Cricket: Guptill, Southee praise New Zealand fightback against battling Bangladesh

HAMILTON, New Zealand (AFP) - Opener Martin Guptill and paceman Tim Southee praised New Zealand's fightback in their hard-earned win over Bangladesh in Hamilton on Friday, hoping it will stand them in good stead in the knock-out stages of the Cricket World Cup.

New Zealand won by three wickets after being tested in both batting and bowling, with Guptill making his first hundred of the tournament and Southee hitting the winning six and the boundary to seal the win.

Bangladesh were lifted to 288-7 by Mohammad Mahmudullah's 128 not out - his second successive hundred in the tournament.

"It was a bit of a topsy-turvy game. They were on top for a lot of it, then we fought back and then they fought back again. It's just nice to get the win under the belt and show some fight towards the end, and the way Timmy and Dan (Vettori) finished it off was pretty fantastic," said Guptill.

"It's always nice to score a hundred, whether it's in the World Cup or not. It's nice to get the end result there and get the win, as well."

Southee, who finished wicketless, came in to bat with 20 still needed off 16 balls.

"Obviously a tight finish, and it just shows we found another way to win another game of cricket, and I think that's a testament to the side," he said.

"We were challenged in different ways, and we managed to come through it and add another two points to the total. Yeah, it's a different win for us, but it just shows us the quality in the side and we can win when we're in difficult circumstances throughout the game."

New Zealand finished with a maximum 12 points from six wins and topped Pool A.

They now face the fourth-placed team from Pool B - possibly the West Indies - in the quarter-finals in Wellington on March 21.

"I guess it's one of the perks of finishing top in your table. You face the fourth qualifier on the other side. Yeah, they're going to be a dangerous side," said Southee of the West Indies, who need a win in their last game against United Arab Emirates in Napier on Sunday.

West Indies will also hope Pakistan beat Ireland in Adelaide on the same day.

"In knockout cricket, it all starts again; anything can happen. What's happened in the tournament so far doesn't really count for much when you reach the knockout stages."

Southee admitted his team were also tested by co-hosts Australia in the Feb 28 match in Auckland in which they squeezed home by one wicket.

"I think all the guys learnt from the Aussie game in Auckland and just the pressure that comes with, I guess, a nervous run chase. I think the bowlers work extremely hard on their batting in the nets, and it is good to be able to go out there and contribute to the team.

"There's a lot of faith in us bowlers in the way we bat in the nets and the way we train, so it is nice to repay that faith that the batters have in us."

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