New Zealand secured their second World Cup win in a row with a nervy two-wicket win over a spirited Bangladesh in a thriller at The Oval.
During a shaky start as they chased 245 to win, Kiwi captain Kane Williamson should have been run out for eight, but wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim broke the stumps before gathering the ball.
Williamson (40) and Ross Taylor took advantage to guide their side to 160-2, only to slip to 191-5 once Taylor departed for 82.
Bangladesh were buzzing in front of their fervent fans and struck twice in quick succession to remove Jimmy Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme and leave New Zealand 218-7, needing 27 from 39 balls.
Matt Henry was bowled by Mohammad Saifuddin with seven required but Lockie Ferguson edged for four and Mitchell Santner (17 not out) drove to the boundary to guide his side home with 17 balls to spare.
Earlier, the Black Caps’ superb bowling attack, led by Henry (4-47), took regular wickets to dismiss Bangladesh for 244 in 49.2 overs despite Shakib Al Hasan hitting 64 and several other batsmen making starts.
Had the New Zealand bowlers not done such a fine restricting job, Bangladesh would likely have completed a superb fightback.
Victory takes New Zealand to the top of the table as the only team so far to win both their matches.
They face Afghanistan at Taunton on Saturday, when Bangladesh take on England at Cardiff.
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New Zealand had two distinctly jittery spells during their chase but ultimately fine margins and a few errors denied Bangladesh.
After openers Martin Guptill and Colin Munro were caught off Shakib, Williamson and Taylor – despite all their experience – were poor running between the wickets and should have left their side in deeper trouble.
A mix-up saw Williamson caught well short of his ground as Tamim Iqbal threw to the keeper’s end but Mushfiqur dislodged the bails with his elbow while trying to gather, despite the ball being on course to hit the stumps.
With Williamson accumulating steadily and Taylor reaching 50 off 40 balls, Bangladesh’s chance looked to have gone.
But Williamson chipped a rare attacking shot to mid-wicket before wicketkeeper Tom Latham fell for a duck, dropping his head even before Mehedi Hasan took a fine diving catch at deep mid-wicket.
Bangladesh dried up Taylor’s runs before he edged Mosaddek Hossain down the leg side to Mushfiqur and stayed alert even when De Grandhomme and Neesham, who survived a close run-out call, started to find the fence.
De Grandhomme’s ramp shot was brilliantly caught one-handed above his head by Mushfiqur and Neesham chipped straight to long-on.
But a few edges that evaded fielders, two wides from Saifuddin after he bowled Henry and Santner’s sublime winning cover drive were enough for New Zealand to squeak home.
New Zealand bowlers continue to impress
After dismantling Sri Lanka in their opening game, New Zealand’s bowlers again showed why they will test every team in this tournament by putting Bangladesh under near-constant pressure on a good pitch for batting.
Bangladesh scored 69 runs between overs 20 and 30 – despite seeing key man Mushfiqur run out after a mix-up with Shakib – but added only 37 for the loss of two wickets between the 30th and 40th over to stall the innings.
Slow left-armer Santner was pivotal, conceding only 41 runs off 10 overs and also removing the dangerous Mahmudullah, who miscued to extra cover.
Henry exploited the pressure with four wickets, taking his tournament tally to seven, including two in as many balls as he had Mashrafe Mortaza caught at third man and bowled Saifuddin to end the innings.
Ferguson (1-40) reached 90mph with a testing mix of yorkers and short balls, Trent Boult (2-42) returned superbly at the death to dismiss Mosaddek and Mehedi and De Grandhomme’s accuracy saw Shakib caught behind.
New Zealand were again excellent in the field and still have opening bowler Tim Southee to return from injury, suggesting it will be tough for sides to post big targets if batting first against the Black Caps.
‘We were very nervous’ – reaction
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson: “It’s very nice to get across the line. We still knew that 250 could quite challenging.
“It wasn’t our most clinical effort with the bat. There were a few soft dismissals that we’d want to address. But it’s a great experience to have in tournament cricket.”
Player of the match Ross Taylor, who hit 82: “We were very nervous at the end. It was nice to get over the line.
“Credit to Bangladesh. Their supporters came out – it felt like Dhaka or Chittagong. The bowlers bowled well enough to keep us under par – we thought 270 or 280 would have been a good score and we kept losing wickets at crucial times.
“We need to work on our running – we had come close calls. I do enjoy batting with Kane Williamson – hopefully we can park that to one side and run between the wickets much better.”
Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza: “It was a good wicket. We were 20 or 30 short. The outfield was slow. We got set and then got out too often. We couldn’t make a good partnership in the middle.
“At the end it was a tight match. To win matches you have to get wickets, they closed it professionally – credit to them.”