At the crack of dawn on Bangladesh’s 50th Independence Day, there is hope that the cricket team in New Zealand will deliver a performance that matches the grand occasion. Many fans back home will be hoping that when they wake up on Friday, Bangladesh will be going toe-to-toe with New Zealand in Wellington.
After New Zealand’s middle order led them to a series win in the second ODI in Christchurch, this game has got the status of a dead rubber. But in the age of the ODI Super League, every match counts and Bangladesh will be hoping to get the ten points out of New Zealand at any cost. The home side, however, will be boosted by the return of Ross Taylor, who passed a fitness test after missing the first two matches.
Taylor will be a welcome addition to the middle order. In Christchurch, New Zealand were reduced to 53 for 3 before Tom Latham and Devon Conway revived their flagging chase. The third-wicket pair added 113 runs, before Latham took it upon himself to complete the chase with his fifth ODI hundred – his third unbeaten effort in successful chases.
Latham later also acknowledged Jimmy Neesham and Daryl Mitchell for their help during the chase, as he added 76 for the fifth wicket with Neesham and the final 33 runs with newcomer Mitchell. Latham was lucky too, having been dropped on 58, minutes after Neesham was also dropped on three.
Bangladesh would go on to rue these missed chances, which overshadowed a much-improved batting performance earlier in the game. Tamim Iqbal and Mohammad Mithun made half-centuries at different points in the innings to help the side reach 271. Iqbal was patient in his 78 off 108 balls, as he saw off New Zealand’s initial burst of pace with a struggling Soumya Sarkar and Mushfiqur Rahim. But after Iqbal was run out through Neesham’s nifty footwork, Mithun blazed six fours and two sixes in his unbeaten 73.
The Bangladesh bowlers, however, couldn’t translate their first big score into victory. They were perhaps a bit too impatient towards the latter part of the New Zealand chase, particularly after Rahim dropped Neesham’s regulation edge. For a long time in the match however, offspinners Mahedi Hasan and Mehidy Hasan Miraz kept asking questions, which forced Latham and Conway to be more conservative.
Bangladesh have to put up another big score on a tricky pitch against a superb bowling attack, but Iqbal and the rest of the batsmen have shown that they have the ability to do the job in New Zealand.
(Last five completed matches)
New Zealand WWLWW
In the spotlight
Martin Guptill has looked threatening in the first two ODIs but has only scored 58 runs so far. At the Basin Reserve, he will be expected to fulfill expectations from this series and reprise his century against Pakistan in the last ODI played at this venue three years ago.
Mohammad Mithun broke free of a pattern of low-scores with a scintillating 73 off 57 balls in Christchurch. Mithun played some audacious shots too, which was a contrast from his usually conservative approach in the middle order. Perhaps he can make this new avatar his own.
Ross Taylor’s availability means Will Young is unlikely to play. New Zealand also have Tim Southee in their squad if they wish to rest Trent Boult.
New Zealand (probable): 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Henry Nicholls, 3 Devon Conway, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Tom Latham (capt & wk), 6 James Neesham, 7 Daryl Mitchell, 8 Mitchell Santner, 9 Kyle Jamieson, 10 Matt Henry, 11 Trent Boult/Tim Southee
Bangladesh are unlikely to break the combination that pushed the hosts in the second ODI, although Mustafizur Rahman‘s hamstring remains a question mark until the toss on Friday.
Bangladesh (probable): 1 Tamim Iqbal (capt), 2 Liton Das, 3 Soumya Sarkar, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk) 5 Mohammad Mithun, 6 Mahmudullah, 7 Mehidy Hasan Miraz 8 Mahedi Hasan, 9 Mohammad Saifuddin, 10 Taskin Ahmed, 11 Mustafizur Rahman
Pitch and conditions
The Basin Reserve dished out a green-top in the Test between New Zealand and West Indies last December. It is unlikely to be so extreme on Friday, with sides batting first averaging 280-plus in the last ten years.
Stats and trivia
- The Basin Reserve has hosted only three ODIs in the last ten years, and this is its first in more than three years.
- Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Mahedi Hasan made their first-class debuts for Khulna Division in the same match in 2015. Mahedi is three years older than the 23-year old Miraz, who is, however, the senior cricketer with 83 international matches compared to Mahedi’s six.
“We had a bit of luck to go our way in the last game, and I am sure Bangladesh will want to finish the ODI series on a high note.”
New Zealand’s most experienced batsman Ross Taylor remains wary of Bangladesh’s ability
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84