NZ eyes clean sweep against Bangladesh
Sunday, 30 December 2007

NZ captain Daniel Vettori
QUEENSTOWN, New Zealand— Nothing less than an emphatic win will satisfy New Zealand in their third and final one-day cricket international against Bangladesh here.

Although they despatched cricket minnows Bangladesh with ease in the first two matches, the New Zealanders know lingering doubts persist about their ability ahead of the looming bigger challenge of England in February.

After having their confidence shattered by heavy defeats in South Africa and Australia in recent months, captain Daniel Vettori said it was imperative they maintain their new-found winning momentum going into the third match.

"We have to, we're expected to win the series 3-0 and we have to," he said.

"If we get tripped up, the series is almost a disappointment for us."

New Zealand won the first match in Auckland by six wickets with seven overs to spare and stepped up a notch when winning the second match in Napier by 102 runs.

But they have left themselves open to criticism for under scoring against a mediocre attack.

"We could have pushed into the late 300s," conceded Vettori when the New Zealand innings ended at 335 for five in the second match.

Bangladesh have no illusions about the one-sided nature of the series so far but they have taken heart from some morale-boosting performances.

Their 201 in the first match was their highest one-day international score against New Zealand, and the 97-run partnership between captain Mohammad Ashraful and Tamim Iqbal was also a Bangladesh record against New Zealand.

Ashraful is a particularly dangerous batsman and with the inform 18-year-old Iqbal they are capable of keeping Bangladesh competitive, although coach Jamie Siddons concedes the team are well short of footing it with New Zealand at present.

"We are learning, but it's going to take time," he said.

"They're young players, some are only playing their first or second game of their lives at this level," he added, referring to Iqbal's opening partner Zunaed Siddique, who made his one-day international debut in Auckland.

"There's a learning curve they have to go through and we're going to suffer some pain. We're suffering that pain now -- there's no way around it."

Siddons also singled out 22-year old Aftab Ahmed as a batsmen of the future but said if the Bangladesh top order did not succeed it was difficult for his bowlers to dominate.

"I thought we bowled really well (in Napier) but our pace just isn't up there.

"Our opening bowlers (Mashrafe Mortaza and Shahadat Hossain) are going at 130-132kph as opposed to 140s .... it's really hard to contain when you can't bounce them and have that little 'get out' ball."

The Queenstown pitch traditionally offers the quick bowlers more encouragement than Auckland or Napier and New Zealand are likely to stay with the four-pronged pace attack that served them well in the first two matches.


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