New Zealand v West Indies, 2nd T20, Wellington January 14, 2014

Final opportunity for NZ to stamp their authority

The Preview by Karthik Krishnaswamy

Match facts

Wednesday, January 15, 2014
19:00 local (06:00 GMT)

Big Picture

Having looked the better team for most of the ODI series, New Zealand ended up having to share the spoils after losing the final match in Hamilton. Brendon McCullum, their captain, spoke of how that loss hurt the players, and how they will need to start closing out series "if we're serious about trying to win big tournaments".

Wellington offers New Zealand another opportunity to close out a series. If they don't do that against a makeshift West Indies outfit, cobbled together in the absence of its biggest names, it makes their task in the World T20 in Bangladesh that much harder.

Averages aren't supposed to matter that much in T20 cricket, but they certainly do show the difference between the two teams playing this series. New Zealand have three batsmen averaging over 35, while West Indies have no one with an average higher than Dwayne Bravo's 28.80, if you ignore Nikita Miller's average of 43 courtesy four not outs in five innings.

West Indies are without Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Kieron Pollard and Darren Sammy, but questions can still be asked of their selectors, considering the fact that their team in Auckland contained three wicketkeeper-batsmen (and their squad contains a fourth, Denesh Ramdin). Clearly, the lack of specialist batsmen is hurting West Indies, and that might continue in Wellington.

West Indies, however, possess a decent bowling attack. A heavy defeat in Auckland might cause them to reconsider playing three spinners, but that, apart from a rare off day for Sunil Narine, wasn't the reason they conceded 189. Narine, Samuel Badree and Miller could well prove their best hope of restricting New Zealand at a venue where spinners have an economy rate of 6.34 and seamers 8.04.

What West Indies might need to reconsider is their seam attack. Tino Best and Andre Russell were ineffectual in Auckland, and the team management will wonder if they should field Jason Holder in place of one of them.

Form guide

New Zealand WLWWL(last five completed matches)
West Indies LLLWW

In the spotlight

Adam Milne averages 172.00 with the ball in ODIs and 78.50 in T20Is. He's only just starting his career, though, and the number everyone's looking at right now is the one on the speedgun. In Auckland, Milne consistently clocked speeds of over 145kph and twice crossed 150 while taking 1 for 15 in four overs. New Zealand are blessed with a talented group of fast bowlers; Milne could yet prove the most exciting of the lot.

West Indies picked three spinners in the first T20I, and the presence of two seam-bowling allrounders made their attack look balanced on paper. In reality, one of their two allrounders is yet to justify the billing. Andre Russell will want to forget Auckland in a hurry; he was taken out of the attack after going for 23 in one over and was out for a second-ball duck. It wasn't just a one-off. With a highest score of 23* in 16 matches, a bowling average of 237 and an economy rate of 10.77, Russell will quickly need to show West Indies what exactly he brings to their table in this format.

Team news

Ravi Rampaul flew home with a thumb injury, leaving West Indies short in an area they are struggling in. Best was expensive in Auckland. Holder, who was impressive during the ODI series, might replace him and make his debut.

West Indies (probable) 1 Johnson Charles, 2 Kieran Powell, 3 Andre Fletcher (wk), 4 Lendl Simmons, 5 Dwayne Bravo (capt), 6 Andre Russell, 7 Chadwick Walton, 8 Nikita Miller, 9 Sunil Narine, 10 Tino Best/Jason Holder, 11 Samuel Badree

New Zealand are likely to stick to the same XI that played in Auckland.

New Zealand (probable) 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Jesse Ryder, 3 Brendon McCullum (capt), 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Colin Munro, 6 Corey Anderson, 7 Luke Ronchi (wk), 8 Nathan McCullum, 9 James Neesham, 10 Tim Southee, 11 Adam Milne

Stats and trivia

  • Teams batting second have won the last four T20Is at the Westpac Stadium
  • Sunil Narine's figures of 0 for 46 were his worst, by a distance, in T20Is


"At the top of the order, we need to put more thought and emphasis into the game. We have nothing to prove to anyone and we just have to focus on what we have to do. "
Dwayne Bravo, on what West Indies' batsmen need to do to boost their chances of winning

"I'd love to be able to get to 160 [kph], but I'm not sure if that's in my realm."
Adam Milne, on being asked how fast he thinks he could bowl, after clocking 153kph in the first T20I

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Aamir on January 15, 2014, 6:47 GMT

    @dganger Outsiders won't understand this. Lets keep it to ourselves n just enjoy cricket. Ross taylor, Mcllum along with some talented fast bowlers taking on Dhoni, Kohli n co makes for an exciting n hard competition. Looking forward to it.

  • ESPN on January 15, 2014, 5:50 GMT

    20 percent of 1.5 billion is still 300 million mate .. 295 million more than nz. No leg to stand on

  • john on January 15, 2014, 5:42 GMT

    Please mr Richhardson, mark..put the silly bail sound test away!!..worst sky gimmick I have ever seen...haha.bad.

  • anindya andy on January 15, 2014, 5:41 GMT

    @everybody guys upcoming nz vs india vl be a cool got a strong base now as tgeir bowling is superior to india.only thing they lack is a consistent stable batsman.I think most talented batsman in this nz squad is kane williamson. milne vl be good to watch if he's given a chance against the strong batting line up of india.sheer pace is aleays cool;-) waiting for the next series

  • Doppel on January 15, 2014, 5:21 GMT

    @Sam Fisher.....your questions again highlights the basic ignorance on understanding demographics and socio-economical culture. Too many people raises this silly question but understand this, out of that 1.5 billion people you have quoted, out of that 32 % of people as per Indian govt set of parametres are poor, i.e people who earns less than 13 $ in villages and 16$ in cities in a month. Forget bout playing cricket, the basic need of shelter, sanitation and two time food is a luxury to them. If u ignore this ridiculous parametres set by Indian Govt, roughly 70 % of the population is actually poor, they struggle for their daily living. Compare this with your western standard of living, if thr is q population of even 1000, almost 800 people can afford a car. So its not a question of numbers my friend, cricket exposure is still limited to 6 metros and Tier 1/2 cities which is roughly 20 % of the population. out of that proper infrastructure is available mainly in prime cities.

  • Aamir on January 15, 2014, 4:36 GMT

    Wow its great to hear someone being so confident abt bowling faster.

  • jared on January 15, 2014, 4:31 GMT

    @ nikko chunn your probably right about the strogest bowling line up but you have to develop milne as well, he isn't going to get better in the nets, southee had pretty crap stats for a long time but we invested in his talent and we are now reaping the rewards, same must be done with milne he is an exciting prospect and despite what you say he can swing the ball and if a guy gets it right at 150kms they are unplayable. @ sam fisher they don't have to be the best in the world they control the game with their money not their skill, just ask south africa, best team in the world still has to bow to their commands, shame really but money talks.

  • Dummy on January 15, 2014, 3:16 GMT

    The West Indies has to show some pride and guts,leveling the series means a lot but they will have to focus and execute their game plan well.

    The bats men have to perform well similarly to their performance in the last ODI,and the bowlers have to consistently bowl good line and length.

  • Ed on January 15, 2014, 2:57 GMT

    Really happy with how NZ are going - so great to see them coming out of the rebuilding period and starting to really challenge bigger teams. Milne is the fastest bowler in the World (no one else is even near his speeds of 153kph !) and he also looks pretty accurate !!!

  • ESPN on January 15, 2014, 1:42 GMT

    How are India not the best in the world at cricket there infrastructure must be terrible. They have 1.5 billion people . Nz best in the world at rugby and only have a population of five mil. You should really be pretty upset .