New Zealand captain Tom Latham's valiant knock took Friday's 2nd T20I against Bangladesh in Mirpur right down to the wire, but it wasn't enough as the Tigers registered a last ball win that puts them on the cusp of another series victory.
Chasing 142 to win and tie the series at 1-1, New Zealand needed 28 runs off the last 2 overs with Latham batting on 52 and McConchie on eight.
The sprightly Mohammad Saifuddin conceded eight runs off the 19th over, leaving 20 runs for Mustafizur Rahman to defend off the last over.
Four balls later, New Zealand needed 13 off 2 deliveries- impossible unless the ever-reliable Fizz strayed and gave away extras.
Amazingly, the man whose immaculate control and stinginess has been a hallmark of the Tigers' home season in 2021, did just that: a slower ball went badly wrong and became an above waist-high beamer, that Latham - while ducking to avoid it - managed to divert with a faint touch of his bat to the boundary behind the wicket.
It would count for 5 with the umpire's signal for the waist-high no ball, and the next ball would be a free hit.
Suddenly there was a buzz around the ground as New Zealand, from having been resigned to defeat 30 seconds earlier, suddenly smelt a chance with 8 needed off 2.
But Bangladesh's man for the death overs, Mustafiz, shook off the previous delivery and pulled it back again. Latham ran like the wind to convert a one into two off the penultimate ball of the innings, keeping the strike with 6 to win off the last ball.
Mustafiz kept his cool to cramp the Kiwi captain for room with the last ball of the match, that went for just a single on the leg side - and so Bangladesh won the highest-scoring match of their 2021 home season by just 4 runs.
The visitors failed to have a good start while chasing the challenging target of 142 runs as they lost two early wickets for 18 runs.
The first wicket, Rachin Ravindra, was taken by Shakib Al Hasan for 10, and he was partnered well by Mahedi Hasan, who removed Tom Blundell for 6. But Latham and Will Young recovered well for the third wicket adding 43 off 47 balls.
Young fell for 22 off 28 as Shakib’s second wicket, but Latham kept the scoreboard afloat. He eventually remained unbeaten on 65 off 49 balls - arguably the innings of the T20I summer in Bangladesh - but failed to seal the game for the visitors.
Latham's unbeaten knock was also the highest individual score by any batsman in the seven T20Is played at Mirpur since August, involving Bangladesh, Australia and New Zealand.
New Zealand ended up on 137 for five in 20 overs.
For Bangladesh, Shakib and Mahedi bagged two wickets each while Nasum Ahmed took one. Mustafizur gave away 34 runs without any luck.
Earlier, Bangladesh made a good start after winning the toss and opted to bat first as Liton Das and Mohammad Naim put up a 59-run stand at the opening. Their steady stays were a clear indication of a better wicket in Mirpur.
But Bangladesh’s progress stumbled when Liton fell prey to Rachin, and off the next ball, Mushfiqur Rahim was stumped by a great job behind by the stumps by the New Zealand captain Latham.
Shakib also failed to continue on a good run. He fell prey to Cole McConchie scoring 12 of seven balls with two fours. It looked an easy catch for the debutant Ben Sears, but he missed it at the first chance. He managed to get it at the second chance after the ball bounced on his leg.
After Shakib’s dismissal, Afif Hossain also returned to the dressing quickly. He managed to score only three in three balls.
Mahmudullah was firm at the other end of the wicket and remained unbeaten for 37 off 32 balls with five fours. He was accompanied by Nurul Hasan Sohan at the sixth wicket stand when Bangladesh added 32 off 22 balls. Before getting dismissed off the last ball of the innings, Sohan scored 13 off nine balls.
For New Zealand, spinner Rachin bagged three wickets conceding 22 runs while Ajaz Patel, Cole McConchie and Hamish Bennett took one wicket each.
The next matches of the series will take place on September 5, 8 and 10 at the same venue. All the matches will be played at 4 p.m. Bangladesh time.
With today's win, Mahmudullah Riyad registered his 12th win as captain in T20Is - making him the most successful Bangladeshi captain in the format.