Bangladesh left out several first-choice picks, including Shakib Al Hasan and Mustafizur Rahman, as Latham carried his bat with 50 after the best opening partnership for the Black Caps laid the foundation for a strong 161 for five at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium on Friday.
Opting to bat first, New Zealand were off to a perfect start, thanks to a 24-ball 41 by opener Allen Finn in a 58-run stand with Rachin Ravindra before Latham’s second half-century of the tour propelled the tourists to the total.
Bangladesh played three specialist bowlers. Shoriful Islam, who took out both the New Zealand openers in the same over, picked up two wickets, but did not appear to be at his best.
Chasing a required rate of over 8 runs per over, the hosts lost wickets regularly in a subpar display, barring an unbeaten 49 by Afif Hossain and 23 by Mohammad Naim and skipper Mahmudullah, and eventually fell well short of the target.
Bangladesh’s top-order left the middle-order with too much work, while Mushfiqur Rahim (3) once again failed to contribute with the bat.
Spinner Ajaz Patel’s 2-21 restricted the Tigers but it was the visitors’ batting that made the difference.
Allen lived up to the billing, starting by clobbering Nasum Ahmed for a six and then punishing Shoriful with two boundaries and a six in the fourth over.
When Shoriful came back for his second over, Allen once again heaved and drove for a six and a four but the bowler struck back by taking out Ravindra for 17 before going through the gates of Allen to put a dent to New Zealand’s efforts.
Bangladesh reduced New Zealand to 83 for four in the 11th over and the odds of a slide appeared imminent when Latham took charge. He added 35 with Henry Nicholls (20) before the latter was caught brilliantly by Nurul Hasan off Taskin Ahmed.
Latham launched a final flourish with Colin McConchie (17) as New Zealand milked 43 off the last 21 balls.
Bangladesh were unable to replicate New Zealand’s way of making the most of the powerplay, failing to even maintain six runs per over.
Both Liton Das (10) and Soumya Sarkar (4) fell early to superb catches at point after cutting awkwardly. In hopes of raising the scoring rate, Mushfiqur launched one high and into the throat of Colin de Grandhomme at long on, as the Tigers sank to 48 for four.
Skipper Mahmudullah then hauled Bangladesh back on track with Afif, adding 63 for the fifth wicket. In the 14th and 15th overs, the duo played some spectacular shots to score 24 off those overs as the equation came down to 56 off the last 30 balls.
But Mahmudullah’s fall holing out at sweeper cover took out Bangladesh’s sting as the innings slipped to a tame conclusion with two wickets to spare.
Adjudged Man of the Match, Latham shared the Man of the Series award with Nasum as well.
He said, "Great to finish this leg of the tour on a high. The way we were able to piece it all together was [pleasing]. We put up close to a perfect performance, took all the learnings from the previous games.
“This was a good surface, platform set by the openers meant we were able to take our time in the middle and cash in at the back end. We managed to finish well.
“Our bowlers have been fantastic all series, nice we're able to finish on a high and can hopefully take some momentum into the Pakistan series. Nice to spend time at the crease, haven't played a lot of T20 cricket, to fight it out in these conditions was nice."
At the presentation ceremony, Mahmudullah said, "Would've liked to win today but I think New Zealand batted really well, we didn't chase well but happy to win the series. I think bowlers did quite well, but didn't finish well enough in the end.
“Spinners bowled really well. Shoriful got two early wickets and gave us the momentum. With the chase, we didn't start well enough. Afif and I tried to build a partnership but their bowlers executed really well.
“Last three series we've played some good cricket to win all of them, it's a big boost. Hopefully when we get to the World Cup, we'll regroup and start winning games there."