The story of the last week's preparation for the ICC World T20 in Bangladesh.

On tour with the BLACKCAPS

Monday 17 March
Today is the first official warm-up match v Pakistan at the Sher-e-Bangla national stadium in Mirpur in Dhaka. It's a valuable hit-out in the stadium where Group 2 is based and the semis and final will be played. Conditions are hot (early 30s and humid) and the pitch is a turner, and the momentum lurches from one team to another, with Pakistan closing it out in the last over by six wickets.

Spidercam pays a visit to training in Mirpur. 

Dhaka traffic is thick at the best of times and chaotic at others, but things run smoothly today. The team bus is escorted by two gun cars along (usually) closed roads, getting teams to and from the grounds is (literally) a military operation.
Mozzies are everywhere in Bangladesh, and the tennis-raquet-mozzie-zapper has become v popular. 

Tuesday 18 March
Rest day. The team is staying at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon, along with South Africa, India, England and Sri Lanka, along with broadcasters and tournament organisers. You're likely to find yourself alongside Kapil Dev in the breakfast queue or sharing a lift with JP Duminy.  

The BLACKCAPS contingent is limited to the hotel, the bus or the ground for their time in Bangladesh, so on a rest day that means long chats over breakfast, hitting the gym or the pool and studying scouting footage, which the players can watch on their laptops, or relaxing. 

You can't miss the tournament. The streets are lit up with rows and rows of coloured lights, and several temporary displays for the tournament and the Tigers, Bangladesh's national side. The TV coverage is extensive - on some days it's possible to watch four matches on the TV, and in-between there are endless replays of games from past tournaments - it seems like the India v Pakistan inaugural T20 final has been on an endless loop. Even the ads in between are determinedly cricket-related, including the wonderful sounding T20 biscuit. 
The BLACKCAPS' Dhaka hotel put out the welcome mat for all the WT20 teams. 

Wednesday 19 March
Warm up v Australia at Fatullah. The ground is on the outskirts of Dhaka, and you can hear Lorde's Royals blaring out of the Australian dressing room as the BLACKCAPS arrive. The plan is to play a full Twenty 20 match, then a five over match then a super over, a plan devised by Mike Hesson and Darren Lehmann to give both teams prep for scenarios they may face in the tournament proper. The pitch here is more seamer-friendly than Mirpur, but again, the temperature is into the mid 30s, and it's very dry and dusty. Sub fielders and support staff are on the move throughout the match to get fluids to the bowlers, and there are regular supplies of drinks and gloves to the batsmen in the middle when we bat.  
The toss and exchange of team sheets at Fatullah. 

The match is not televised back home, as the ground is not set up for broadcasting, due to so many matches being played between the Qualifier tournament, women's warmups and mens warm-ups being played across Bangladesh. After a see-saw match, Australia take the Twenty20 by three runs, then win the five over contest also. The super over is abandoned, as both sides had got what they needed from the two matches, and the ground needs to be cleared for the South Africa v Pakistan match to follow. With double header matches being played throughout the tournament, there are four dressing rooms at each venue, so no-one has to vacate their shed in an un-due hurry. The journey back to Dhaka takes much longer than the journey there, with traffic at a stand still at times.  

Thursday 20 March
Travel day. After another day of rest and watching scouting videos in the hotel, the team leave for the airport to fly to Chittagong, where the pool matches will take place. There's a delay of an hour or so boarding the plane, but the team are experienced travellers and are not phased, everyone's used to passing time in airports, using mobile phones (most everyone carries two phones, one with a local and one with their NZ sim) to play games, check Twitter, listen to music and keep up with qualifier matches on Cricinfo. 
George Bailey, Ross Taylor and Charlotte Edwards patrol the grounds in Dhaka.  
Boarding passes Bangladesh style. 

The plane to Chittagong is a small propellor plane lacking air conditioning and with plenty of mosquitos on board, but the flight is barely an hour. We arrive when Bangladesh are playing their loss to Hong Kong Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, so the streets are very quiet as the bus drives to the hotel. 

The team are staying at the Hotel Agrabad, the same one used during the first Test v Bangladesh back in October. Being familiar with the hotel and knowing what to expect when travelling to places like Chittagong is invaluable - the team are looking forward to reacquainting themselves with local restaurant Ambrosia, and its amazing menu.

Friday 21 March
Last training before the tournament. The day starts with a scouting meeting before the team leaves for ZACS stadium to train. Brendon McCullum does the pre-tournament press conference, to a large contingent of English media, as well as local journalists. England are training at the ground at the same time and both teams are using balls dipped in water to replicate the dewy conditions they'll face during evening matches in Chittagong. 
Training always gets underway with a fiercely fought four-square-style game.
Ross Taylor chats to Paul Allott from UK SKY TV. 

After training, the talk is of the Ireland v Netherlands match - on the bus everyone is on Cricinfo to keep track, and we arrive at the hotel just in time to catch the last couple of overs. There's a team dinner from the Ambrosia, and a big screen has been set up in the breakfast room, where members of the England team (who are sharing the hotel) and ICC folk watch the India v Pakistan match together. Everyone's pretty excited about the waiting being almost over. 

With Thanks To

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