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New Zealand claim series win over Bangladesh to wrap World Cup preparation

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New Zealand gave themselves a perfect boost ahead of the ICC World Cup 2023 by defeating Bangladesh in the three-match series 2-0, with a seven-wicket win in the final one-day international in Dhaka on Tuesday.

Will Young and Adam Milne starred with bat and ball respectively, with Young hitting 70 off 80 balls to guide New Zealand to 175-3.

Milne’s 4-34 restricted the hosts to 171 in 34.3 overs at Dhaka’s Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.

Stand-in skipper Najmul Hossain Shanto scored highest with 76 runs for Bangladesh, but was unable to give the hosts a competitive score with a lack of support from the other end after he opted to bat first.

New Zealand made light of their target despite losing Finn Allen (28) and Dean Foxcroft (0) to Shoriful Islam in consecutive balls, as Young put on 81 runs with in-form Henry Nicholls for the third wicket.

By the time left-arm spinner Nasum Ahmed bowled Young, New Zealand were well in control.

Nicholls, who made 44 and 49 runs in the previous two matches, went on to complete 50 this time, with a single off Mahmudullah Riyad.

Tom Blundell (23 not out) hit a boundary to take New Zealand home, with 91 balls to spare.

Cole McConchie and Trent Boult earlier complimented Milne, who was playing his first match of the series, claiming 2-18 and 2-33 respectively to deny Bangladesh any serious momentum in the contest.

New Zealand, who lost the previous two series in Bangladesh 4-0 in 2010 and 3-0 in 2013, won the second match by 86 runs on Saturday. The first match was washed out by rain.

“The World Cup is just around the corner — to come up with the first win since 2008 is great,” said Young, the man of the match, in a briefing afterwards.

“This group plays a lot together, we gel well and it’s a lot of fun,” he added.

Young said that while he could not predict what conditions the Kiwis would face in India when the ICC World Cup 2023 opens on October 5, he hoped “it’s similar to these”.

Bangladesh initially rested key players but, with the series at stake, they brought back stalwarts Najmul, Mushfiqur Rahim and Shoriful Islam. However, it did little to improve their performance.

Najmul, leading Bangladesh for the first time, held down one end to score his fifth ODI fifty but wickets kept falling regularly from the other end.

“Our batsmen didn’t score big runs,” Najmul said. “Hopefully, next time batters take responsibility and bat long.”

Milne and Boult struck early for New Zealand to reduce Bangladesh to 35-3, before Najmul and Mushfiqur offered a brief resistance with a 53-run fourth wicket stand.

Mushfiqur’s dismissal to Lockie Ferguson for 18 put New Zealand back on top and the visitors did not lose the momentum again.

McConchie ended any real chance of Bangladesh lodging a fighting score by dismissing Najmul with his second ball of the day, with the left-hander hitting 10 fours in his 84-ball innings.

READ: Tamim Iqbal left out of Bangladesh’s squad for ICC World Cup 2023

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