Battered Kiwis aim for a turnaround
Having lost out comprehensively in the rain-shortened first ODI at Kingston, the Kiwis would be looking to seek inspiration and achieve the first win of the tour when they take on West Indies in the 2nd ODI at the same venue.
The Kiwis have made a horrible start to the Caribbean tour having lost the T20I series and now the first one-dayer. A spectacular bowling effort and a commanding batting effort from the hosts saw the Kiwis lose by a heavy margin of 21 points on Index. It was their batting that let them down as the top order faltered early on. At one point of time they were reduced to 48/4 in the first 15 overs. None of their batsmen looked convincing. Even the only half-centurion, Bradley Watling, struggled out in the middle. They seem to be struggling big time without the senior players, Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor. They look a highly inexperienced unit if one excludes Jacob Oram from the side. The veteran looked ominous at the wicket with a brisk 32 from 39 balls in the middle overs.
Having being entrusted the captaincy reins, Kane Williamson has a humongous task ahead of him. He is a talented cricketer and he needs to step up and perform to the best of is abilities. Their batsmen looked clueless against the mystery spin of Sunil Narine. With the track assisting spin, they need to sort out their techniques in order to have any chance of strong bounce back. The return to form for Martin Guptill will be crucial for the visitors as he has been one of their best batsmen in the recent months. A much better batting performance is the need of the hour.
It would be wrong to criticize the bowlers after the first match as rain hampered the progress and the target was brought down to 136 from 33 overs. They need to work out some plan to remove Gayle early on. Kyle Mills bowled with great discipline and ended up with a Bowling Efficiency of 331 for his 1/7 from 5 overs. The same kind of discipline will be expected from the other bowlers this time around. Watling and Mills will be the biggest threats for the hosts.
The West Indies have held the upper hand in the tour so far with dominating performances in the T20Is and the first ODI. Andre Russell led the way in the pace department with a splendid Quick Start Overs spell, finishing with a second-best Index of 51. His performance means that the Windies can afford to have an extra batsman in the side. But Sunil Narine has been the biggest threat for the Kiwis with his clever spin variety in the middle overs. He topped the Index with 52 points in the first ODI and has picked up 11 wickets so far on the tour.
Their batsmen too look in good form. Gayle has been in blistering touch having hit three half centuries in as many matches on the tour. His return to the side has boosted the top order and another splendid performance will be expected from him. They look a pretty balanced side at the moment and wouldn’t be looking to disturb the winning combination. Gayle and Narine will be the biggest threats for the Kiwis.
The Kiwis would be looking to bounce back in the competition as a 2-0 lead for the hosts would make it absolutely difficult for the visitors to win the series. But going by their team composition and Chris Gayle’s form, the hosts will start off as favourites.