CARDIFF: Fast bowler Taskin Ahmed handed Bangladesh their first breakthrough with Luke Ronchi’s wicket, after the Black Caps won the toss and decided to bat in their final group match of this year´s Champions Trophy.
Pacer Rubel Hossain had Martin Guptill trapped lbw not long after, reducing New Zealand to 69-2 and interrupting flow of runs.
Both the teams are desperately seeking victory knowing even a win in Cardiff on Friday may not take either of them into the semifinals. They have a point apiece after they were each well beaten by England, while their respective matches with Australia ended in rain-induced no results.
England are already into the last four and Australia will join them there if they defeat the tournament hosts in the final Group A fixture at Edgbaston on Saturday.
It all leaves Bangladesh and New Zealand needing to win in Wales and then hope England put one over their archrivals, assuming more bad weather does not disrupt those calculations.
New Zealand should have the edge over Bangladesh when it comes to local knowledge given their 87-run defeat by England in Cardiff on Tuesday.
“When it´s not seaming and it´s not swinging, obviously we need to look at different measures,” New Zealand paceman Trent Boult told reporters at Cardiff on Thursday.
“I think we all know the importance of getting wickets early in the innings andthe team under pressure is where you can really set the game up.
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson made a brilliant hundred against Australia before following up with 87 against England — a match where he was fined but not banned for a dreadfully slow over-rate.
Bangladesh´s Tamim Iqbal also started the tournament with a century, against England, before making 95 against Australia.
For both sides the innings has tended to fall away following the exit of their key batsman, with New Zealand losing their last eight wickets for 65 against England following Williamson´s dismissal.
“Yes, he is in great form but we cannot focus only on Williamson,” said Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza at his pre-match press conference.
“They have players like Martin Guptill who can change the game.”
Bangladesh were just four overs away from all but certain defeat and tournament elimination when rain came to their rescue against Australia.
It was at Cardiff, now a much-changed ground, where Bangladesh caused arguably the biggest of all ODI upsets by beating a powerful Australia side in 2005.
Defeating New Zealand would not be such a shock, but it would be a huge boost to the current Bangladesh´s side standing in world cricket.
“We knew before the tournament that we had to produce something special, otherwise it wouldn´t be easy to beat teams like England and Australia,” said Mortaza.
“But we are a team that wouldn´t let go of a chance, so if one is coming up tomorrow, we will have to make sure we don´t let it slip.”