Spotlight follows Sodhi as he spearheads NZ victory

New Zealand 254 (Blundell 68, Nicholls 49, Sodhi 35, Mahedi 3-45, Khaled 3-60) beat Bangladesh 168 (Mahmudullah 49, Tamim 44, Sodhi 6-39) by 86 runs

Ish Sodhi had a field day in Mirpur with bat and ball to hand New Zealand a 86-run win. Somewhere in between all that he was run-out backing up too far at the non-striker’s end and recalled to resume his innings. It was his 35 off 39 balls that lifted the visitors from 187 for 7 to 254 just as it was his 6 for 39 that ripped through Bangladesh’s batting order.

Sodhi was brought on in the ninth over of the chase, with Tamim Iqbal and Tanzid Hasan picking up 23 runs in the two previous overs and preparing a platform from which Bangladesh could launch. He struck twice in his second over, first enticing Tanzid into a big shot with a full, loopy legbreak that was miscued to mid-off and then having Soumya Sarkar caught and bowled off a leading edge.

Towhid Hridoy’s attempt to rebuild the innings was undone by a Sodhi googly that took the inside edge onto the stumps. Tamim, who was the only set top-order batter, paddled a ball that spun big to the wicketkeeper. Sodhi started his first spell with the hosts on 42 for 1 in eight overs. And when it ended, Bangladesh were reeling at 93 for 5 in 19 overs while he was flying with 4 for 29 off six.

Mahmudullah, who was playing his first ODI innings in six months, and Mahedi Hasan knuckled down to deny Jamieson, Rachin Ravindra, and Lockie Ferguson for just over ten overs. They even started to pick up a boundary every over after a 35-ball drought. And then, Sodhi came back, ripped out Mahedi’s middle stump with the first ball of his new spell to claim his first ODI five-for.

A few quiet overs later, Mahmudullah pulled a rank long-hop, from Cole McConchie, straight to Finn Allen at short fine leg. Nasum Ahmed extended the innings with a 30-ball 21, bashing two sixes along the way, but Bangladesh could add just 19 runs for the last three wickets, which was where Sodhi made a difference with the bat earlier in the day.

Sodhi was on 5 off 13, and New Zealand were 187 for 7, when Jamieson joined him in the 39th over. They saw off the better part of three overs before Sodhi heaved a length ball from Nasum over long-on. Jamieson picked up a couple of boundaries himself before being caught and bowled by Mahedi.

Then came the most talked about moment of this innings. Three balls into the 46th over, with New Zealand on 224 for 8, Hasan Mahmud ran Sodhi out for backing up too far at the non-striker’s end. Sodhi was walking off, wearing nothing but a smile on his face, which suggests that some players are starting to get used to this form of dismissal. But, a few seconds later, the Bangladesh stand-in captain Litton Das chose to withdraw the appeal and invited Sodhi back to resume his innings. Sodhi returned, wearing an even bigger smile on his face, hugged the bowler Mahmud and ushered New Zealand to a total of 254. He was on 17 off 26 when he was run out and recalled and went on to make 35 off 39 with three sixes. New Zealand added 67 runs for the last three wickets.

At the start of the day, New Zealand chose to bat after winning the toss and were in trouble at 36 for 3. Mustafizur Rahman turned on his fizz mode with the new ball, extracting sharp bounce to nick off Will Young for an eight-ball duck. Mahmud found swing to trouble batters regularly. Allen had picked up fours off the first balls of the first two overs but he couldn’t keep the trend going. He fell at the start of the seventh over, when he flashed at a full ball from Mustafizur to Sarkar at first slip.

For the second time in two ODIs, Henry Nicholls found himself having to repair the New Zealand innings, a job made easier by the new ball losing some spite and Tom Blundell’s thirst for a fight. The duo passed the challenges put forth by Mahmud and the debutant Khaled Ahmed by seeing off the good balls and punishing the ones that were short, wide or overpitched. It was just what New Zealand needed after they couldn’t score off 45 of the first 60 deliveries they faced.

Blundell brought up fifty at the end of the 26th over but two balls later, Khaled got some extra bounce and subtle seam movement away to nick off Nicholls for 49. Their 95-run partnership had staged a recovery but Mahedi and Nasum led New Zealand into their second slump in the innings. With close to 12 overs to go and seven wickets down, it looked like the visitors would struggle to get to the finish line, but Sodhi and Co took what they were given and ran away with the game.

Ekanth is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo