CricInfo at World Cup 1999
[The ICC Cricket World Cup - England 1999]

Bangladesh v New Zealand - Kiwis looking for points
Trevor Chesterfield - 17 April 1999

It was Steve Rixon, New Zealand's mentor these last few years, who believes the Kiwis have what it takes to make the World Cup Super Six.

After that, well, your guess is as good as the former Australian rebel who was a fancy wicketkeeper in his day and since taking over as Kiwi coach with the venerable and esteemed Stephen Fleming as skipper, the shaky isles have been blessed with a competent duo for this year's World Cup.

They make their Group B debut a Chelmsford against a Bangladesh side which gave a fair performance in the first two warm up matches. Then they ran into Northants and their hopes were swept aside. On the bookies slate Bangladesh rate 500/1 no hopers. Which is an unfortunate slur.

Their best chance to grab any points is against Scotland on May 24, and by that stage the Kiwis may be looking for than other win to earn them that Super Six slot. It is a tough call, and even Rixon and Fleming admit as much.

As it is New Zealand (the thought of calling them black caps seems like the end of a very bad joke - what's the point?) at 20/1 odds may have changed to something more in keeping with Kiwi hopes of some form of World Cup glory.

Not that the term carnival can be misplaced in their vocabulary. They have a player or two who are as good as any in most sides: Nathan Astle, Craig McMillan and Adam Parore are supported by veterans Chris Harris, competing in his third World Cup, as is golden boy Chris Cairns, now into his 10th year at international level.

In fact New Zealand are well served by their stars. The ever-aggressive McMillan has already played more than 40 slogs while Daniel Vettori, two years his junior, has logged 38 LOIs. The thought the Kiwis may spring a surprise with Vettori in the "slog 'em" role at three in some matches in this tournament could be revealed at Chelmsford on Monday.

Whether Bangladesh, already criticised for their lack of fitness, are capable of matching the flair of the Kiwis is another matter.

Favoured to beat the Scots, the Bangladesh players have much to learn and with former West Indian legend, Gordon Greenidge, their coach also their mentor. But if they have any of the enthusiasm displayed by their under/19 side at last year's Youth World Cup in South Africa their efforts in England will be noted.

Akram Khan is their best known batsman but there is some young talent as well: Mehrab Hossain, Shahriar Hossain (no relative) and Monjurul Islam represent the future.

For the Kiwis it may be another match at LOIs level and only the second time the two have met (the first was 10 years ago in Sharjah), but for the sub-continent team it is a giant stride into the future.

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