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New Zealand whitewash Bangladesh to wrap ODI World Cup preparation

NEW DELHI: New Zealand geared up for the World Cup with an impressive 2-0 series victory over Bangladesh, culminating in a convincing seven-wicket win in the final one-day international (ODI) in Dhaka on Tuesday.
In this decisive match, Will Young and Adam Milne played pivotal roles, contributing with the bat and ball respectively. Young’s composed innings of 70 off 80 balls led New Zealand to a total of 175-3. Meanwhile, Milne’s exceptional bowling figures of 4-34 limited the home team to a modest 171 runs in just 34.3 overs at Dhaka’s Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.
Najmul Hossain Shanto, standing in as captain for Bangladesh, was the top scorer with 76 runs. However, he received insufficient support from his teammates, resulting in a subpar total after choosing to bat first.
New Zealand chased down the target with relative ease, even after losing Finn Allen (28) and Dean Foxcroft (0) to consecutive deliveries from Shoriful Islam. Will Young partnered effectively with the in-form Henry Nicholls, amassing an 81-run partnership for the third wicket.
Nicholls, who had contributed 44 and 49 runs in the previous two matches, completed his fifty this time with a single off Mahmudullah Riyad. Tom Blundell (23 not out) sealed the victory with a boundary, leaving New Zealand with a comfortable 91 balls to spare.
Earlier in the game, Cole McConchie and Trent Boult provided valuable support to Milne, who was making his first appearance in the series. McConchie claimed 2-18, while Boult secured 2-33, denying Bangladesh the momentum they needed to make a competitive challenge.
This series win marked a significant turnaround for New Zealand, who had previously suffered heavy losses in Bangladesh in 2010 and 2013, losing 4-0 and 3-0 respectively. In contrast, they clinched the second match of this series by an impressive 86-run margin, with the first match being washed out due to rain.
“The World Cup is just around the corner — to come up with the first win since 2008 is great,” said Young, the man of the match, in a briefing afterwards.
“This group plays a lot together, we gel well and it’s a lot of fun,” he added.
Young said that while he could not predict what conditions the Kiwis would face in India when the World Cup opens on October 5, he hoped “it’s similar to these”.
Bangladesh initially rested key players but, with the series at stake, they brought back stalwarts Najmul, Mushfiqur Rahim and Shoriful Islam. However, it did little to improve their performance.
Najmul, leading Bangladesh for the first time, held down one end to score his fifth ODI fifty but wickets kept falling regularly from the other end.
“Our batsmen didn’t score big runs,” Najmul said. “Hopefully, next time the batters take responsibility and bat long.”
Milne and Boult struck early to reduce Bangladesh to 35-3, before Najmul and Mushfiqur offered a brief resistance with a 53-run fourth wicket stand.
Mushfiqur’s dismissal to Lockie Ferguson for 18 put New Zealand back on top and the visitors did not lose the momentum again.
McConchie ended any real chance of Bangladesh lodging a fighting score by dismissing Najmul with his second ball of the day, with the left-hander hitting 10 fours in his 84-ball innings.
(With AFP inputs)

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