“I couldn’t have asked for it to go any better than what I did today.”
For newcomers Devon Conway and Daryl Mitchell, the Wellington ODI turned out to be a dream outing as they both struck maiden ODI centuries. Mitchell reached the personal landmark off the last ball of the New Zealand innings, as he scampered for the second and managed to reach the crease while Mushfiqur Rahim fumbled the return from midwicket.
Mitchell pumped his fist as the nearly full-house roared in delight. Conway, who had shortly before left the crease with a superb 126 under his belt, saw him from the foot of the pavilion. The pair had earlier added 159 runs for the fifth wicket, breaking a 38-year-old partnership record at the Basin Reserve. It helped New Zealand recover to 318-run total when at 57 for 3, they might have settled for a middling total.
“I remember the ground announcer talking about my partnership with Daryl (Mitchell),” Conway said. “When they said it was the highest partnership, it was a cool moment. Him (Daryl Mitchell) coming over to congratulate me for the hundred was a pretty special feeling. Unfortunately I wasn’t at the other end to see him reach his hundred, but watching him from the tunnel, come back for that two, I will remember this for a long time.”
For Conway the century topped off an impressive first international season. In a match that included another century, a five-wicket haul and a four-for, his contribution won his second Player-of-the-Match award. His 225 runs in the ODI series also earned him the Player-of-the-Series honour.
Conway, who moved to New Zealand from his native South Africa in 2017, said that his first international match at his adopted home ground, the Basin Reserve, added to the overall occasion of Bangladesh’s 50th Independence Day.
He said that this match reminded him of his first match at the venue just over three years ago. Conway plays for the Victoria University of Wellington Cricket Club, who play their matches at the nearby Kelburn Park.
“It was a pretty special feeling out there. I woke up and I was like, ‘wow I am going to play at the Basin Reserve today for the Black Caps’. Singing the national anthems and commemorating Bangladesh’s 50th Independence Day, it was a special feeling. I couldn’t have asked for it to go any better than what I did today.
“When I was out there ticking along the nineties, I had a little feeling of how it all started. I remember playing a little internal game here at the Basin over three years ago,” he said.
Conway revealed that despite playing 11 T20Is for New Zealand in the past four months, he made a nervous start on his ODI debut in Dunedin last week. He said that he felt better speaking to Ross Taylor, and following Tom Latham during their match-winning partnership in Christchurch.
“I think naturally there was a bit of pressure that I put on myself in the first game. It was about just trying to focus on things that I can control. Take it slowly, watch each ball and play it on its merit. It is key for my batting. I tried to continue on a positive mindset throughout.
“I had good conversations with some of the guys who have been around. Ross Taylor was with us throughout the series, so it was good to lean on him a few times. During the partnership with Tommy Latham in Christchurch, saw how he went about his business,” he said.
Conway is part of New Zealand’s T20I side that takes on Bangladesh in the three-match series starting in Hamilton on Sunday.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84