Kane Williamson scored 78 runs in his comeback from a long-term injury as New Zealand beat Bangladesh by eight wickets in the Cricket World Cup on Friday.

Williamson played his first match since April after a serious knee injury and reached his total off 107 balls as New Zealand made 2-248 to chase down Bangladesh’s 9-245 with ease. 

Williamson took his time and reached his half-century off 81 balls before struggling with cramps and also took blows to his knee and left thumb, which put him in doubt for the next game. Williamson retired out in the 39th over, with the score reading 200-2.

It was the Black Caps’ third straight win at the tournament and put them atop the points table with six points, following victories over England and the Netherlands.

New Zealand had a new opening pair with Devon Conway and Rachin Ravindra starting together after the latter was picked ahead of Will Young. But Ravindra was out for just nine runs, caught behind off Mustafizur Rahman in the third over.

Williamson and Conway then added 80 runs off 105 balls for the second wicket. Conway outscored Williamson in the partnership, and overall made 45 off 59 balls, including three fours. He was out lbw to Shakib Al Hasan in the 21st over.

Daryl Mitchell joined Williamson and batted at a faster clip to move things along.

“It was a good team performance,” Williamson said. “We had to see through the new ball, but were able to build partnerships in the middle overs.”

Mitchell scored a half-century off 43 balls, and hit six fours as well as four sixes. He and Glenn Phillips (16 not out) scored a quick-fire 48 off 27 balls to finish off the game with 7.1 overs to spare. 

Earlier, New Zealand’s pacers helped set up the win, sharing seven wickets among them. Lockie Ferguson led the way with 3-49 from 10 overs, while Trent Boult and Matt Henry took two wickets each.

New Zealand's captain Kane Williamson during the 2023 ICC Men's Cricket World Cup one-day international (ODI) match between New Zealand and Bangladesh at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on October 13, 2023. (Photo by R.Satish BABU / AFP) / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE -- (Photo by R.SATISH BABU/AFP via Getty Images)

New Zealand’s captain Kane Williamson. (Photo by R.SATISH BABU/AFP via Getty Images)

For Bangladesh, Mushfiqur Rahim scored 66 runs off 75 balls after his side was put into bat by New Zealand.

The Tigers got off to a poor start with Boult dismissing Litton Das for a golden duck. Ferguson then struck twice to remove Tanzid Hasan (16) and Mehidy Hasan Miraz (30), who added 40 runs for the second wicket.

The duo was dismissed in the space of 22 deliveries. Williamson then experimented with spin and it worked instantly. Najmul Hossian Shanto (7) chipped a catch off part-time spinner Glenn Phillips as Bangladesh was down to 56-4.

It brought the experienced pairing of Rahim and skipper Shakib Al Hasan together and they added 96 runs off 108 balls for the fifth wicket to resurrect the innings.

Rahim reached 50 off 52 balls. Shakib scored 40 off 51 balls, including three fours and two sixes. But Ferguson was brought back into the attack, and he broke the partnership in the 30th over.

It was a big blow for Bangladesh and its lower order faltered as wickets continued to fall at regular intervals.

Mahmudullah scored 41 not out off 49 balls to push Bangladesh past 200, but it finished with a below-par score.

End