Magical McCullum ton downs Tigers
Brendon McCullum blasted the highest-ever individual score in 20-over international cricket to set the ICC World Twenty20 alight as New Zealand claimed a comfortable 59-run win over Bangladesh at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium on Friday.
Full Scorecard: Bangladesh v New Zealand
The veteran wicketkeeper plundered 123 off just 58 deliveries to help the Black Caps amass 191-3, before they restricted the Asian side to 132-8.
McCullum displayed a wide variety of shots, everything from slog sweeps and reverse sweeps to pulls and hooks. His innings, which included seven sixes and 11 fours, surpassed the previous-highest 117 scored by South Africa’s own Richard Levi and West Indian blaster Chris Gayle.
Kyle Mills then claimed three early wickets to end with 3-33 as any hopes of an unlikely victory for the Tigers were quickly erased, while Tim Southee also impressed by bagging 3-16.
There was one shining light for the losing team in the form of a fighting 50 in 39 balls from Nasir Hossain.
Bangladesh had won the toss at the start and surprisingly elected to bowl first, although there was some rain in the air.
And the decision looked an okay one during the early part of the game, the left-arm spin of Abdur Razzak (2-28) accounting for Martin Guptill (11) in the fourth over when the opener was bowled, whilst playing down the wrong line.
But the McCullum show then took over.
This video is not available in your region
The New Zealand wicketkeeper, who set the inaugural Indian Premier League (IPL) alight in 2007 with a magnificent 158 off just 73 deliveries playing for Kolkata Knight Riders, began slowly with only nine coming from his first 10 balls.
He struck Shakib Al Hasan for his first six in the eight over, a flat drive over cover to take his side past 50.
Another maximum off Shakib over the midwicket fence in the 11th over, followed by a pulled off Ziaur Rahman two overs later took McCullum to 50 from just 29 balls as the Kiwis crossed 100.
Mashrafe Mortaza claimed a second wicket for the Asians when James Franklin (35 off 36) struck a short ball straight to Elias Sunny at deep midwicket leaving the score on 113 for two.
It was the McCullum show from there on, the diminutively-built batsman flat-batting Mortaza for a six and striking four more on his way to a record score.
The last four overs went for 63, while the blazing batsman reached the three-figure mark in just 51 deliveries for his second career hundred, before he was out last ball by Razzak, caught by Tamim Iqbal running around on the cover fence.
The Bangladeshis were dealt a massive blow at the start of their response when Tamim, who they would have needed to fire to have any chance of victory, tamely played the third ball by Kyle Mills to cover for a duck.
Shakib, promoted to number three, and Mushfiqur Rahim also fell to the New Zealand seamer for 11 and four respectively as Bangladesh slumped to a woeful 33 for three.
It got worse for the Tigers when Tim Southee trapped Mohammad Ashraful leg before wicket for 21 in just the seventh over.
Mahmudullah and Hossain finally took their team past 50 in the 10th over and went on to put on exactly 50 in 45 balls.
But the former was out for 15 straight after when he lifted Nathan McCullum to Kane Williamson, who took his third catch of the innings, at long-on.
Hossain went to his second career T20I 50 in 37 balls with a fine four off Southee, but by the time he fell, any hopes of a win were long gone.
BANGLADESH: Tamim Iqbal, Mohammad Ashraful, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim (capt & wk), Mahmudullah, Nasir Hossain, Ziaur Rahman, Mashrafe Mortaza, Elias Sunny, Abdur Razzak, Shafiul Islam
NEW ZEALAND: MJ Guptill, RJ Nicol, BB McCullum (wk), LRPL Taylor (capt), KS Williamson, JDP Oram, JEC Franklin, DL Vettori, NL McCullum, TG Southee, KD Mills