West Indies v New Zealand, 3rd ODI, Basseterre, St Kitts July 11, 2012

New Zealand get first win of tour to keep series alive


New Zealand 249 for 9 (Nicol 59, N McCullum 50, Russell 4-57) beat West Indies 161 (Russell 42*) by 88 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

New Zealand's tour seemed to have hit rock-bottom midway through the third ODI against West Indies when their only consistent batsman of the series, BJ Watling, joined their lengthy list of injured players. This was after their struggling and inexperienced batting line-up got the gift of a pancake-flat track, a tiny ground where the straight boundaries are only 60m long, and the chance to bat first, but could only reach 249. It was, the pundits agreed, a total that wouldn't challenge Chris Gayle & Co, and West Indies seemed set to continue their dominance in this series.

Instead, New Zealand had their best session of the series, and picked up their first win of the tour. The first sign that New Zealand weren't completely demoralised by their woeful performances so far came in the second over. Trent Boult fired in a yorker in his first ball in ODI cricket, which Gayle managed to squeeze out. The baby-faced Boult walked back to his mark with a smile, unfazed by the pressure of bowling to the most destructive batsman in the world.

All the talk in the lead-up to the match had been about how to stop the marauding Gayle - he had four fifty-plus scores in four games coming into this match. So far, Gayle had combined casual brutality with consistency to put West Indies in charge of every match. This time, though, he was out early, as he edged an away-going delivery from Tim Southee to slip, exposing West Indies' explosive-but-brittle batting line-up.

The one department in which New Zealand have been as good, if not better, than West Indies is the fielding. Today was no different, as they pulled off three run-outs and a sharp catch. That catch by Nathan McCullum sent back Dwayne Smith, who continues to infuriate and enthrall by turns, for 19. Dwayne Bravo was run out soon after, as he attempted a third after Southee had fired in a laser-guided throw from deep midwicket, which reached the bowler inches from the top of the stumps. Martin Guptill made up for his batting failures with a sensational stop at cover that resulted in Marlon Samuel's wicket - on making the save, Guptill instantly flung the ball towards middle stump at the striker's end to catch Samuels short of his ground.

Kieron Pollard whacked a full ball straight to deep square leg, and Darren Sammy played one from McCullum too early, lobbing a return catch to the bowler. West Indies had stuttered to 95 for 7 and the game was up, despite Andre Russell showing off some clean hitting and highlighting the lack of gremlins in the track at the end.

At the start of the match, far higher scores were predicted. Former fast bowler Ian Bishop was talking about how glad he is that he wouldn't have to bowl on this pitch, and former wicketkeeper Jeff Dujon was hoping there was a sufficient stock of balls as he expected plenty to be hit out of the park. That sort of talk ceased midway through New Zealand's innings, as they had lost half their side and were in the middle of a 12-over boundary-less spell.

An already flatlining innings shifted to an even lower gear as Rob Nicol, the only top-order batsman to capitalise on the perfect batting conditions, miscued a catch back to the bowler Samuels. New Zealand were 125 for 5 and the priority switched from looking to belt the bowling around, to trying to play out the entire quota of overs. Once again the young top order failed: Guptill added to his run of low scores, Daniel Flynn didn't improve his pedestrian ODI record, Tom Latham made 12 and Kane Williamson played-on for 9.

One man who would have thrived in these conditions, Brendon McCullum, wasn't picked as New Zealand decided to give him time to acclimatise - he only flew in to the Caribbean a day ago. His brother Nathan, promoted to No. 7 ahead of Jacob Oram, did more than what was expected of him, reaching his fourth ODI half-century, and Watling made his third significant contribution of the series to ensure New Zealand didn't collapse to an embarrassing score.

During a 66-run stand with McCullum, Watling again showed his enterprising brand of batting. There were scoops, sweeps and his bread-and-butter nudge in front of square leg, and with West Indies trying to force him to score on the off side, he unleashed several cuts and a terrific inside-out lofted drive over extra cover for six.

He exited trying another scoop, after which McCullum started to take more risks, even hooking Dwayne Bravo over deep-backward square leg for six. Till Watling's dismissal in the 41st over, McCullum had been cautious, happy to work the singles and make sure no more wickets went down. He finally fell in the final over of the innings, pretty much making sure no overs went to waste.

It still looked too small a total for New Zealand to defend, but a combination of kamikaze batting, outstanding fielding and disciplined bowling proved enough to consign West Indies to their fourth straight defeat at Warner Park.

