Skipper Kane Williamson backed New Zealand to keep getting better at cricket’s World Twenty20 Saturday after they bowled Bangladesh out for a record low to maintain their perfect record at the tournament.
Allrounder Grant Elliott took three wickets for 12 runs in his four overs while Ish Sodhi chipped in with three for 21 as Bangladesh were bundled out for just 70, condemning them to a 75-run defeat.
The Black Caps, who had already qualified for the tournament’s semi-finals, had earlier made 145 for eight at Eden Gardens with Mustafizur Rahman taking five for 22.
Williamson top-scored with 42, an innings whose value was underlined when the New Zealand bowlers wreaked havoc.
Asked if New Zealand could now go on and win the tournament, Williamson played it cool but said his team were tuning up nicely.
“I think every team coming into this tournament certainly had that goal and .. we’re no different,” he said.
“We certainly know that every game’s tough and the fickle nature of T20 cricket — sometimes it’s hard to work out. But we’re going to look to keep improving as a team and see how far we can get.”
What had appeared to be a modest New Zealand total soon proved to be too much for the Tigers who lost their leading batsman Tamim Iqbal in the second over, run out for just three.
Bangladesh were all at sea against New Zealand’s quartet of slow bowlers and their top score came from tailender Shuvagata Hom who made 16. Only two others reached double figures.
– Floodlight failure -After 11 overs they had made 45 for six and then had to sweat it out in the dressing-room after a floodlight failure brought a halt to procedings for more than 10 minutes.
After the resumption, they continued to find the Black Caps’ bowlers pretty much unplayable and their innings only featured one six, a late blow from Rahman.
The total was the lowest for Bangladesh in any T20 international, with the record previously standing at 78.
It heaps more misery on a Bangladeshi team who failed to win any of their games at the tournament and suffered an agonising one-run defeat against India on Wednesday.
“Obviously it was very tough but I think there are a lot of positive things we can take from it,” said Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza. “A few players’ form was very good.”
The result means that New Zealand go into the last four in good heart, after earlier victories against India, Australia and Pakistan.
Williamson, their star batsman is now beginning to find form after scoring a brisk 42 off 32 balls at the top of the order.
His was the second New Zealand wicket to fall to Rahman, who finished with figures of five for 22.
The opener Henry Nicholls, who was brought in to give Martin Guptill a rest, was the first to go, bowled by Rahman off a slower cutter with the score on 25.
A number of the Black Caps’ top order promised to post a big score but were out just as they had finished building their platforms.
Colin Munro had been warming up for his first substantial knock of the tournament. But three balls after lofting Al-Amin Hossain into the stands, he had his middle stump removed by the same bowler.
The veteran Ross Taylor also contributed 28 off 24 balls before being caught by Mohammad Mithun off Hossain.
No other batsman got into double figures and Rahman bowled both Mitchell Santner and McCullum in his final over although his last ball was hammered for six by Mitchell McClenaghan.
The victory ensures New Zealand top their pool and they are now likely to play one of England, Sri Lanka or South Africa in the first semi-final in New Delhi on March 30.
The second semi-final is in Mumbai on March 31 while the final is at Eden Gardens on April 3.