Cricket: No sweat as cold spell suits Kiwis

Bangladesh 116 New Zealand 117-4 New Zealand win by 6 wkts
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The Independent Online
A WORLD CUP, in every sport, ideally needs a shock result early on; unless a comfortable victory for England counts, this competition has yet to provide one. Bangladesh, bowled out half an hour before lunch, were never in a position to upset New Zealand who, in winning with 17 overs to spare, managed to turn the occasion into a fourth warm-up match.

That term is, of course, relative; while the Kiwis warm up, the Bengali Tigers are still thawing out, their experience of Chelmsford helping them only in knowing how many green sweaters to wear. They may just about have got used to the temperatures of an English summer before it is time to go home.

The Bangladeshi exchequer seems unlikely to suffer any great damage as a result of the Government's offer to reward each player with $1,000 (pounds 600,000) per victory. The game against Scotland in Edinburgh next Monday offers their one remotely realistic chance of collecting and avoiding the wooden spoon, but there was enough wooden batting yesterday to encourage the Scots rather more.

With both openers gone for seven - only a slight improvement on their match against Essex on the same ground, when each made a duck - Canada's World Cup record of 45 all out against England in 1979 looked under threat. The captain, Aminul Islam, and Akram Khan again steadied the ship, only to throw their wickets away, on this occasion in successive overs. From then on, it was a question of whether the scoreboard would click as far as 100, which it did eventually thanks to an entertaining last-wicket stand. "We stopped playing and started doing some crazy things," said their disgruntled coach, Gordon Greenidge.

Apart from Dion Nash, all the bowlers claimed a wicket in their first over or two. Geoff Allott, with a stiff breeze at his back, began the sequence by snaring Shahriar Hossain with the third ball of the innings and then Mehrab Hossain with his ninth. Neither was given cause for argument with Ian Robinson's decisions. Chris Cairns, not pleased to see Aminul step down an easy-paced pitch to him, extracted revenge for that impudence by hitting middle stump as the captain played across the line. The experienced Akram needed to stick around but in the very next over, Gavin Larsen's first, he presented a straightforward caught and bowled.

With Larsen bowling Khaled Masud through the gate, half the side had departed for 46, and Cairns was soon on for the second hat-trick in World Cup history after getting Khaled Mahmud caught at extra cover from a full toss and Mohammad Rafique leg before. Chetan Sharma's achievement for India in 1987 remains unique, however, for Cairns' ill-directed hat-trick ball turned into a no-ball glanced to the boundary.

The total eventually passed three figures in enjoyable fashion, with a straight six by Hasibul Hussain off Chris Harris. The only advantage of being dismissed so early was that, illogically, Bangladesh's bowlers were allowed a seven-over burst at the openers before lunch was taken, and then a rest. In only the second of them, Manjurul Islam induced Nathan Astle to drive to mid-off. The 19-year-old left-armer and the pacy Hasibul bowled well to defensive fields either side of the interval; Hasibul had Craig McMillan taken at mid-wicket and, although victory was never in doubt, the spinners Naimur Rahman and Mohammed Rafique deceived Matthew Horne and Stephen Fleming respectively to keep the margin respectable.

"Once we lost the two guys who can give us a good start it was going to be a bit of a graft," said Fleming. "They bowled straight and got enough assistance to make us a bit wary."

Now New Zealand get down to the real thing, with successive matches against Australia (at Cardiff on Thursday), West Indies and Pakistan, which will decide whether they come through the group.

Bangladesh, who play West Indies in Dublin on Friday, can only hope that traditional Irish hospitality is matched by equally warm weather.

Scoreboard, page 27;

Chelmsford carnival, page 26

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