NAPIER, New Zealand (AP) — Martin Guptill carried his bat for 117 as New Zealand eased to an eight-wicket win over Bangladesh on Wednesday in the first of three one-day internationals.
Bangladesh was bowled out for 232 in 48.5 overs after batting first on winning the toss. New Zealand surpassed that total at 233-2 with 33 balls to spare.
Guptill locked in his place in the New Zealand squad for the World Cup in England later this year with a confident, match-winning century from 116 balls which included eight boundaries and four sixes. While his selection might have been automatic in the past, Guptill was under pressure after a recent run of low scores.
He made 138 in his first ODI innings of the season against Sri Lanka, returning to the New Zealand team after a long injury break. But he didn't score more than 15 in his next seven one-day matches against Sri Lanka and India and also lost the chance to press his World Cup selection claims when he missed New Zealand's T20 series against India with a back injury.
On Wednesday, he demonstrated an ability to anchor an innings, in which he hit a six from the penultimate ball of the match to tie the scores.
"It feels nice but I think the most pleasing thing was the way the guys really restricted Bangladesh up front with the ball," Guptill said. "We made them tough to get away and losing four wickets in the top 10 is hard to come back from."
Henry Nicholls also made a strong claim to World Cup selection as an opener, as well as for his ability lower in the order, with 53 in a 103-run opening stand with Guptill.
Nicholls was promoted to open during the India ODI series when Colin Munro failed to make a substantial score and was dropped, just as he has been left out of the first two matches of this series.
The New Zealand selectors had been anticipating a Guptill-Munro opening partnership, expecting it to provide the aggressive beginnings which were to be a key part of New Zealand's World Cup strategy. Now it seems Guptill, Munro and Nicholls will be chosen to give New Zealand flexibility at the top.
Earlier, Trent Boult and Matt Henry cut through the Bangladesh top order, taking advantage as the ball swung and seamed early to leave the tourists 42-4, then 94-6.
A record 84-run partnership between Mohammad Mithun (62) and Mohammad Saifuddin (41) — the largest for the eighth wicket in one-day internationals for Bangladesh — allowed the tourists to pass 200 in what were generally good batting conditions.
Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza said his team lacked preparation in New Zealand conditions.
"We were struggling during the batting time," Mashrafe said. "They bowled well but I think we just lost too many," early wickets.
"We can't make excuses but in these conditions you need at least a week to adjust everything."
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