Jimmy Neesham claimed a career-best haul while Matt Henry knocked over the top order with four wickets
New Zealand 318 for 6 (Conway 126, Mitchell 100*, Hossain 3-70) beat Bangladesh 154 (Mahmudullah 76*, Neesham 5-27, Henry 4-27) by 164 runs
It doesn’t get much more convincing. Devon Conway‘s seamless transition to international cricket continued with a maiden century on his home ground and Daryl Mitchell made a late surge to his first ODI hundred before Bangladesh’s batting did not offer much as they went down a series clean sweep in the third ODI in Wellington.
Briefly, when New Zealand were 57 for 3, the visitors had a foothold but they couldn’t sustain it as Conway led the recovery which was capped off by Mitchell. The pair added 159 in 24 overs for the fifth wicket, while New Zealand as a whole got 107 off the last ten.
In reply, Matt Henry knocked off the Bangladesh top order – with the aid of a spectacular catch at third man by Trent Boult – and the rest of the batting was insipid with the exception of Mahmudullah, as James Neesham filled his boots with a career-best haul by claiming the last two wickets in four balls.
For Conway, this was his fifth fifty-plus score in 12 international innings – including the 99 not out in a T20I against Australia – and he converted into a century from 95 balls with a lofted square cut for this 13th boundary. He got his chance in this series because Kane Williamson is missing, but surely there will be no dislodging him.
Mitchell’s century needed a last-ditch sprint off the final ball of the innings and he should have been run out but Mushfiqur Rahim fumbled the return. With eight balls remaining, he had been on 83 before a six off Rubel Hossain followed by three consecutive boundaries at the start of the last over brought the hundred in sight.
The early progress had been steady before Henry Nicholls was given a life when Rahim couldn’t hold an edge, but two balls later the left hander nicked to second slip where Liton Das held on to the relief of the often-luckless Taskin Ahmed. Next over, Martin Guptill gave away another start when he toe-ended a pull to mid-on, while Ross Taylor’s return after injury was a brief stay when he edged a cut off Hossain after being dropped on 3.
Conway and Tom Latham rebuilt steadily with the innings given impetus in the 19th over when Conway took three consecutive boundaries off Mustafizur Rahman: a controlled guide to third man, a genuine nick and then a perfect on-drive.
In conditions offering some assistance for the seamers, Tamim Iqbal turned to the medium pace of Soumya Sarkar and he struck first ball with Latham superbly caught at point by Mehidy Hasan. Sarkar would do a good job for his captain with eight overs for 37. Bangladesh managed to hold the innings for a period after that as Mitchell played himself in and briefly dominated the strike, but the ball after Conway went to fifty from 52 balls, Mitchell launched Mehidy over midwicket for six.
Conway did not hit a boundary between the 23rd and 37th overs, but the partnership got built at a good tempo. Having come up fractionally short of a century earlier in the season, he sent Ahmed through point and then cut loose in the closing stages of the innings with four more boundaries in 12 balls before picking out deep-midwicket.
Mitchell, who had been promoted above Neesham when New Zealand were four down with more than half the innings remaining, could have been run out on 24 but the fielder from cover couldn’t pick up cleanly and he was also dropped on 63. That would prove costly for Bangladesh who had just about managed to keep a lid on the late overs until Mitchell’s final dip.
A big full toss went over deep-square leg before he took advantage of Rahman missing his length – and bowling a no-ball – while Mitchell Santner helped with some desperate scampering. Mitchell lost the strike with two balls remaining, but Santner was able to take three to deep-cover to give him the final delivery. It should have just been a single, but Mitchell was able to walk off with the ovation for a century.
Iqbal, one of Bangladesh’s best hopes of making a dent on the chase, departed in the second over when he nicked a gem of a delivery from Henry. In Henry’s next over, Sarkar top-edged to fine leg and there was already a sense the innings would not be much of a contest.
A moment for the highlights reel arrived in the seventh over when Das, aiming to the leg side, sent a top edge flying to third man where Boult sprinted to his left, dived and held the catch one-handed while having avoided losing his grip.
The excitement levels dipped after that as Bangladesh opted for a largely defensive approach against some testing bowling, having a particular challenge against the bounce of Kyle Jamieson whose first six-over spell cost just 12. Neesham was a beneficiary of the pressure created with a bag of middle-order wickets as various attempts at some counterattacking didn’t come off.
Madmudullah, who has previously enjoyed success in New Zealand, fought to a 64-ball half-century and brought some belated aggression to a lost cause but it was merely a footnote.
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo
PCB appoints Dr Najeebullah Soomro to head revamped sports medicine department
A PhD from the University of Sydney, he is an expert injury epidemiologist and sports scientist
The PCB has appointed Dr Najeebullah Soomro, a Perth-based doctor, to head its revamped sports medicine department. He will take over as the chief medical officer, and is expected to relocate to Lahore in October, and be based at the city’s National High-Performance Centre.
