[www.inewsguyana.com] – Following their demoralising Test series defeat, West Indies found solace in the format they relish the most by squaring the T20s 1-1 with an all-round performance in Roseau.
West Indies was guilty of not putting enough runs on the board on Saturday, but they addressed that issue by posting a competitive 165 in an uninterrupted innings.
Their bowlers choked New Zealand, with the spinners and medium-pacers proving difficult to hit. Never at any stage did New Zealand pose a threat and the lack of lasting partnerships led to their downfall.
Unlike on Saturday, when West Indies struggled to gain traction either side of a rain interruption, the batsmen found momentum via a solid second-wicket of stand of 66 between Andre Fletcher and Lendl Simmons and in the last five overs, when 56 were scored.
Simmons described the pitch as one with tennis-ball bounce, with a few balls stopping on the batsmen, but West Indies saw through an edgy beginning and ensured they kept wickets intact for a late surge.
Fletcher was lucky to survive early in his innings when he set off for a single from the non-striker’s end and was sent back by Simmons; Fletcher had given up but the bowler Trent Boult missed the mark. After that, Fletcher charged down the track to the seamers and targeted the straighter boundaries Simmons regularly shuffled across his stumps to target fine leg and third man.
Given how the batsmen struggled on Saturday, the pair showed greater intent to get on with it. Simmons moved across his stumps to Corey Anderson and scooped it for six over fine leg and in the same over, played a glorious extra cover drive.
Anderson had the last laugh against Simmons when he caught him at long-on. Anderson caught the ball and threw it up as he back-pedalled outside the boundary but managed to jog back in and take it on the second attempt.
Boult came up with a more spectacular effort later in the innings when he had Pollard caught at deep midwicket. He plucked it one-handed, threw it up and caught the ball again with a full-length dive from outside the boundary. Those two postcard moments were the only takeaways for New Zealand in the match. Their slower bowlers, Ish Sodhi and Kane Williamson couldn’t impose themselves in the manner in which Samuel Badree and Sunil Narine managed later on.
In the first ODI, West Indies managed only a paltry 6.80 in the last five overs but a day later, they cranked it up to 11.20. Fletcher sped towards his third T20 fifty with a scooped six over long-off. He was yorked by Boult for 62 but his exit didn’t slow down West Indies as Darren Sammy and Andre Russell took the score past 160.
New Zealand decided to rotate the captaincy by putting Williamson in charge and although he top-scored, he failed to anchor the innings. Brendon McCullum swung his bat around but his soft dismissal increased the pressure on Williamson. New Zealand’s other power hitters, Jimmy Neesham and Anderson didn’t make an impact. Narine and Badree applied the stranglehold by not going for more than five an over.
New Zealand needed a massive 91 off the last ten but even at that stage, they still had three more Narine overs to contend with. They also had the awkward slower balls from Pollard to negotiate, and with every desperate swing and a miss from the middle and lower order, the asking rate climbed. Sheldon Cottrell, brought in for this game, got the in-form Neesham early to give West Indies the first advantage and there was no looking back.