Devon Conway showed why he will be New Zealand’s key batter at the Twenty20 World Cup by top-scoring in an eight-wicket tri-series win over Bangladesh in Christchurch on Sunday.
Conway batted with control for his unbeaten 70 off 51 balls as the Black Caps chased down 137-8 at Hagley Oval with 13 balls to spare.
South African-born Conway continued a bright run of form that has seen him tally 294 runs in his last seven T20I innings, at an average just under 60.
The left-handed opener’s career average has now climbed above 50, a rarity in the shortened international format.
He put on 85 for the second wicket alongside captain Kane Williamson (30) before Glenn Phillips’ quickfire 23 not out off nine balls rounded out New Zealand’s first win of the tournament.
Pakistan lead after the first round of matches, having beaten New Zealand by six wickets and Bangladesh by 21 runs.
All three sides are using the week-long series to fine-tune for the World Cup in Australia this month.
Earlier, Black Caps legspinner Ish Sodhi became the fifth bowler to take 100 T20I wickets, removing top-scorer Najmul Hossain Shanto (33) in his first over to reach the milestone.
Sodhi dismissed Mosaddek Hossain soon afterwards to further halt the Bangladesh mid-innings momentum, aided by a miserly 2-14 from fellow-spinner Michael Bracewell.
Williamson praised his spin pair’s accuracy.
“We worked hard and pulled it back with the spin, which was huge for us to keep them to a below-par total," he said.
“Having no pace on the ball was difficult to play if you hit the right length and our spinners were outstanding."
Bangladesh captain and world-class allrounder Shakib Al Hasan, who missed the first game after arriving late to Christchurch, scored 16 off 16 balls but failed to make an impact with the ball.
He said his side’s total was a difficult one to defend.
“I thought New Zealand’s spinners bowled really well," he said.
“We started very well but in the middle overs, with their quality spin, we couldn’t handle it. We probably tried to play too many big shots and it cost us momentum."
Pace bowler Adam Milne found himself added to New Zealand’s mounting injury list, bowling only two overs before pulling up with abdominal tightness and leaving the field.
Fellow quick Lockie Ferguson suffered a similar injury in training to rule him out of Sunday’s game while allrounder Daryl Mitchell is in doubt for the World Cup after suffering a fractured finger.
New Zealand face Pakistan in the next game on Tuesday.