NAPIER, New Zealand: Fast bowler Lockie Ferguson took two wickets with the first two balls of his Twenty20 debut and went on to claim 3-32 as New Zealand beat Bangladesh by six wickets on Tuesday in the first of three internationals.
Ferguson is only the second bowler after Australia’s Michael Kasprowicz to take two wickets with his first two deliveries in a Twenty20 international: Kasprowicz achieved the feat in the first-ever Twenty20 international between New Zealand and Australia in 2005.
New Zealand included three new caps in its lineup for Tuesday’s first international at McLean Park and all three delivered as New Zealand extended the dominance over Bangladesh it established in a sweep of their recent three-match one-day series.
Ben Wheeler supported Ferguson with 2-22 as New Zealand held Bangladesh to 141-8 as it batted first after winning the toss.
Captain Kane Williamson then anchored the New Zealand inings with an unbeaten 73 from 55 balls — his highest score in Twenty20 internationals — and Colin de Grandhomme hit 41 not out from 22 balls as New Zealand surpassed Bangladesh’s total with two overs to spare.
New Zealand looked under pressure at times, especially at 61-4 after 10 overs when Williamson ran out Tom Bruce (7) on debut and when the home team’s innings had begun to lose momentum.
But de Grandhomme was the ideal man to come to the crease at that point. He brought the powerhitting which was the necessary counterpoint to Williamson’s anchor role and he struck three sixes and three fours in an innings of only 22 balls.
De Grandhomme hit a four and six off the last two balls bowled by Rubel Hossain to clinch the win and give New Zealand a 1-0 lead in the series which concludes with two matches at Mount Maunganui on Friday and Sunday.
“It would have been nice to do it with a wee bit more efficiency,” Williamson said. “We lost wickets at key times so it was important to stick there and try to take the game a little bit deeper.
“Colin was outstanding at the end to take us across the line but the credit today would certainly have to belong to the bowling attack. In that front six they were able to take early wickets and that set the tone for the match and that gave us a heads up going into that second innings.”
Ferguson, who made his one-day international debut for New Zealand earlier this season, made his mark in his T20 debut when he dismissed Sabbir Rahman and Soumya Sarkar with the first two balls of his opening over.
He was lucky to claim his maiden wicket with a rank full toss on off stump which Sabbir slashed to midwicket but his second wicket was more conventional as Sarkar edged a full delivery to Corey Anderson at gully.
Tom Bruce made his mark on debut when he took a catch to dismiss Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal for 11 off his Central Districts teammate and fellow debutant Ben Wheeler. Wheeler produced an outstanding debut pefromance to remove Iqbal and Bangladesh captain Masrafe Mortaza (1) to finish with 2-22.
Ferguson returned to bowl Mahmdullah for 52, just as the veteran batsman threatened to steer Bangladesh to a competitive total. Mahmdullah scored only four runs in three innings in the one day itnernational series but recovered his best form on Tuesday with a half century from 45 balls.
New Zealand faltered early in its run chase as it slumped to 4-62, losing Neil Broom for 6, Colin Munro without scoring, Corey Anderon for 13 and Bruce for 7.
But Williamson gave the innings an anchor and de Grandhomme blasted New Zealand home with 12 balls to spare.
“I think we were 15 to 20 runs short and we lost too many wickets early on,” Masrafe said. “I think again with the ball we started well but couldn’t go through.
“The target was to get some early wickets, which we did, but Williamson batted really well, as did de Grandhomme.”