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

Kiwis allow run-rate to slip
Trevor Chesterfield - 17 May 1999

CHELMSFORD (England) - New Zealand rarely look a gift horse in the mouth, and it could have been the chilling 16 degrees Celsius today which befuddled their thinking, but to pass up the opportunity of boosting their run rate against Bangladesh was not smart thinking.

The Kiwis beat Bangladesh in the World Cup debut by six wickets at the Essex headquarters but took their time in scoring the 117 wanted to win the game in 33 overs with a run rate of 3.54 or a net run rate of 2.32, which could have been far higher had they decided to get on with it. It may have been the Bangladesh bowling, which was tight and accurate enough, the Bangladeshi's line, length and bounce causing plenty of trouble for the batsmen.

Then again, Nathan Astle, pushing a simple catch to the captain Aminul Islam in the covers, as early as the first over, did not help either. The New Zealand captain, Stephen Fleming, agreed the run rate had not been ideal and declined to blame the slow pitch for the slow scoring rate, especially after success in the three warm up matches. He was inclined to suggest the Bangladesh bowling was a class better than some of the county attacks.

Manjurul Islam and Hasibul Hussain would not disgrace some county attacks either. Both achieved awkward bounce at times and forced the Kiwis to make the sort of batting errors which their coach, Steve Rixon, will need to sort out. Bangladesh, after winning two warm up matches through the Duckworth/Lewis format and being blown out in their third, were uncomfortable against the swing and seam of the New Zealand bowlers. It was man of the match Gavin Larsen, with three for 19 in 10 overs, who caused problems for the Bangladesh batsmen from the moment he was brought into the attack.

Paul Allott, the New Zealand opening bowler, could have just as easily taken the award from Larsen as he ripped through the top-order when removing openers Shahriar Hossain and Mehrab Hossain in his first two overs. Both fell lbw and their dismissals took much pressure off the rest of the Kiwi bowlers. At 51 for seven there was no way back for the enthusiastic Bangladesh side who are in need of a lot more exposure if they hope to achieve their Test status aim.

Had it not been for some lower-order heroics Enamul Haque who managed 23 and Hasibul Hassan, with 28, the eventual total of 116 would not have been achieved.

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