West Indies v New Zealand, 1st T20, Roseau July 4, 2014

West Indies back to format they relish


Match Facts

July 5, 2014, Roseau
Start time 1400 (1800 GMT)

The Big Picture

Having had to scrap every inch of the way to secure a historic Test series win, it's only natural if New Zealand's intensity dips to an extent for the two T20s that end their tour. The fact that they haven't bothered to fly in any limited-overs specialists specifically for the T20 series only adds to the feeling that New Zealand aren't looking at this as a particularly high-priority task. .

Kane Williamson sought to play this down ahead of the first T20.

"It can be a challenge when you spend so much time away from home and you get close to leaving, but the guys are all focused on these two T20s and they want to enjoy them and it would be great to come away with some wins," he said. "We are always backing ourselves. We know the West Indies are one of the best teams in the world, if not the best team in the world, at this format so we know it will be a good challenge."

West Indies are close to being at full-strength, apart from their resting of Chris Gayle, and will present New Zealand very different questions from the ones they answered so comprehensively in whites. Krishmar Santokie, Sunil Narine and Samuel Badree represent, arguably, the best T20 attack in the world, and it will be a test for New Zealand's batsmen to adjust to facing things like slower balls and carrom balls all over again. Ross Taylor and Brendon McCullum, meanwhile, will want some runs after an ordinary time in whites, while Corey Anderson and Luke Ronchi will welcome some action having played no part in the Tests.

West Indies, by now, are familiar with the situation they face - a side full of limited-overs specialists looking to salvage a win or two after their team has lost a Test series. But within that are a few key personnel changes in the batting department. Dwayne Bravo is still quite a way from recovering from his shoulder injury, but that is balanced by the return of Keiron Pollard after a year out of international cricket. Lendl Simmons will look to carry the form from a successful IPL season into the international level, having had a relatively quiet T20I career so far. Marlon Samuels is out of the middle order, and Darren Bravo will most likely take his place.

Form guide

(Most recent first)

West Indies LWWWL
New Zealand LWLWW

Watch out for

After missing the Test series for choosing to play the IPL final rather than attend West Indies' preparatory camp for the first Test, Sunil Narine is back in international cricket. Sulieman Benn and Shane Shillingford, the spinners West Indies went with in the Test series, ended up with series bowling averages of 37.64 and 63.60. Narine's performance in the two T20s won't answer the question of whether his presence would have made a difference to West Indies in the Tests, but they may still be left wondering if New Zealand's batsmen struggle against him.

Kane Williamson was the Man of the Series in the Tests, and is in sublime batting form. During the World T20s, he was one of New Zealand's brightest sparks with the bat, scoring a 35-ball 51 against South Africa and a staggering 42, out of a total of 60 all out, against Sri Lanka. He demonstrated quite clearly in that innings that he was New Zealand's best player of spin, and his skills will once again be called on against Narine and Samuel Badree.

Venue and conditions

Windsor Park is hosting its first-ever international T20 match, and its first limited-overs game since May 2010, when it hosted its second ODI. There have been three Test matches at the venue since then, though, and a quick glance at the list of highest wicket-takers here suggests that the spinners will have a good time.

Team news

Darren Sammy returns to lead the side in the only format in which he captains West Indies. With a host of other short-form stars also back, West Indies are a formidable side even in the absence of Gayle and Dwayne Bravo.

West Indies (probable) 1 Dwayne Smith, 2 Lendl Simmons, 3 Andre Fletcher, 4 Darren Bravo, 5 Kieron Pollard, 6 Darren Sammy (capt), 7 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 8 Andre Russell, 9 Sunil Narine, 10 Samuel Badree, 11 Krishmar Santokie

New Zealand will promote Jimmy Neesham up to open alongside Williamson, in a bid to accommodate both Neesham and Corey Anderson in their limited-overs sides in the long term. McCullum said that Ish Sodhi will make his T20 international debut*. Otherwise, it's hard to say what combination they will go in with, considering they have retained their Test squad for the T20 series, and are therefore without a number of their short-format regulars, including Martin Guptill, Mitchell McClenaghan and Nathan McCullum.

New Zealand (possible) 1 Kane Williamson, 2 Jimmy Neesham, 3 Brendon McCullum (capt), 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Tom Latham/BJ Watling, 6 Corey Anderson, 7 Luke Ronchi (wk), 8 Ish Sodhi, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Neil Wagner/Mark Craig, 11 Trent Boult

Stats and trivia

    Sunil Narine loves bowling against New Zealand. He has taken 12 wickets against them, more than he has against any other team, and his average of 10.83 is bettered only by his average of 9.42 against Pakistan.

  • This is the first T20 meeting between the two teams in the West Indies. They have met each other five times in New Zealand, once in Sri Lanka, and twice in Lauderhill, Florida.

