21 September 2012 - 07:02pm IST
by Wisden India staff in Pallekele
Considering the run-up to the ICC World Twenty20 2012, Bangladesh and New Zealand would have been considered equals. But then, when someone like Brendon McCullum gets it right, which isn’t often enough to make New Zealand a top contender, no opposition looks good enough. Riding on McCullum’s 58-ball 123, New Zealand made short work of Bangladesh, winning its Group D contest at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium by 59 runs.
Batting first after being put in, New Zealand started slowly, with Martin Guptill and James Franklin taking the score to 19 before Abdur Razzak, the left-arm spinner, sent Guptill back leg before for 11.
Another day, Franklin might have pulled New Zealand back with his 36-ball 35, but on this occasion, he parked himself in the best seat in the house, as McCullum swatted away everything the Bangladesh bowlers threw at him. Till the 15th over, when Franklin was dismissed, McCullum had inspired New Zealand to 113.
There was no let up even after that, as Ross Taylor (14 not out) gave McCullum company till the end, mostly looking on as McCullum stepped it up even more, taking the team score all the way to 191 before being caught by Tamim Iqbal off Razzak. But by then, with 11 boundaries and seven hits over the fence, McCullum had pretty much batted Bangladesh out of the match with the first century of the tournament.
The onslaught, and the resultant weight of runs, meant Bangladesh was on the back foot from the start.
Big-hitter Tamim Iqbal fell for a three-ball duck in the first over itself, followed by Shakib Al Hasan (11) and Mushfiqur Rahim (4), the captain, as Bangladesh slipped to 33 for three within the fifth over.