Dr Soomro is presently working as a part-time doctor with South Fremantle Football Club, a second-tier Australian Rules Football club that competes in the Western Australia Football League. An MBBS from Karachi’s Dow University of Health and Sciences, he completed a PhD from the University of Sydney with a doctoral thesis on prevention of cricket injuries.
It is this expertise on cricket injuries that the PCB will hope to utilise. Over the last decade a number of players, and fast bowlers especially, have picked up injuries and either struggled to return after rehabilitation, or to maintain pre-injury standards. That led to a significant lack of trust between players and the department, leading to a number of them seeking medical advice, services and rehabilitation abroad.
According to the PCB, Dr Soomro has collaborated with Cricket Australia to create the world’s first cricket injury prevention programme and injury surveillance mobile app for community cricket. Dr Soomro has also trained as an injury epidemiologist and sports scientist, though this will be his first position in such a high-profile role.
It’s not Dr Soomro’s first stint with Pakistan cricket, though. He had earlier worked with the PCB as a member of its sports medicine committee between May 2019 and September 2020.
The appointment is part of an upgrade of the PCB’s medical department, now integrated with the high-performance centre. The domestic cricket department, which functioned separately with the national cricket academies, has also merged with the high-performance centre, which is responsible for player development for top-drawer cricket.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo’s Pakistan correspondent
BBL 2021 – Joe Burns signs with Melbourne Stars after nine seasons with Brisbane Heat
The experienced batter, who has 1192 runs in 59 BBL matches, has signed with Stars until the end of the 2023-24 season
“It was obviously a difficult decision leaving the Heat after being there for so long, however, I am ready for a new challenge at the Stars,” Burns said.
“The Melbourne Stars have been a very strong team over the years and I’m excited to join the team and I can’t wait to get stuck into training with my new teammates.”
The Stars, meanwhile, had a disappointing 2020-21 season, finishing seventh with just five wins from their 14 games following their runners-up finish in the previous two years. Burns’ inclusion will further shore up the batting line-up which also has experienced stars like Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis.
“We are building a strong group with a lot of star power so, hopefully, we can play in front of our home fans and make it a special summer.”
The 11th season of the men’s BBL is scheduled to begin on December 5, with Stars taking on Sydney Sixers at SCG.
Melbourne Stars updated squad: Joe Burns, Hilton Cartwright, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Seb Gotch, Liam Hatcher, Clint Hinchliffe, Nick Larkin, Glenn Maxwell (c), Tom O’Connell, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa
Youngsters ‘far better off’ playing the Hundred ahead of Blast quarter-finals
He insisted that the competition was ‘really important’ for the young players who have been called up as replacements from the Royal London Cup
As a result, their Royal London Cup campaign has started poorly, with three defeats and a no-result, but Billings said that players’ involvement in the competition would serve the club well ahead of their Blast quarter-final against Birmingham Bears later this month and in the longer term.
“What a great opportunity for him,” Billings said. “This is what the Hundred is about. Look, I know that in terms of the 50-over comp, the performances for Kent haven’t quite been there at the moment and of course as a club it’s disappointing.
“But the positive is we’ve got nine or ten guys in this Hundred at the moment and this is international cricket. You’ve got a full Oval crowd there and he’s come in for his first game after playing for Kent yesterday. It’s a completely different atmosphere, completely different level, against an international line-up.
“What a great experience for a young bloke, getting a wicket with his first ball and riding the emotions of that game. That is what’s going to produce international cricketers. For us as a club – and as Kent fans in general – that’s what we want to do: produce England cricketers and franchise cricketers.
“These young guys, nine or ten of them, for a ‘small county’, that’s really shown the work we’ve done as a club. It’s great for Matt Milnes and other guys like that and going into our T20 quarter-finals as a Kent group, it’s really important that these guys have this experience because they are going to be far better off for it.”
The Invincibles won their second game of the men’s Hundred on Monday night, chasing 122 with seven balls to spare against the Fire, and Billings said that it had been a relief to get back to winning ways on the back of a washout against London Spirit and defeat against Northern Superchargers.
“It was hard to get into a rhythm so it was nice to get the win on our home ground,” he said. “We weren’t far away at Headingley and considering how badly we played, we did exceptionally well to take that game that deep.
“I still think we can play better and that’s the exciting thing for our group. The fielding certainly hasn’t been up to the standards we’ve set and that’s me included, setting the tone with the gloves. That’s the positive thing: I still think there are areas we can make really good strides in, and if we put it together, we know what a quality outfit we are. We don’t fear anyone and can put anyone under pressure on our day.”
“If you lose big names it’s obviously going to hurt you but we believe we’ve got the squad to come in and cover for that,” he said. “We’ve had guys stepping up, like Milnesy tonight taking a wicket with his first ball to get J-Roy. We were 20 or 30 short of par so obviously nowhere near good enough, but it’s the first time we’ve struggled with the bat and it’s going to happen in this comp at some stage.
On his own form, Duckett said: “It’s probably the best I’ve hit the ball – ever, I’d say – but I was probably 10-15 short myself tonight. I really struggled to get going and we kept losing wickets. I’m feeling good but I don’t like scoring runs when you don’t win the game so I’m a bit disappointed.”
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98
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