Ryder, McCullum help NZ level series
A wonderful opening partnership of 130 from Jesse Ryder (62) and Brendon McCullum (59) proved the difference for New Zealand as they won the second Twenty20 international against West Indies in Hamilton by 36 runs, thus levelling the series 1-1.
After beginning the tour with a string of low scores, Ramnaresh Sarwan (53) played brilliantly, bringing up his half-century off just 30 balls and looked more like the player that once averaged comfortably over 50.00 in ODIs. However, it proved in vain as West Indies finished short of their target of 192.
Earlier in the day, Ryder and McCullum gave New Zealand the perfect start before the visitors fought back gallantly to restrict the home side to 191 for 9. The two added a whirlwind 130 from just 70 balls, but McCullum's departure signalled the collapse of nine wickets for just 61 runs as West Indies surged back into the match.
McCullum faced 34 balls and hit six fours and four sixes, while Ryder used 41 balls to hit seven fours and three sixes. Both were brutal on anything too full or too short and, ultimately, it was their fireworks that gave the hosts the edge.
However, the West Indies really tightened the screws once McCullum departed and the collapse followed. Captain Chris Gayle was once again the pick of the bowlers for the visitors with two for 27, while Kieron Pollard and Jerome Taylor finished with two wickets apiece.
During the chase, Ewen Thompson made a dream start to his international career by removing the dangerman Gayle with just his second ball.
Gayle, who single-handedly led his team to victory in the first match at Auckland, tried to flick a slower ball from Thompson over midwicket but holed out to Jacob Oram at deep square-leg. Thompson ended up with 1 for 18 off three overs after beginning his spell with a wicket maiden.
The visitors failed to recover from the poor start with the bat and with the required run-rate rising, Xavier Marshall (10) took on Tim Southee with the first ball of his spell, only to be caught at long-off by Daniel Flynn.
The previously immovable Shivnarine Chanderpaul was caught by Oram on the midwicket boundary from a top-edged sweep off Daniel Vettori for 5.
However, Sarwan was striking the ball sweetly, particularly straight down the ground, and gapping the ball to perfection. He gave his side a real chance of victory before skying a slower ball from Oram to Southee at mid-on, effectively ending the chase at 87 for 5.
Pollard (38) and Denesh Ramdin (30), however, gave the West Indies some late hope, adding 68 off 40 balls. They kept their side in the match, but they were always behind in the chase. And it got worse after Jeetan Patel had both caught in the deep in the final over.
Vettori's introduction brought about the usual end to the scoring, as the visitors failed to cope with the asking rate. He was superb once again, changing his pace but most importantly bowling a tight line without allowing the West Indies batsmen a chance to get away.
He claimed 2 for 19 from four economical overs, while Patel ended the match with a double wicket-maiden and figures of 2 for 12.