Corey Anderson ushered in 2014 with the then fastest ODI century off just 36 balls. He threatened to shellack the fastest T20I century in the second week of 2017 with another assault. His unbeaten 94 off 41 balls – studded with 10 sixes, the most by a New Zealander in T20 internationals – headlined the hosts’ whitewash of Bangladesh at Mount Maunganui.
He added 124 – a New Zealand record for the fourth wicket in T20Is, narrowly surpassing the 123 added by Colin Munro and Tom Bruce on Friday – with his captain Kane Williamson, who crafted his second half-century in his last three innings. They ensured New Zealand offset the early wobble – they were pinned down to 41 for 3 in 6.1 overs – and then soared to 194 for 4. In reply, Bangladesh started brightly with a 44-run opening stand, but they ultimately faded to a 27-run loss.
It was Williamson who made the early running. He slapped Shakib with a vertical bat as well as horizontal bat for back-to-back boundaries in fourth over. Jimmy Neesham – Williamson’s third opening partner in three matches – flickered briefly before Rubel had him lbw for 15. Four balls later, Colin Munro shovelled a catch to deep square leg for a three-ball duck.
Mosaddek Hossain then struck with his first ball to dismiss Tom Bruce for 5. Mosaddek and Shakib then allowed only 14 runs in the next four overs; all via singles.
With the spinners offering little flight and attacking the stumps, Williamson resorted to shuffling across the stumps and down the track. He did not always look pretty, and even fell on the floor while attempting a wild slog, but launched a six onto the roof of the ground. He then pushed the team past 100 with a whipped four.
Anderson then took charge of the innings a brace of leg-side clubs off Mashrafe Mortaza in the next over. He hit full tilt when he slogged part-time medium-pacer Soumya Sarkar for a hat-trick over sixes over cow corner. The second blow raised his fifty off 27 balls, but the third – a violent swipe against a full ball – was the pick of the lot. It sailed over the grassbanks and landed on a Thai curry stall.
From thereon it was all a blur. Anderson hoisted Rubel over long-off, and when he melted out the same treatment to Taskin Ahmed in the last over of the innings for his ninth six, he snatched the record for most sixes by a New Zealander in a T20 innings. Brendon McCullum had hit eight against Australia in Christchurch in 2010.
Anderson put the seal on the innings with another clean six and walked back to a rousing reception. About 100 minutes later, he soaked in the applause from the crowd again, this time after claiming a catch to send Shakib Al Hasan back in the last over of the match.
Bangladesh had mounted a fightback through Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar, who had replaced the injured Imrul Kayes – he tripped over the ad boards in the first innings while attempting a catch – at the top of the order. Kayes did not return to bat in the chase, and the visitors also had to deal with the anxiety of a possible injury to Mashrafe, who copped a blow on his right hand while attempting to stop a drilled drive, and aborted his last over.
But they overcame the setbacks and ran away to 69 for 1 in six overs. The advent of spin then applied the brakes on Bangladesh. Sarkar spooned a return catch to Ish Sodhi, and Williamson bowled Sabbir, but the ball of the day was Sodhi’s ripping googly to Mahmudullah. The ball pitched outside off and snaked in sharply to hit the top of the leg stump, making a mess of the batsman’s attempt to work the ball to the leg side.
Shakib and Nurul Hasan connected with late boundaries, but the game was up by then. It was only a matter of time before Bangladesh were whitewashed 6-0 in the limited-overs series in New Zealand, and their only silver lining in this match was Rubel, who picked up three wickets and staked his claim to lead the inexperienced Test bowling attack. (Courtesy ESPN Cricinfo)