New Zealand beats Bangladesh by 8 wickets in NZ Tri-Series

CHRISTCHURCH (AP): Captain Kane Williamson and opener Devon Conway shared an 85-run partnership for the second wicket that helped steer New Zealand to an eight-wicket win over Bangladesh Sunday at the New Zealand Twenty20 Tri-Series.

Conway struck his third T20 half century from 36 balls and eventually carried his bat for 70 from 51 while Williamson struggled at times with the pace of the wicket and made 30 from 29 balls as New Zealand chased down Bangladesh’s 137-8 with 13 balls to spare.

After two rounds Pakistan has two wins, New Zealand has a win and a loss and Bangladesh two losses in the tournament that is a warm-up for the T20 World Cup that begins in Australia later this month.

The next match is between New Zealand and Pakistan on Tuesday.

New Zealand reversed the strategy of its match against Pakistan on Saturday that it lost by six wickets after batting first. Williamson decided to bowl first and the tactic worked as the Bangladesh bowlers struggled to contain New Zealand on a slow, low pitch in a match played in cold conditions.

“We had a really good first half and some really good partnerships in the second half to get across the line,” Williamson said. “Our spinners were outstanding throughout the first 20 and the seamers complemented them really well.”

The Bangladesh innings began reasonably and it reached 30-1 after five offers.

Spinners Ish Sodhi and Michael Bracewell managed to slam on the brakes in conditions that suited the slower bowlers. Playing forceful shots was difficult as the ball held in the wicket and kept low and Bangladesh lost wickets as it tried to lift its run rate.

After 10 overs it was 63-3 and slumped to 88-5 after 15 overs, faced with the prospect of presenting New Zealand with a comfortable run chase.

Nurul Hasan came to his team’s rescue with an unbeaten 25 from 12 balls as Bangladesh took 27 runs from the last two overs.

Bracewell finished with 2-14 from his four overs.

“We’ve got a pretty tight-knit group of spinners there and we like to share our ideas,” Bracewell said. “I’ve been able to pick their brains for the last few months.

“Whenever I can contribute in either facet and I just embrace that with open arms.”

Conway was always at the forefront of the New Zealand batting effort. When he found his timing he was able to play late and with power, taking his runs down the wicket and on the leg side, though he brought up his half century with a flowing cover drive off Shoriful Islam.

After Williamson was out at the end of the 15th over, Glenn Phillips supported Conway and scored 23 from nine balls with two fours and two sixes.

“I thought with the used wicket the New Zealand spinners bowled really well,” Bangladesh captain Shaqib al Hasan said. “With their quality spin we couldn’t handle it. We tried to play too many big shots and we lost wickets through the middle.

“Our top three or four, someone had to put their hand up and bat to the 15th or 16th overs. It’s not happening but we have two more games.”