Millennium Post

Ton-up Guptill guides NZ to a 3-wicket win over B’desh

Ton-up Guptill guides NZ to a 3-wicket win over B’desh
Opener Martin Guptill smashed a brisk century before New Zealand huffed and puffed to a thrilling three-wicket win over Bangladesh to sign off their league engagements unbeaten in pool A of the ICC cricket World Cup here on Friday.

Chasing a competitive 289 to win, New Zealand rode on a 131-run third-wicket partnership between Guptill (105) and Ross Taylor (56) to stay atop pool A with 12 points, followed by Sri Lanka (8), Australia (7) and Bangladesh (7).

Bangladesh, who had reached the quarterfinals for the first time after beating England last Monday, are now most likely to take on defending champions India in the last eight stage after finishing fourth.

However, a final position of the pool will only be known after the Australia-Scotland match at Hobart on Saturday. If the minnows can stun the four-time champions by a big margin, the position of the teams may change. Earlier, Mahmudullah cracked his second successive century -- a career-best unbeaten 128 -- to power Bangladesh to a competitive 288 for seven.

Defending the total, Bangladesh started off well dismissing dangerous opener and host captain Brendon McCullum (8) and first down batsman Kane Williamson (1) cheaply to reduce the Kiwis to 33-2 inside five overs.

But Guptill and Taylor added 131 runs to not only script a recovery but also lay the foundation for a
successful chase.

Guptill's 100-ball innings was laced with 11 hits to the fence and two sixes, while Taylor blasted five boundaries in his 97-ball stay at Seddon park.

Shakib targets India after pushing kiwis
Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan insists they have nothing to fear when they tackle India for a place in the World Cup semi-finals after giving in-form New Zealand a huge scare on Friday. The Tigers went down fighting by three wickets at Seddon Park in their last Pool A match to finish in fourth place in the group and set up a quarter-final showdown with Pool B winners India in front of 90,000 fans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 19.

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