Against the run of play, Kiwis spring back with a victory
After being completely listless in the two-off T20Is and a couple of ODIs, the Black Caps finally ended up on the winning side for their first time to make the series 2-1.
West Indies led the series 2-0 with three more games to go. They had kept the Kiwis tight on the ropes as well. The home side had looked dominant in all the departments so far. Their batting, with the inclusion of Chris Gayle, had just bolstered their strength much more. And with home conditions, they had the exploits of Sunil Narine to make use of.
The stage was set at the Basseterre, St Kitts and it was a special dedication to Runako Morton, who expired some time back. Darren Sammy and Darren Bravo had dedicated their match fees to the benefit of Runako’s bereaved family. Darren Sammy won the toss and he elected to bowl first. The pitch was very conducive as it was a hard deck, with lot of dryness and the small dimensions of the ground would only ensure that fireworks would be expected. Trent Boult was drafted in for his debut in ODIs in place of the leggie, Tarun Nethula. While for West Indies, Lendl Simmons was left out in place of Johnson Charles.
The pair of Rob Nicol and Martin Guptill were yet to give their team a solid start at the top. This time again, Guptill fell early while Nicol went out about stroking his shots out in swash-buckling fashion. Kane Williamson, who did well in the last match, could not last long. They managed to get 59/1 in the Quick Start Overs. In came the burly left-hander, Daniel Flynn who gave a good support to him but he fell very cheaply. It was then left to Bradley Watling and the offie, Nathan McCullum to string together a gritty stand of 66 for the sixth wicket. That led them to 249 runs. Watling injured himself on his left leg and did not take the field while fielding. Nicol attained the best Batting Momentum of 74 for his crucial half-century, while Narine achieved the best Bowling Efficiency of 212 for his disciplined figures of 2/28 from 10 overs.
The big man, Chris Gayle was being troubled by the seamers early on. The young turk, Trent Boult, who made a good impact in his Test debut against Australia in 2011, started off in a splendid fashion against Gayle. In his first over itself, he kept troubling Gayle. What was noticeable and different about Boult was that he was not afraid to keep the ball pitched up on all occasions. He was unlucky as one edge off Gayle’s bat fell short of the slip cordon but he stuck to the line and was rewarded with his first ODI wicket, that of Johnson Charles. Nathan McCullum went onto take two crucial wickets of Kieron Pollard and Darren Sammy.
Russell did keep the game alive and he managed to hit 42 runs off just 24 balls. He scored 4 big hits in his mini cameo but he just ran out of partners and it was all over when Rampaul got holed out to Southee and the home side were bundled out for a meager 161. Russell achieved the highest Batting Momentum of 90, while Oram received the best Bowling Efficiency of 223 for his tight bowling figures of 2/22 from 7 overs.
New Zealand registered a thumping 88-run victory and on the Castrol Index, they finished with 50 points, compared to West Indies who finished with 39. Rob Nicol was named the Man of the Match for his half-century. Andre Russell, who took four wickets up and scored a fighting 42 runs, topped the Overall Castrol Performance points with 64.