Mirpur: Rubel Hossain’s six-wicket haul, including a hat-trick, turned the first ODI on its head, helping Bangladesh win by 43 runs by the Duckworth-Lewis method. The visitors were starting to get away with the game despite a steep target after the 105-minute rain break, needing 124 off the remaining 13 overs, but Rubel’s spell marked the turning point.
The last time Rubel faced New Zealand in Mirpur, he took four wickets including the last one of Kyle Mills that sealed the 4-0 series win. This time, he took the wickets of Corey Anderson, Brendon McCullum and James Neesham in consecutive balls in his third over, and later added two more to become only the second Bangladeshi, after Mashrafe Mortaza, to take six wickets in an ODI.
New Zealand’s target was revised from the original 266 to 206 in 33 overs after heavy rain forced a long interruption 20 overs into the chase. New Zealand were behind on D/L at that stage and had there been no further play, Bangladesh would have won. Play resumed, but the visitors failed to grab their second chance. New Zealand’s chase lost momentum from the promising position after rain, when they needed 86 off 60 balls before Rubel started his third over. They smashed 38 runs off the three overs immediately after the rain break, having been set a stiff total to chase.
The game changed in the 24th over. Anderson had smashed four sixes and three fours till that point and hence posed a threat to Bangladesh’s chances. But he tried one too many slogs, and was bowled by Rubel off the third ball of the over.
McCullum got a ball that took off on him as he advanced on the front foot, taking a leading edge that was taken easily at point by the substitute Shamsur Rahman. Rubel had taken a hat-trick in a domestic one-day competition only last month but oddly, it escaped his attention. This time, he had the 25,000-plus crowd to remind him. He bowled a short one down the leg side and Neesham tried to flick it away. Mushfiqur Rahim took an excellent catch diving to his right, and once the umpire Enamul Haque was convinced, Rubel wildly celebrated with his team-mates, among whom was Sohag Gazi who took a Test hat-trick earlier this month in Chittagong. Rubel became the third Bangladeshi to take a ODI hat-trick, after Shahadat Hossain (2006) and Abdur Razzak (2010), both against Zimbabwe.
He added the wicket of Nathan McCullum in his fifth over to claim his maiden five-wicket haul. He claimed his sixth when Mortaza took a superb running catch in the 30th overs and the game ended at that point, because Kane Williamson, who had injured his hand while fielding, did not come out to bat.
New Zealand made a poor start to their 266-run chase. Hamish Rutherford tried to hit Gazi down the ground, but missed and was bowled in the fourth over. Grant Elliott was promoted in place of the injured Williamson, but he didn’t force matters. In the 11th over, debutant Anton Devcich missed a heave across the line to Mahmudullah, to be clean bowled like Rutherford.
Ross Taylor started off luckily, under-edging one past the wicketkeeper’s left-hand and one past the first slip in the same over off Mortaza. He became Rubel’s first victim when he tried to cut close to his body but ended up edging to Mushfiqur. The other side of the rain break belonged to Bangladesh.
Earlier, Mushfiqur and Naeem Islam took hold of a situation that had all the makings of a typical Bangladesh collapse, when they were struggling at 25 for 3. Naeem’s dour start, alongside Mushfiqur’s flair, guided the home side out of trouble, as they added 154. Mushfiqur brought out a range of shots, from his favoured slog-sweep to the spinners to the more conventional cuts and drives. He played the upper-cut on a few occasions and also pushed the singles, especially when Naeem got stuck early in his innings.
Naeem took 17 balls to get off the mark, but slowly started finding the gaps. Naeem got to 50 off 75 balls, while Mushfiqur reached his half-century off 53 balls. Mushfiqur continued to be aggressive towards the latter part of his innings, but fell in the second over of the batting Powerplay, edging Neesham’s off-cutter to the wicketkeeper for 90 off 97 balls. Naeem too fell to the same bowler for 84 off 115 balls, trying to hoick a slower one but edging it to the wicketkeeper.
Before that, Naeem added 51 for the sixth wicket with Mahmudullah, which was crucial because Bangladesh’s usual finisher, Nasir Hossain, was out in the same over as Mushfiqur, the 37th. The New Zealand bowlers held things back in the last ten overs, conceding just 62 runs. They took four wickets in the last five overs after Naeem fell in the 45th over, with Neesham ending with four wickets. In the end, rain and Rubel came in their way.
Bangladesh 265 (Mushfiqur 90, Naeem 84, Neesham 4-42, Southee 3-34) beat New Zealand 162 (Elliott 71, Anderson 46, Rubel 6-26) by 43 runs (D/L method)