Henry Nicholls fell agonizingly short of a century on Wednesday as New Zealand eased to a seven-wicket win and sealed victory in their one-day international series against Bangladesh.
A superb 169 off 151 balls from opener Soumya Sarkar was not enough to end Bangladesh's miserable ODI streak in New Zealand, where they have now lost all of their 18 previous 50-over matches against the Black Caps.
"The way the openers set the innings up was outstanding," said New Zealand captain Tom Latham. "We also had two good partnerships to put us in a good position. It was very clinical," he added.
In a strong batting display by the hosts, Nicholls and Will Young hammered 128 for the second wicket. Latham and Nicholls then teamed up to grab 56 more for the third as New Zealand's batters dominated.
The win in Nelson gives New Zealand an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series after their 44-run win in the first game on Sunday. The third and final ODI will be played in Napier on Saturday.
Sarkar's boundary-heavy innings took the visitors to a respectable 291 all out. But Nicholls led a strong Black Caps reply with 95 off 99 balls, steering the hosts to a comfortable victory. It was a superb innings by Sarkar who bounced back from a duck last Sunday to smash 22 fours and two sixes. He was just short of the Bangladesh ODI batting record of 176 scored by Litton Das against Zimbabwe in March 2020.
Sarkar hit out during a 91-run fifth-wicket partnership with veteran batter Mushfiqur Rahim. He finally departed in the 49th over when seamer William O'Rourke had him caught behind, the first of three wickets the New Zealand bowler took in the final six balls.
In response, New Zealand's openers raced to 76-1 after ten overs before Bangladesh debutant Rishad Hossain pulled off a great catch at deep midwicket to dismiss Rachin Ravindra for 45 off 33 balls. The wicket came at the end of an expensive over for Bangladesh's bowlers as Ravindra smashed a six and Will Young hit consecutive fours.
New Zealand's batters all impressed as the Bangladesh bowlers struggled to exert any authority. Young, who scored 105 in the first ODI, was steaming towards another century when his misfired shot was caught and bowled by Hasan Mahmud.
Young finished on 89 with New Zealand in command at 204 for two. His second-wicket partnership of 129 runs off 131 balls with Nicholls was the most lucrative of the match. After Nicholls was caught with New Zealand on 260 for three after 40 overs, Black Caps captain Tom Latham kept the hosts' tally ticking over with 34 runs off 32 balls alongside wicketkeeper Tom Blundell.
Blundell sealed the win with a huge six in the 46th over to finish on 24 off 20 balls. "It's really disappointing," said Bangladesh captain Najmul Hossain Shanto. "We lost a couple of early wickets, that's what cost us today. We had a good tally, but our bowlers didn't bowl well."