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New Zealand edge Bangladesh in T20 warm-up

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bang_nz_wu.jpgA rally by the bowlers ensured a last ball finish but the Tigers are still smarting from the fact that they let slip an opportunity to beat New Zealand in the first of the additional practice matches at Wormsley Cricket Ground on Tuesday.

"It was a good outing in the park for us against some quality players but I think we let ourselves down in the last five overs when only 33 runs came. We had wickets in hand and still about 15-20 runs short," said captain Mohammad Ashraful after the four wicket loss.

Bangladesh, opting to bat, were nicely placed at 87 for 3 after 11 overs but then the runs dried out, especially after the departure of Shakib Al Hasan who made 35 off 27 with some spanking pulls and drives. Ashraful ( 13) himself flicked a six and square cut for a four off the bowling of paceman Ian Butler but was out in the same over when a ball jagged back from outside off to hit his stumps.

"We had a plan going and Tamim started brilliantly. We just couldn't maintain the momentum after we were 40/1 in 5 overs. It is not easy to defend 146 but the bowlers brought us back into the game. I am happy with the spirit we showed out there and the way we fought till the last ball. We have to improve in all areas and that's what practice matches are for. From that perspective this was a good start and now we'll be able to better assess where we are," added Ashraful.

Tamim had helped himself to a 13-ball 19 with four boundaries which included a drive through the covers and a straight drive that never left the grass. That showed the intent which Ashraful, Shakib and Mahmud Ullah had continued to display before they got out. Mahmud Ullah (43 off 41; 4x4) came in at five and worked the ball beautifully and hit boundaries when the opportunity came. Just when he started to open up Shakib fell at long on when Nathan McCullum dived forward and took a stunning catch off a flat hit. The same fielder had dropped an easier catch of Shakib off the previous ball.

The conditions, for the game were typically English, it had drizzled the night before and there was quite a strong chilly breeze blowing across the lush valleys of the Wormsley Estate. The sun did come out after the match got underway but the wind remained. Still the Bangladesh players appeared undeterred by the weather.

"We are adjusting well I think. We had two tough lengthy training sessions and the pitch and the conditions are becoming familiar. That's the whole idea behind arriving early in England. It was disappointing to lose because I thought we had a really good chance but we are more confident after this game," said Shakib who had struggled with a pelvic injury during the last couple of months.

"I am getting better. I was a bit jittery while facing the first few balls but then it became easier. The bowling also came good after the first over," said Shakib.

New Zealand had been given a flying start by opener Martin Guptil who made 61 off 41 balls. Guptil peppered the onside and hit three sixes. The Black Caps had raced to 59 without loss before Ashraful gambled by bowling the ninth over and had Neil Broom lbw off his fifth delivery. The spinners then tied the score down. Shakib was outstanding and had figures of 4-0-15-1 after going for 7 in his first over. He also removed Guptil when the right-hander was beaten by the flight and turn having stepped out and was bowled. Two run outs also put pressure on the New Zealanders. Both were outstanding work from Naeem Islam. First was a direct hit at the non-striker's end from point to send back number three Scott Styris and then a fast return from the deep to the ‘keeper to leave Daniel Vettori short while attempting a two.

Naeem however, was guilty of bowling a wide off his first ball that went for four when he came to bowl in the 17th over. New Zealand got 11 from it.

"That was crucial because they were not finding things easy. Still I believe we could have bowled better. We did not hit the right length often enough and there were some fumbles in the field. We had the game till the final over from (Syed) Rasel and the top-edged six McCullum hit would have been a catch any other day but the wind took it over long off," said vice captain Mortaza.

New Zealand required 12 from the last six balls and singles came off the first three before McCullum's six off the fourth. Two were needed from the last delivery and McCullum (15 not out) scampered for the runs after playing the ball to the left of Mortaza at long off.


Mini Scorecard:

Bangladesh 146/6 (20 overs)

Mahmud Ulah 43           Butler 2-32

New Zealand 147/6 (20 overs)

Guptil 61                       Shakib 1-15