By Niall Anderson in London
They were easy-beats four months ago, but a change in conditions – and one key addition – is set to make Bangladesh a much tougher challenge for the Black Caps at the Cricket World Cup.
As they were getting easily dismantled in a 3-0 series sweep in their New Zealand ODI series, few would have picked Bangladesh to be able to topple South Africa in their World Cup opener. However, their highest ODI score - 330-6 - earned them a superb 21-run win, and reminded the Black Caps that this will be a far more potent unit than what they had seen on New Zealand soil.
Inspirational all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan – who missed the New Zealand tour – is a significant addition, and struck 75 in their opening win. Bangladesh are also a much more potent side overseas than they are when visiting New Zealand, where they have never won. That includes in the United Kingdom – where they claimed a stunning five-wicket win over the Black Caps in their solitary UK clash at the 2017 Champions Trophy.
So, the scenes from New Zealand – where Bangladesh were at 94-6, 93-5 and 61-5 on their way to eventual defeats of eight wickets, eight wickets and 88 runs respectively - are less likely to be seen in the Black Caps' second World Cup clash on Thursday morning.
Few know what Bangladesh can produce better than Black Caps bowling coach Shane Jurgensen, who was at the helm as Bangladesh head coach when they claimed a 3-0 series win over New Zealand in 2013. He wasn't surprised by the hot start from his former troops, and isn't reading anything into their struggles in New Zealand.
"We're taking them as a completely different team. What happened in New Zealand – that series is long gone and this is the World Cup, they step up for every game, so we're certainly going to have to be on our toes," Jurgensen said.
"We know what they're going to dish up in terms of their bowling, and with their batting they've got some really dangerous players. They have guys who can come out and really take the game away, they've got guys who can bat for long periods, they're very clever in terms of their batting, and Shakib Al Hasan has the ability to take wickets regardless of the pitch. They can also change their pace with the bowlers' little cutters.
"We know we're going to have a really tough challenge."
To help with that challenge, the Black Caps brought in spinner Ajaz Patel to help out at training. Currently playing with Surrey club Cranleigh, Patel offered another quality left-arm bowling option in the nets; potentially an aid for the Black Caps batsmen before they have to face Shakib's left-arm spin.
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Henry Nicholls and Tim Southee trained under lights at The Oval as they continued their progression from hamstring and calf injuries respectively, with an unwell Martin Guptill the only absentee.