New Zealand will end the summer at home to all of their victories which have spanned seven draws. They have hosted 21 international matches, the most by any country since the Covid-19 pandemic. It was considered an administrative success, especially given their country’s strict quarantine protocol. The only possible damper is the rain forecast in Auckland for the end of the season, T20I’s third against Bangladesh.
A major strength for New Zealand are the new arrivals who make an outstanding contribution even after they have come under pressure. In Second T20I at Napier, past Glenn Phillips that half a century of invincibility got them out of trouble and into a total which proved too much for Bangladesh confusion over DLS-defined targets. Daryl Mitchell assisted Phillips in standing the sixth goal of an unbroken run of only 27 balls.
In the first game, it was Devon Conway and debutant Will Young who put them in such a strong position. New Zealand will also be pleased with how Ish Sodhi continued his good form throughout the summer despite only playing T20I. In particular during the ongoing T20I series, the captain of Team Southee also stood out.
Coming into the third and final T20I on Thursday, they will have no objection to Martin Guptill getting a big score as he has been in threatening form since the ODI draw against Bangladesh with his quick start. Finn Allen, too, will be eyeing a sizable score having only made 17 of the two innings so far in the series. There will be a chance to see which of Adam Milne, Lockie Ferguson and Hamish Bennett could pair up in Auckland.
Bangladesh had some positives during this tour but their players were a bit inconsistent. Nasum Ahmed has done well in both T20Is, especially in opening bowling, although he has only two goals to show so far. Half a century Soumya Sarkar in the second T20I had to help him get out of trouble.
Mohammad Naim has shown glimpses of his impressive punching play in both matches, albeit without a big score. Afif Hossain made 45 defeats in the first half first game, in Hamilton, while Shoriful bounced back with an economical spell at Napier after a disastrous debut in the series opener.
Mohammad Saifuddin has been expensive with the ball in both games, Liton Das only scored 50 runs on this tour while Mohammad Mithun and Mahedi Hasan have yet to keep their promise from the ODI series.
(last five games completed)
New Zealand WWWLL
In the spotlight
Glenn Phillips unbeaten in its last three internationals, with all three being key to New Zealand’s victory. In the second T20I, his 58 throws from 31 balls, his extraordinary prowess in show is as much as he perseveres in building partnerships during the tough parts of play.
It’s hard to predict which one Soumya Sarkar might show up in Auckland. He averaged 9.5 on the tour up to his quick 51 shot at Napier. It contains a series of special shots but the firing triggers a blow collapse. Maybe getting back to top form is important, but for a batsman with 129 internationals under his belt, getting the team to a winning position is his main job.
Only Todd Astle has yet to get a game in the series while the combination of the speed of Lockie Ferguson and Adam Milne may also pay off.
New Zealand (probable) 1 Finn Allen, 2 Martin Guptill, 3 Devon Conway (wk), 4 Will Young, 5 Glenn Phillips, 6 Mark Chapman, 7 Daryl Mitchell, 8 Tim Southee (captain), 9 Ish Sodhi, 10, Adam Milne, 11 Hamish Bennett
Bangladesh may not want to change the starting XI which tested New Zealand a little in the previous game unless Mushfiqur Rahim is fit.
Bangladesh (possibly) 1 Liton Das (wk), 2 Mohammad Naim, 3 Soumya Sarkar, 4 Mohammad Mithun, 5 Mahmudullah (captain), 6 Afif Hossain, 7 Mahedi Hasan, 8 Mohammad Saifuddin, 9 Shoriful Islam, 10 Nasum Ahmed, 11 Taskin Ahmed
Pitch and conditions
This series-ender will be the first day-and-night T20I in the Garden of Eden in five years. The short boundaries and the expected flat tone hint at a high-scoring match in the offing. But the weather forecast will drop.
Statistics and trivia
- Martin Guptil’s 582 runs at Eden Park make him the only player to score a 500-plus T20I run in one place.
- Mahmudullah will play his 55th consecutive T20I for Bangladesh, currently the fourth longest on the all-time list. In essence, he hasn’t missed the T20I since November 2015.
“I have had an injury in the last three years, so I want to be injury free, first of all. I will just try to keep my body in the park and play cricket consistently.”
New Zealand sprinter Adam Milne upon his return to international cricket after two years
“We haven’t played well in all three departments in one particular game. We played well and played well in separate games. We need to put everything together to win the game.”
Bangladeshi batsman Soumya Sarkar about what the visiting party needs to do to finish the tour triumphantly
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @ isam84