New Zealand’s target is only 137 runs, this is the cause of concern for Bangladesh. If not, the way Bangladesh is making ‘ish-aha’ regrets from the beginning of New Zealand’s innings, taking wickets in the gap, if the target was a little higher, Bangladesh could have been much more confident about the victory.
However, with this target of 137 runs, Bangladesh is fighting hard on the pitch of ‘trusted soldier’ Mirpur. Meanwhile, half of New Zealand’s innings is over. More importantly, Kane Williamson is out. New Zealand’s run is 61 for 5 in 25 overs at the time of writing this report. New Zealand need 76 more runs. Another bit of regret for Bangladesh, in the 23rd over, Glenn Phillips’ catch fell from Shanta’s hand at slip. Right now, Phillips (3*) and Mitchell (13*) are the cause of Bangladesh’s woes.
It is safe to say that New Zealand have caught the style of playing on the Mirpur pitch. The fact that a batsman who has lasted for a long time on this pitch cannot actually be called ‘set’ is becoming clear every day. It is uncertain when a ball will suddenly bounce too much or come low enough to send the batsman into the pavilion. Defensive play can be attempted on the back foot, but in that case it is difficult for the batsman to adjust by changing the bat speed when the ball skids and suddenly goes high or low. To play here, it is better to be aggressive as long as you can stay at the crease. That’s what Kane Williamson is trying to do.
But Mehdi Hasan Miraj, Taijul Islam are also not sitting on their familiar pitch. Sometimes by changing the length, sometimes by turning the ball, sometimes by not turning the New Zealand batsmen. That’s why every now and then the stump mic sounds like ‘ahh’, ‘whoah’, ‘ish’, ‘for a bit’.
Bangladesh has also cheered three times. Before going to lunch, New Zealand completed 3 overs safely, scoring 4 runs without a wicket. But after the midday break, the shock came. On the second ball of the fifth over, Conway couldn’t get the bat down quickly on Shariful’s low delivery and went back for LBW. Conway dismissed for 2 runs, New Zealand’s opening pair broke for 5 runs.
Then it was the turn of Bangladesh’s biggest test. Williamson came to the crease on a pitch that New Zealand relied on the most, and whose wicket was most sought after by Bangladesh. The New Zealand captain showed the mood of aggression with two quick fours, Tom Latham also hit one at the other end. Without doubting how the ball behaves after hitting the pitch, Williamson tried to confuse the Bangladesh bowlers with quick footwork at the crease. But he got out while playing ahead in the tenth over.
Taijul’s ball came down the wicket and Williamson wanted to defend forward, but Taijul’s delivery fell a little ahead. The ball fell and went behind the wicket, Williamson trying to get back to the crease was to no avail. Williamson (11) stumped for the second time in Test career, New Zealand then 2/24.
On the fifth ball of the 14th over, Bangladesh couldn’t get Tom Latham back with a review for an lbw appeal, two balls later – the first ball of the 15th over – New Zealand’s Henry Nicholls couldn’t survive a review. What do you think of the review, that is also a question! Mirage’s delivery fell outside the off stump and went right to the middle stump, Nicholls went to defend the forward but couldn’t bat. Umpire gives LBW, Nicholls takes review. Bangladesh cheers after the review. Nicholls returned for 3 runs, New Zealand lost the third wicket for 33 runs.
Darryl Mitchell, who dropped to five, then tried to form a pair with Latham, who got down in the opening. The duo also hit two fours in the 16th and 17th overs, with Taijulke Latham’s four in the 16th over bringing New Zealand’s target below 100. But the pair was not more than 38 balls and 15 runs. Latham’s 60-ball 26-run innings ended when Shantar was caught at slip by Mirage in the 21st over.
New Zealand’s fourth wicket fell for 48 runs. There was a great chance of 48/5, but Mirage’s last ball of that over did not get out despite a LBW appeal against Blundell. The review showed that the ball hit the stump, but when the ball hit the pad, that is, the impact was nanometers outside the off-stump. Latham survived the umpire’s call. But could not survive for long. Blundell (2) was forced to return with a catch behind the wicket due to Taijul’s great turn in the next over, New Zealand’s half of the innings ended on 51 runs.
Glenn Phillips, who suffered Bangladesh in the first innings, could have fallen for another wicket, if a catch from the hands of Bangladesh captain Shanta had not gone wrong. In the 23rd over, Mirage’s third delivery hit the edge of Phillips’ bat, but the ball was not palmed by Shantar as the timing was not right even in Jhampal. The Bangladesh captain expressed his disappointment on the field. If that wicket fell, only Mitchell would have been a major obstacle to Bangladesh’s chances of victory. Now Bangladesh has to think about returning both Mitchell and Phillips.