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Hildreth on July 13, 2012, 7:06 GMT

    VERY POOR PERFORMANCE BY WEST INDIES ! Sammy seems to be mentally drained or else why would he bowl first on such a flat pitch. His use of bowlers was puzzling. Why bowl RAMPAUL all his overs when he was struggling at over 5 an over and why didn't he give either GAYLE or SMITH a bowl ? These guys are very experienced bowlers but have hardly bowled a ball in this ODI series. SAMMY is an all-rounder himself and should know that bowling helps the confidence of the batsmen especially when they get a wicket. I have said it before that there is need for more SPECIALIST in the ODI team. SMITH and CHARLES look more suited for 20/20 cricket & should be replaced by CARTER and CHANDERPAUL at the top of the batting order. I think the WI SELECTORS are getting it all MIXED-UP in selecting ODI & 20/20 teams. ODI is a much longer format requiring more specialist batsmen & bowlers. All the top ODI teams spot very strong batting & spec bowlers. Also RAMPAUL & SAMMY need a rest repl by JOHNSON & MCLEAN.

  • John on July 12, 2012, 14:21 GMT

    @SNIFFLEATHER on (July 12 2012, 09:49 AM GMT), as I said in my earlier comment, I think that they are capable of doing reasonably well without Gayle in the team but, as soon as he is in the team, they tend to rely on him too much. That's just a theory from an armchair critic though.

  • Delbert on July 12, 2012, 13:23 GMT

    Gd to see Kiwi's keeping series alive, however, expect west indies to wrap series on saturday. I think Sammy should just captain the test squad only, maybe after the t2 world cup, whether west indies win it or not. He should have batted first after winning the toss in such a small ground.

  • Earl on July 12, 2012, 11:44 GMT

    Why is the W.I team the only team except India that has the same person as captain for all formats of the game? The Indian captain performs at a high standard in all formats...ours does not.Witness how many overs he bowls and how low he bats.The two worse batting displays came from Ramdin and Sammy.Sammy played one lovely stroke,but Ramdin has no idea about batting.He should be replaced along with Rampaul,who needs to rest before the test matches.I wonder about our batsmen been able to pick gaps in the field to score.Too many bad balls hit with power straight to fielders.Batting in nets does not prepare batsmen to pick gaps.Holder or Johnston should replace Rampaul,Benn replace Sammy and Dowrich replace Ramdin.

  • Dummy4 on July 12, 2012, 10:23 GMT

    Please Sammy stand aside and let a pace bowler play you are not really contributing when the team needs you

  • o on July 12, 2012, 9:51 GMT

    In regards to this game I couldn't believe how easy they seemed to give it away Rampaul summed it up at the end what kind of foolishness was that I mean really trying to hit a 6 ? WHY when Russell was going so well at the other end it was still under a run a ball ! Where is the strategy why were these guys at the top getting run out when the score was not even high to chase where is the game plan with these guys can they not get their heads down in tough situations and at least fight it out instead of folding like cowards pathetic display.

  • Carl on July 12, 2012, 9:49 GMT


    You are wrong. Gayle didn't face the Australians earlier this season, when West Indies drew the series with them. So no, this team does not always fall apart whenever Gayle fails, however talismanic he may be.

  • o on July 12, 2012, 9:44 GMT

    These dead tennis ball bounce pitches do nothing for W.I cricket when India and Bangladesh come barring Barbados these wickets make them feel like they're the home side ! the same can be said about this Kiwi 11 who would much rather play on these kinda of slow tracks where the ball does not come on to the bat for our power batsman and offer soemthing for pace bowling. W.I need to get harder fast tracks and pick some fast bowlers these all rounders cannot cut it in Test match or ODI as openers / first change strike attack.

  • Nigel on July 12, 2012, 9:42 GMT

    This goes out to the coach and captain, can they tell me why Andre Russell always bat so low down in the lineup when his average is just over 30. Ever since i saw him made his debut against Sri lanka in sri lanka i said to myself what a great find for my caribbean team he has so much talent and ability.Once he remains fit i know he can become an excellent allrounder with a batting & bowling averages of at least 40 &25 please wicb don't waste this young talent. I Nigel of Trinidad & Tobago beg u

  • o on July 12, 2012, 9:38 GMT

    @Ajay Vishwanath What are you talking about Samuels also hit a ton that game W,I amassed 315, I agree with m_rbhat on direction and to many all rounders Pollard's place is not looking good he's not good enough as a batsman.

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