West Indies v New Zealand, 1st ODI, Kingston July 4, 2012

West Indies' best chance for rare series win

Match facts

Thursday, July 5
Start time 0930 (1430 GMT)

Big Picture

West Indies have long been at that level where mediocrity becomes so much of a routine that you lose track of how poor they have actually become. It has been more than four years since they have won an ODI series against Test-level opposition, apart from Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. That is 14 straight bilateral series. Recent performances and the current opposition give a faint glimmer of hope, though, that the woeful run could end.

West Indies tied a hard-fought series with Australia at home in March. They were expected to be beaten, but they fought. Another factor in their favour is that their opponents, New Zealand, are fellow laggards. They are ranked seventh, a point ahead of West Indies in the ICC one-day rankings, and a gulf separates the two and sixth-ranked Pakistan. Since December 2008, New Zealand have won only one bilateral ODI series against top Test-level opposition. They have even suffered a 0-4 rout to Bangladesh.

If the Twenty20s were a sign of things to come, New Zealand stand no chance. They were hammered in both games in Florida. The ODI format does afford a team the time to withstand shocks and come back. But on paper, things look loaded against New Zealand. They are coming off after a long break, the conditions certainly won't suit them, West Indies are packed with power-hitters and New Zealand are without their injured captain Ross Taylor and other key players. Again, it's time to 'punch above their weight'.

Form guide

West Indies LLLWT (completed games, most recent first)
New Zealand LLLWW

Watch out for...

This is the best chance for Darren Sammy to record his first ODI series win over top opposition. All the talk during his captaincy has been about 'team over individuals', building for the future and encouraging youth. They need to start winning some as well.

It will be a tough initiation to captaincy for Kane Williamson, the youngest to lead New Zealand, and of whom much is expected for many years to come. At the very least, this short leadership stint, till Taylor comes back, can only build his character. And offer New Zealand a glimpse into the long-term future.

Team news

West Indies have stuck to the same squad that lost the ODI series to England, minus Darren Bravo and Fidel Edwards. Again, the choice to be made will be which allrounder to leave out.

West Indies: (possible) 1 Lendl Simmons, 2 Chris Gayle, 3 Dwayne Smith, 4 Marlon Samuels, 5 Dwayne Bravo, 6 Kieron Pollard, 7 Darren Sammy (capt), 8 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 9 Tino Best, 10 Ravi Rampaul, 11 Sunil Narine

New Zealand have added fast bowler Trent Boult to the squad for the one-dayers. He was already part of the Test squad but is yet to make his ODI debut. Jacob Oram missed the second Twenty20 on Sunday with a knee strain but is expected to be fit for the ODIs.

New Zealand: (possible) 1 Rob Nicol, 2 Martin Guptill, 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Daniel Flynn, 5 Dean Brownlie, 6 Tom Latham/BJ Watling (wk), 7 Jacob Oram, 8 Tim Southee, 9 Nathan McCullum, 10 Doug Bracewell/Tarun Nethula 11 Kyle Mills

Stats and trivia

  • The last time New Zealand toured the West Indies for a bilateral series was in 2002
  • The last time Chris Gayle played for West Indies at Sabina Park, his home ground, was in June 2009


    "Without Brendon and Ross in the side we lose a bit of that experience. We've got quite a young batting line-up, but the guys are picked in this squad for a reason."
    New Zealand's Martin Guptill thinks his team-mates are capable of stepping up in the absence of the senior players

    "We are looking for consistency. For the past few home series we have not started well and have played catch up."
    Darren Sammy, West Indies' captain, is hoping for a decent start to the series

    Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo