New Zealand's confidence-sapped batsmen constructed another worrying string of failures to lose a Twenty20 charity cricket match to Bangladesh at Seddon Park in Hamilton last night .
Not only did Bangladesh break their duck in the fourth match of their tour with a four-wicket win, an impressive allround display hinted they may not be the pushovers many expected.
Bangladesh overhauled their target of 134 with comparative ease, having three overs in hand - the perfect fillip after losses to Northern Districts and Auckland.
After enduring a disastrous start to the summer in South Africa and Australia, three specialist New Zealand batsmen who survived that nine-week experience had an opportunity to rediscover some touch before the tour proper starts with the first of three one-day internationals in Auckland on Wednesday.
However, far from reinforcing their easybeats tag the Bangladeshi bowling attack posed serious problems for the core of the top order.
Asked to bat first in perfect conditions the New Zealand 11 made hard work of compiling 133 for seven.
Paceman Shahadat Hossain proved particularly difficult, taking an impressive three for 15 off four overs.
Of the batsmen only Scott Styris showed a semblance of form after Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful opted to bowl first in perfect conditions.
Opener Jamie How was the first to succumb when he snicked Shahadat Hossain to first slip for 10 in the third over.
Stephen Fleming, captaining a New Zealand side for the last time, looked as if he had not batted since dislocating a thumb during the first test against South Africa in November while Peter Fulton, on the comeback trail form minor knee surgery, also looked ponderous despite his good form for Canterbury in the domestic State Championship.
Fulton had a letoff when on one as four fielders could not connect with a steepler at third man.
However, he could not add to the two runs he managed, and was out without further addition, driving uppishly to mid off.
Opening bowlers Hossain and Sajidul Islam gave little latitude over the first six overs as New Zealand crawled to 19 for two, pedestrian even by one-day standards.
Fleming finally broke the shackles in Sajidul's fourth and final over with consecutive boundaries but he fell in Mohammad Ashraful's first over for 17 to leave the home side at an uninspiring 49 for three at the halfway mark.
Ross Taylor fell to an injudicious slog sweep when on 15 to give Ashraful his second scalp.
Styris excited the crowd with the innings' first six in the 15th over but he was gone inside two overs trying to repeat the feat.
Northern Districts captain James Marshall added much needed impetus at the death and topscored with an unbeaten 33.
Bangladesh launched a more energetic response at the start of their runchase but also paid the price for a superior run rate with Tamim Iqbal and opening partner Zunaed Siddique both falling cheaply to expansive shots.
Tamim wore the fourth ball off the innings - a bouncer from Michael Mason - on the helmet and was caught hooking two deliveries later to depart for a duck.
Siddique soon exited for four before Ashraful and Aftab Ahmed started peppering the ropes.
Both made quickfire 20s before underdoing their promising work with suicidal running between the wickets.
Bangladesh were ahead of the run rate at the halfway mark at 77 for four and although Shakhib Hasan was the third run out victim nine runs later, Mehrab Hossain scored 22 not out and Farhad Reza 31 to ensure the tourists prevailed.
New Zealand 11
J How c Siddique b S Hossain 10
S Fleming c Sajidul b Ashraful 17
P Fulton c Javed b Islam 3
R Taylor c Reza b Ashraful 15
S Styris c M Hossain b Reza 29
J Marshall not out 33
G Hopkins c Tamim b S Hossain 12
T Southee b S Hossain 1
M Mason not out 3
Extras (1b, 5lb, 4w) 10
Total (for 7 wkts, 20 overs) 133
Fall: 12, 19, 47, 59, 98, 116, 120.
Bowling: S Hossain 4-0-15-3 (1w), S Islam 4-1-23-1 (2w), F Reza 4-0-26-1 (1w), M Ashraful 4-0-28-2, S Hasan 3-0-23-0, A Ahmed 1-0-12-0.
T Iqbal c Southee b Mason 0
Z Siddique c Taylor b Southee 4
A Ahmed run out 20
M Ashraful run out 20
S Hasan run out 22
M Hossain not out 22
F Reza c Hopkins b Styris 31
M Rahim not out 1
Extras (2lb, 12w) 14
Total (for 6 wkts, 17 overs) 134
Fall: 0, 18, 45, 52, 86, 133.
Bowling: M Mason 4-1-21-1 (2w), T Southee 3-0-31-1 (6w), I O'Brien 3-0-30-0 (3w), S Styris 4-0-28-1, J Patel 3-0-22-0 (1w).
Result: Bangladesh won by four wickets.