- Publish Date
- Wednesday, 31 March 2021, 9:20AM
By: Dylan Cleaver
On another night, all the talk would be about the Energizer bunny allround performance of Glenn Phillips.
This wasn't another night.
In the realms of the bizarre, starting a run chase without the public or players knowing what the target is doesn't rank up there with a big boat getting stuck in a canal and stopping the world of commerce – but it was pretty damn weird.
In a world ruled by algorithms, McLean Park saw hopelessly old school scenes as middle-aged men huddled around laptops more than an over after Bangladesh's chase had started.
Match referee Jeff Crowe, after furious entreaties from mild-mannered Bangladesh coach Russell Domingo, finally got word to umpires to stop play.
It is understood Bangladesh started the chase thinking they needed a revised total of 148 off 16 overs; a number that made no sense given New Zealand had scored 173-5 off 17.5. Spreadsheets available online to amateurs suggested the target should have been 171.
This ground is a magnet for ridiculous stoppages – "bright sun stops play" has been a refrain in the past – but this took the biscuit.
After a 10-minute delay that had to take into account Bangladesh's 12-0 stop after 1.3 overs, a target of 170 was settled on.
The visitors had every right to feel miffed, especially given they were made to field in the rain a little longer than they felt fair as rain made its traditional visit to sunny Napier to interrupt cricket.
When normal service returned, normal service resumed.
New Zealand won by 28 runs as the visitors mustered 142-7. The win secured an unprecedented seventh series of the season and took their streak to 31 across all formats against Bangladesh at home.
They did it on the back of Phillips, who still plays the game like the kid who wakes up on a Saturday morning and cries if he pulls open the curtain and sees it is raining. His unbeaten 58 was dynamic, his 1-20 off three overs less expected but equally as important.
To be fair to Bangladesh, they were better than they have been all tour but even against a New Zealand side shorn of many of its "stars" they fell short despite a blazing innings of 51 off 27 balls from Soumya Sarkar.
Adam Milne (2-34) returned and was quick, though expensive. The prospect of him bowling in tandem with Lockie Ferguson remains a tantalising prospect as the latter was rested.
Auckland in the season finale, perhaps?
Skipper Tim Southee (2-21) was excellent, too, and a bit grumpy. He had a bit to be cross about as his side briefly lost the plot in the field, but the smile had returned by the end.
With Phillips at his best and Daryl Mitchell (34 not out) continuing his brilliant summer with the bat, the Black Caps always looked like they had enough, even if the greasy conditions made life tough with the ball.
New Zealand's was a stop-start innings and not just because of the rain delay that kicked in in the 13th over.
Every time they looked ready to hit "go" mode they lost a wicket. Finn Allen (17), Martin Guptill (21), Devon Conway (15) and Will Young (14) all looked set before losing their wickets meaning it was 17.5 overs of sparks rather than the usual pyrotechnics.
It will be a lot of fun watching Allen "learn" to play international cricket.
His 10-ball stay included a six that left the park and two other balls that threatened the gods but stayed in the field of play. One was shelled, one was caught. There is no conventional stat for this but it feels safe to state that he became the first New Zealander to do the double of being bowled the first ball in his first match before getting off the mark via a reverse-sweep four in his second.
Guptill continued his recent streak of getting starts and going out to balls he will feel he should have punished. He has every right to feel aggrieved here. On the evidence of this tour Bangladesh would struggle to catch a cold in a Christchurch winter, but from out of nowhere Taskin Ahmed stuck out his left paw at short fine leg and plucked a screamer.
From a position of great comfort at 55-1, New Zealand were suddenly 55-3 when Conway top edged a pull off the impressive Shoriful Islam.
Phillips and Young righted the ship before the former took over in partnership with Mitchell.