New Zealand comfortably chased down the target of 249 set by the Windies in the first ODI of the three-match series, winning the game by 5 wickets. West Indies struggled to get their innings going after a slow start from usually explosive batsmen, resulting in a low score and a relatively easy match for the Black Caps.
West Indies’ problems continue to mount as Chris Gayle was announced to be a doubt for the second match. With him ruled out, things look increasingly dire for the hosts before their bid for World Cup qualification. Will the Black Caps make it 2-0, or will the Windies somehow earn a victory?
Jason Holder (c), Jason Mohammed, Ronsford Beaton, Shannon Gabriel, Chris Gayle, Kyle Hope, Shai Hope, Evin Lewis, Nikita Miller, Ashley Nurse, Rovman Powell, Kesrick Williams, Sheldon Cottrell, Chadwick Walton, Shimron Hetmyer.
Tom Latham (c), Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Colin Munro, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Henry Nicholls, Ross Taylor, George Worker, Neil Broom, Mitchell Santner, Doug Bracewell, Seth Rance.
Where the teams stand
West Indies will desperately be hoping that their star opener regains fitness ahead of their second ODI against New Zealand. As one of their best, he will leave a huge hole at the top of the order, one that will most likely be filled by Kyle Hope. Their batting is disarray, it is hard to imagine the visitors being able to string together a positive performance with the resources available. Lewis played a decent hand of 76 from 100, which, by normal standards, would be considered a disappointing performance, but the Windies will have to make do in the absence of other batsmen who can do even that out in the middle. Rovman Powell scored an excellent 59 from 50, making his case for a promotion in the batting order to increase the scoring rate for his side. Shai Hope got out first ball last time, but he is one of the few batsmen his team will be relying on for a good score. Jason Mohammed and Holder also need to start contributing more with the bat.
All they need is one batsman to step up and play a big innings, with another supporting him by rotating the strike on the other end. If they can manage that, they might have some hope. Another area West Indies need to improve upon is their bowling, which has been very ordinary for a while now. They failed to get early wickets in the last match, and it cost them the game as every one of the top four crossed 35 to contribute to the team score. Perhaps they could take a leaf out of the hosts’ book. With no real backups on the bench, the same bowling attack from the first ODI needs to start supporting the cause. West Indies have a long way to go before they can be considered a challenge.
New Zealand failed to get early wickets too, but they managed to keep the Gayle-Lewis pair extremely quiet, with both having strike rates in the 70s despite facing 31 and 100 balls, respectively. This enabled them to pile the pressure on the middle order, which they did further by bowling out the next four cheaply. Doug Bracewell was commendable on debut, taking 4 wickets, albeit with a high economy of 6.9. It will be interesting to see if New Zealand drop Astle for Santner, given that the former was excellent. He ended with figures of 3-33, enviable numbers for any spinner. It would be disappointing for Astle if he was still dropped, but he impressed one and all on debut.
The collective batting effort put up by the Black Caps ensured that they comfortably chased down the total put up by the Windies. Latham will be hoping that his team can do something similar in the coming games and avoid putting pressure on themselves. Williamson has been rested for the remaining two ODIs, with Neil Broom set to be his replacement. The batting looked quite comfortable against some mediocre bowling from the hosts, and if things remain that way, New Zealand will continue dominating games.
New Zealand win. West Indies will need something special to overcome the Black Caps. Bar a miracle, or a spectacular collapse, the home side should win this.
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