Naim (23) followed suit two overs later, the pacer Sears inducing an edge, and things got worse for the home side when they lost wickets in each of the subsequent two overs.
Soumya Sarkar fell to McConchie, Rahim fell to Ravindra, and Bangladesh were 46/4 in nine overs.
The revival came via Afif Hossain. His 63-run stand with Mahmud Ullah revived belief in the Bangladesh ranks, and with five overs left, they needed a tricky, but by no means unattainable, 56 further runs.
Unfortunately for the hosts, New Zealand triggered a slide.
Ullah picked out the fielder at cover off Kuggeleijn in the 16th over, and that led to a flurry of wickets – Nurul Hasan (4) was trapped in front by Patel, and Shamim Hossain (2) and Taskin Ahmed both had their stumps knockback by Duffy and Kuggeleijn.
Afif ended up unbeaten on a 33-ball 49*, with Bangladesh falling short by 27 runs. New Zealand’s second-string side ended a difficult tour on a much-deserved high.