MOUNT MAUGANUI: New Zealand will aim for its third series win against the Windies as Kane Williamson makes a return to captaincy in the second Twenty20 International on Monday (January 1) in Mount Maunganui.
It has been a tiring tour for the Windies with the visitor being swept 2-0 in the Test series and 3-0 in the One-Day Internationals that followed. One expected it to roar back into winning ways in the T20I format, of which it is the reigning champion. But an inspired spell from Seth Rance, the debutant, halted the dangerous Windies batting line-up as New Zealand bowled it out for a 47-run win in the first game.
Carlos Brathwaite’s men were relatively successful in restricting the likes of Martin Guptill at the top of the order and dragging the match back into their favour towards the end of the innings. But persistence and a bit of skill on the part of Colin Munro and Glenn Phillips, the latter being named the Man of the Match, allowed New Zealand to build a platform on which Mitchell Santner played a late cracker of an innings to lift the hosts to 187 for 7.
Unfortunately, Chris Gayle continued his lukewarm tour and managed only 12 off 10 balls as Rance managed to dismiss both him and Chadwick Walton, the other opener, in the same over to reduce Windies to 19 for 2. At one point in the innings, things looked bleak with Windies on 93 for 6 before it was ultimately bowled out for 140.
Williamson, though, remains wary of Gayle and the threat that he poses, with the veteran Jamaican having scored a massive unbeaten 146 off 68 balls that included a record 18 sixes earlier in the Bangladesh Premier League.
“He’s a fantastic player, probably the best T20 record in the game and can take the game away at any time,” Williamson said on his return to the New Zealand squad after sitting out the last three games. “If he gets away on you in 10 overs or so he can change a game and that’s what it’s about.”
One of the reasons why the Windies are two-time champions of the World Twenty20 is their ability to turn around matches with a single performance, a warning that New Zealand would do well to heed. “We know in this format the West Indies T20 side are one of the best sides in the world and we know that at any time they can turn it on,” said Williamson.
New Zealand : Kane Williamson (capt), Ross Taylor, Colin Munro, Martin Guptill, Glenn Phillips (wk), Anaru Kitchen, Tom Bruce, Mitchell Santner, Lockie Ferguson, Doug Bracewell, Ish Sodhi, Matt Henry, Tim Southee.
Windies: Carlos Brathwaite (capt), Samuel Badree, Sheldon Cottrell, Rayad Emrit, Andre Fletcher (wk), Chris Gayle, Jason Mohammed, Ashley Nurse, Shimron Hetmyer, Rovman Powell, Shai Hope, Jerome Taylor, Chadwick Walton, Kesrick Williams.