Ross Taylor likely to return for crunch game
Match factsSaturday, July 14
Start time 0930 (1330 GMT)
For the first four games of the tour, West Indies were clobbering New Zealand as they haven't clobbered any Test nation in a long time. However, a familiar collapse by the hosts in St Kitts opened the door for New Zealand, who have Brendon McCullum back in the side and probably their captain Ross Taylor as well.
West Indies' success was partly due to the rustiness and inexperience of New Zealand and partly due to Chris Gayle. There is probably no harder job in limited-overs cricket than to plan for Gayle, and New Zealand's stand-in captain Kane Williamson can't be faulted for his team failures. It looked like West Indies would wrap up the series in the third ODI, but then Gayle failed.
The manner in which West Indies collapsed to an 88-run loss showed why, despite looking unstoppable at times, they remain a work in progress. This was their chance to secure a first ODI series win against top-flight opposition in more than four years, and build on their performance during the drawn home series against Australia earlier this year. The target was modest, the bowling attack manageable, the ground small, and the track full of runs, but they capitulated.
On the other hand, New Zealand could have found the belief they need to compete in the series. To keep challenging West Indies, though, they will need a stronger effort from their batsmen, especially after the loss of BJ Watling, who made two half-centuries in three matches
Form guide(completed games, most recent first)
West Indies LWWLL
New Zealand WLLLL
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Brendon McCullum was not part of the original ODI squad, but joined the tour because of a spate of injuries in the team. He hasn't played for New Zealand since the home series against South Africa in March, and his last competitive fixtures were in the IPL, so he will want to shake off the rustiness as soon as possible.
Dwayne Smith made a comeback to West Indies' one-day squad after two years, in England. In five matches since, he scored two half-centuries - a marked improvement over three fifties in his previous 77 matches. He had batted in the lower order for most of his career, and often made the wrong choice of shot, and even in his new avatar as a No. 3, Smith's fifties have been flanked by innings where he has again given it away too easily.
Taylor, who hurt his shoulder during the first Twenty20, has recovered faster than expected and is likely to play. "I did say two to six weeks and I'm fortunate that it's come down to just two weeks," he said. "The stiffness and the pain has been going slightly and all going well it's looking very likely I'll play tomorrow." Watling, however, suffered a leg injury while batting during the third ODI in St. Kitts and is unavailable for selection. Brendon McCullum's return to the squad as wicketkeeper means Tom Latham is likely to play as a batsman. Fast bowler Doug Bracewell and medium-pacer Andrew Ellis will be available for selection after recovering from their injuries.
New Zealand: (possible) 1 Rob Nicol, 2 Martin Guptill, 3 Brendon McCullum (wk), 4 Kane Williamson, 5 Ross Taylor (capt), 6 Tom Latham, 7 Jacob Oram, 8 Tim Southee, 9 Nathan McCullum, 10 Doug Bracewell, 11 Kyle Mills.
West Indies are likely to continue with their strongest XI. However, wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin will miss the match to get married and has been replaced by Devon Thomas.
West Indies: (possible) 1 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 Devon Thomas (wk), 10 Ravi Rampaul, 11 Sunil Narine
Stats and trivia
- Brendon McCullum has scored 213 runs in 13 games against West Indies at an average of 23.66. His ODI career average is 30.47.
- West Indies have a 26-21 head-to-head record against New Zealand in all ODIs. However, in the last 10 years, New Zealand lead 11-4.
Quotes"We won't let one game dampen the spirit of the boys."
"It's nice to have Brendon in the camp and hopefully Ross is looking good for the next one. It was a real shame to lose BJ [Watling], who has been our stronghold in the batting order down at six."
Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.