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Easy win for New Zealand
February 26, 2003 21:37 IST
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New Zealand crushed Bangladesh by seven wickets with 16 overs to spare in a World Cup Group B on Wednesday to remain firmly in contention for the Super Sixes.
Opening batsman Craig McMillan top-scored with 75 to help the Kiwis race to their target after Bangladesh made 198 for seven, their best total of the tournament but never enough to threaten one of the Cup favourites.
McMillan smashed two sixes and nine fours from 83 balls before Scott Styris (37 not out) and Chris Cairns (33 not out) rapidly finished the job and improved New Zealand's net run-rate, a factor that could decide who makes the next stage.
Playing their first match in 10 days after boycotting their game against Kenya, the Kiwis showed signs of rustiness in the field as they allowed the Bangladeshis to bat through their full 50 overs for the first time in the tournament.
Teenager Mohammad Ashraful scored his first half-century in one-day international cricket after Cairns dropped him badly on 24, and tail-ender Mohammad Rafique finished unbeaten on 41 after a late flurry of runs.
Ashraful, who became the youngest player in history to score a Test century on debut when he made 114 against Sri Lanka aged 17 years 63 days, finally transferred his Test form to the one-day arena with a stylish 56 off 82 balls.
He hooked fast bowler Shane Bond for six and struck six fours, including a square cut off Cairns to reach his fifty, helping his side pass their previous high score for the tournament of 124.
Bangladesh, who have not won a one-day international in almost four years, looked to be heading towards another paltry total when they slumped to 128-7 before Rafique and captain Khaled Mashud chipped in with an adventurous eighth-wicket partnership of 70.
While their bowlers struggled at times, New Zealand's batsmen had no real problems against a pedestrian Bangladesh attack, although right-arm seamer Khaled Mahmud did claim three wickets.
Kiwi captain Stephen Fleming hit a quickfire 32, including 19 off Tapash Baisya's fourth over, before he was controversially given out caught and bowled after the ball appeared to strike his pad.
Andre Adams added 18 at almost a run a ball before he chanced his arm once too often and gave a simple catch to Ashraful at mid-on, and McMillan threw his wicket away when he was bowled attempting a bizarre reverse sweep.
There were no more hiccups for the Kiwis as Styris and Cairns scored briskly in an unbroken stand of 61.
Styris's 37 came off 36 balls while Cairns needed just 21 deliveries for his 33, which included a straight-driven six off Alok Kapali that cleared the stands and had to be retrieved from a parking lot.
New Zealand's final pool game is against Canada while Bangladesh take on Kenya in their last match.
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