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Merciless McCullum sinks Bangladesh


Brendon McCullum brutalised the Bangladesh bowling.

Brendon McCullum smashed the highest individual score in the history of Twenty20 international cricket to propel New Zealand to a winning start against Bangladesh in the ICC World Twenty20 at the Pallekele Stadium today.

The aggressive right-hander blazed 123 from just 58 deliveries as the Black Caps racked up 191-3 from their 20 overs, a total which proved well beyond the Tigers’ reach in the Group D contest.McCullum hit seven sixes in total and finished with just nine fewer runs than the entire Bangladesh team, who folded to 132-8 in reply to lose by 59 runs.

Bangladesh have now lost nine successive matches in the tournament and halt that slide against Pakistan in their final group fixture to keep alive any hopes they have of reaching the Super Eights.The team batting first had won all three previous T20 Internationals played at Pallekele, making Bangladesh’s decision to field at the toss a curious one.James Franklin (35) joined Martin Guptill (11) at the top of the order for New Zealand and the pair added just 19 for the first wicket before McCullum took centre stage.Exploiting a particularly short boundary on one side of the wicket, the Black Caps wicketkeeper-batsman took an immediate liking to the left-arm spin of Shakib Al-Hasan, depositing him for two sixes.Spin, Bangladesh’s main weapon, proved expensive with Shakib, Elias Sunny, Mahmudullah and Abdur Razzak conceding 121 runs from their combined 12 overs.

Razzak did provide some early cheer for the Tigers when he snuck one through Guptill’s defences and into middle stump, while Franklin swatted Mashrafe Mortaza straight to Sunny when well-set.

McCullum reached his second international T20 century in the penultimate over of the innings, an over which also saw him dropped at extra cover by Mortaza when on 92.

He reached the landmark off just 51 balls, one slower than the fastest in history, and in doing so became the first player to score two tons in the shortest form of the game.

The 192-run target looked a massive ask for Bangladesh and their plight worsened when star batsman Tamim Iqbal was caught in the covers just three balls into Kyle Mills’ opening over.

Mills (3-33) claimed the wickets of Shakib and Mushfiqur Rahim to put Bangladesh even further on the back foot and when Tim Southee trapped Mohammad Ashraful lbw for 21 the Tigers were tottering on 37-4.

An entertaining 37-ball half-century from all-rounder Nasir Hossain added some respectability to the Bangladesh total, however Southee (3-16) returned to take two more wickets and finish with the best figures in the match. (Sky)

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