West Indies v New Zealand, 3rd ODI, Basseterre, St Kitts July 10, 2012

Confident West Indies eye rare series win


Match facts

Wednesday, July 11
Start time 0930 (1330 GMT)

Big Picture

Much has been said about New Zealand's preparation for their tour of the West Indies not being ideal. What could have gone wrong for them, has. They were already missing a key player or two; they went ahead and had injuries galore. They were expected to be hammered. They have been so far.

But New Zealand have always fought their way through constraints of all kinds throughout their cricketing history. A wafer-thin player base, lack of funds, not many prodigious talents, you name it. 'Punching above their weight' has become second nature to them. Which is why it was even more disappointing to see them not show much fight so far on this tour.

Can they show some of that fight tomorrow? Can they play like the New Zealand we have come to know? It takes only one delivery to get even Chris Gayle out. Who knows how the West Indies middle order, full of hard-hitting allrounders, will tackle that situation, something they haven't faced in the past four games?

You would think that is the only factor West Indies have to manage. They seem to have pretty much everything else under control, and have their first ODI series win against top Test-level opposition in more than four years within sight.

Form guide

West Indies WWLLL (completed games, most recent first)
New Zealand LLLLL

Watch out for...

Nathan McCullum has said the New Zealand bowlers have made some plans for Chris Gayle that they "are pretty sure are going to work". That looks like asking a lot of an attack that has managed to take just six wickets in two games. But that could also be New Zealand's only chance. A batting line-up that relies on an international rookie like BJ Watling to be its top-scorer for two games running does not inspire any confidence at all.

The West Indies batting, barring Gayle, hasn't been tested all that much. While there have been creditable supporting acts from Marlon Samuels and Dwayne Smith, it has been Gayle who has been the driving force of the line-up. He now has five scores of fifty-plus from six innings since making his international comeback. He can't go on like this. The early dismissal will happen, maybe tomorrow, and it will be interesting to watch the approach of the other batsmen then.

Team news

Again, barring injuries, there seems to be no reason why West Indies would want to change a winning XI. Unless they want to replace the struggling Lendl Simmons and bring Johnson Charles in at the top. Darren Sammy did mention after the second ODI that he could be the one to be rested later in the series, but it probably will not be for a potential series-decider.

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

Brendon McCullum was expected to join the squad less than 24 hours before the start of Wednesday's game, and it will be asking too much to expect him to play. "We'll see how he feels," the coach John Wright told New Zealand reporters earlier. "It's a long journey [from New Zealand], that may be a little bit tight." New Zealand have the option of handing an ODI debut to left-arm fast bowler Trent Boult to beef up the attack, something Wright hinted they could go in for. Unfortunately, there are no options left to beef up the batting.

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

Stats and trivia

  • Lendl Simmons averages 9.00 this year from four ODIs and two Twenty20s
  • Kyle Mills needs two more wickets to overtake Chris Harris as the second-highest wicket-taker in ODIs for New Zealand, behind Daniel Vettori


    "At the end of the day we've just got to get him out."
    Nathan McCullum, the New Zealand offspinner, on the task that has seemed beyond his side so far - dismissing Chris Gayle

    Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • joseph on July 11, 2012, 12:23 GMT

    Even GAYLE got out early, this team has lot of power batting line up to score 250+. But it is WI, you can expect anything

  • Craig on July 11, 2012, 10:42 GMT

    @MrPiquet Neil Wagner is only in the test team at the moment but yes he should be in odis too even if he gives a few runs away at least his pace would help.

  • Reagan on July 11, 2012, 9:25 GMT

    I think NZ is wearing on the clothes WI used in the past 10 years and WI found the kit they used 20 years ago. I hope Sammy and his boys dont do laundry anytime soon...

  • Nick on July 11, 2012, 9:05 GMT

    Why are Nicol, Flynn, Brownlie and Latham in this side? Our whole batting line-up is pathetic without Ryder, McCullum, Taylor and Franklin. Wish Lou Vincent could come back too; considering his form in county cricket. If they'd selected Neil Wagner for the limited overs games, he would've had the pace to cause Gayle at least some trouble. Everyone knows that Kyle Mills' 125k length delieveries certainly aren't.

  • Dummy4 on July 11, 2012, 8:50 GMT

    Wondering WI is not a team..its an individual who performing for other nations! Eventhough they have all the spirit of cricket to dismantle any best squad in world cricket,but still they are failing as a team..they need some mental balance rather than going to ground in the morning for practise..

  • o on July 11, 2012, 7:56 GMT

    I want to see Best play a few games steaming in against these unconfident Kiwis I mean there is no need for Simmons in this 11 Best would probably do a better job opening the batting than him anyway haha at least he'd go at a run a ball.

  • Gordon on July 11, 2012, 7:46 GMT

    I have waited for three years to make a comment in this position where after two matches the West Indies is on the brink of playing for a win rather than hoping to stave off another defeat.

    It is a good feeling. However, I am wary of the fact that our bowling attack only looks good because of the tremendous batting contributions we have had. Narine is class, and Rampaul/Russell are still inconsistent, Sammy is our hope to make some change. I am not completely murmuring because a few months ago there was no mysterious leg spinner that was confounding the wise.

    However, Sammy needs to give the ball to Gayle, and shore up more tidy overs in the mid overs. I am concerned about how Waitling is building a rhythm. Maybe I am a fan for far too long. When things fall apart with us, it tends to happen in the worst way possible.

    But I am still hoping for a win.

  • trevor on July 11, 2012, 7:37 GMT

    Not so fast Binu, this team needs to win a series against one of the top teams before they flatter themselves about how good they are. Please no comparison to the 80s team yet.They need to play together @ least 3 more years, the batting needs to show that they are confident as well as consistent. If Gayle falls early then the talents of Smith, Samuels, Bravo & co must show that they can carry the team. No one is questioning their talent; It is the commitment to winning at all cost that will be the benchmark of this team.The hard work, the Will to succeed.

  • Mike on July 11, 2012, 7:07 GMT

    I've asked beofre... But... Where on earth Is Wagner...?

  • Dummy4 on July 11, 2012, 6:37 GMT

    west indies already had drawn the ODI Series against australia without gayle. now they are a stronger unit with addition of pollard, bravo, narine, smith . they emerge as front runners to win the twenty twenty world cup.

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