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Some could argue that by forcing Bangladesh to bat first, hosts New Zealand dealt their visiting opponents a fatal blow, especially with rain clouds gathering above Mount Maunganui. There wasn’t enough cricket played to declare a clear winner of what was supposed to be the second of three T20 Internationals between the two titans of the game just a few days prior due to unceasing rain.

On December 31, 2023 (IST), however, that was not the case. To the dismay of those who had filed into the Bay Oval, rain intervened once more, though this time there was an obvious benefactor. Their recent trip to New Zealand had been enjoyable for Bangladesh. The Bangla Tigers had first secured their first victory in New Zealand in this format, defeating the Black Caps in a dead-rubber One Day International. They matched their earlier milestone a few days later when they defeated the hosts in the opening of three Twenty20 Internationals. It would have been Bangladesh’s first-ever T20I Series victory in the nation had they won the other two of the three formats.

But that didn’t work out, as Bangladesh’s batting collapse contributed just as much to their eventual third Twenty20 International loss as the rain did. Just four of the first six batters to reach double figures, with Najmul Hossain Shanto’s 17 being the highest score, were part of the New Zealand bowling attack, which was spearheaded by captain Mitchell Santner and easily demolished the Bangladesh top order. With four balls left in their innings, the rest of the team also collapsed like dominoes, falling at 110.

New Zealand, chasing a modest target, found it difficult to chase after four of their opening five batsmen gave up wickets for a single run. Finn Allen, the opener, continued, but after Shoriful Islam removed the batter, the thought of a humiliating loss to a team that had not won a game in New Zealand for a month started to creep in.

Nevertheless, the Black Caps’ fortunes improved when Mitchell Santner and James Neesham used consistent knocks to steady the sinking ship. Rain forced the match to be called off with New Zealand 15 runs from the target, giving the hosts the victory via the DLS method.



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