* 4.30am GMT July 5, 2014: The preview has been updated with the news that Ish Sodhi will play

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • jared on July 6, 2014, 7:00 GMT

    @ BlakeHoulihan, not sure why everyone is heading to auckland all at once, nicol is from there as are the cachopa lads, pretty big carrot for nicol to be offered the captaincy so i can understand his move and with hopkins retiring brad cachopa probably saw an oppotunity to move home and take over the gloves, that only left carl cachopa who probably just wanted to play with his two brothers. theres rumours now nethula wants to move back to auckland too, weakening CD even further. auckland have outsourced alot of players over the years i guess its only fair they get some back but some of the associations are really going to struggle this year, canterbury and CD will struggle to fill the void.

  • Blake on July 5, 2014, 14:13 GMT

    @kiwicricketnut Fair call mate. As long as we are talking about T20's first, and if successful, then ODIs, and if successful, possibly Tests. A gradual promotion over time (especially if Ryder is discarded). I'm terrified of the same thing you are - us throwing him in the deep end and ruining him, as we both agree this has been done to far to many other middle order players previously.

    Also can you shed some light on what the heck is going on with the chronic migration to Auckland by so many domestic players? I just heard the Cachopas are heading that way, along with some others we already know about. Surely the other domestic sides are going to be a bit thin batting wise this season, with Auckland having a ridiculous amount of top order batsman? Your inside knowledge on the domestic scene is really helpful to us kiwis living overseas.

    And the Richardson spastic spinner comment was classic hahaha

  • Dummy4 on July 5, 2014, 13:38 GMT

    WI will be out to make a ststement in the T20 against NZ. WI players take do love this format and at present have some of the best players in the world .

  • Dummy4 on July 5, 2014, 13:14 GMT

    The question is will Sammy ever be handed the best squad with the view of getting the best possible results? Are we willing to sacrifice the advancement of the WI cricket team as a whole over narrow personal objectives? How long will the construct of our WI TEAM continue to be influenced more so by the voting pattern at board elections instead of the actual performance and ability of the players themselves? Why was Dwayne Bravo who admitted that he was not fit to play cricket be selected to attend the preparatory camp ahead of the NZ tour at the expense of Sammy who was fully fit. Would Sammy have survived the captaincy of the test side if he was selected to the squad submitted to the board for ratifying the test captain? Question, question,....... question .

  • Dummy4 on July 5, 2014, 12:37 GMT

    It's great to have my man Sammy back, and it's also great to see Chris Gayle's back.. I hope it stays that way for all of West Indies Cricket. Will some one please tell me, how's it, that Gayle was able to play in the Test matches, which were scheduled for 15 days, but he's not available for the 20l20 matches, {the format that suits him best} which are scheduled for less than 24 hours? That's puzzling to me! We loss the Test series anyway, and the one time we won, was when we were presented with a 20/20 situation. Gayle felt very much at home then, so why isn't he included in the 20/20 series? Again, I'm puzzled! I also felt Mr. Ramdin had such a poor Test series, he should be rested, and given a chance to reflect, and prepare for the next test series. There's no need to push him into a meaningless 20/20 series. Much success to Sammy and the boys, in the 2-match series. I'll definitely be watching, from the comfort of my living room, right here in South Florida.

  • Android on July 5, 2014, 11:03 GMT

    Windies will win

    BETTER T20 team

  • jared on July 5, 2014, 9:58 GMT

    @ BlakeHoulihan you're right there is no talk of him going up the order in tests but if he succeeds there and does the bussiness don't you think the temptation for a promotion in the test line up will be too great to resist, if ryder is a lost cause then i think the coaches are looking at neesham to fill that void to partner guptill in the odis from there the next logical step is the top of the test order especially since anderson is a pretty good 6 in the test order, lets face it he couldn't do any worse than the incumbents (latham excluded) and if richardson can go from a pretty spastic spinner to a world class opener im sure someone with the talent neesham has could do the same, he definately has the skills.

  • joe on July 5, 2014, 9:50 GMT

    @ nikko chunn mate I don't think your the only one that was pushing neesham to open I know myself for one wanted him to open from the first test as did kiwicricketnut and alot of other NZ fans leaving comments on the articles leading up to this tour. But realize this decision is purely based on the fact they r using the test squad for these 2 matches. Or is neesham to partner guptill in the future as the replacement for Ryder who has run out of chances? As Ryder was the opener for the Indian series. Either way would like to see neesham open in test and do well but the fear is that he fails and then gets discarded despite the fact he did amazing at 8 & 6. Tough one really. Cheers

  • Dummy4 on July 5, 2014, 9:13 GMT

    I think it is a good idea to get Neesham to open the innings. If he does well, he could be tried for 50 overs 1 day matches, and finally Tests, why not? Remember Mark Richardson and Ravi Shastri, two successful Test openers, started their careers as specialist spinners and batted lower down the order. There is nothing wrong in experimenting. If successful, Kiwis will not only find a good opening batsman in Tests, besides it will allow them to include both Neesham and Corey Anderson. It would be a shame if electors are forced to choose one among the two.

  • Blake on July 5, 2014, 8:48 GMT

    But this is T20 cricket not Test cricket NikkoChun. Note how Hesson, McCullum and even Neesham himself have stated that this has nothing to do with promoting him up the order in Test cricket. Completely different kettle of fish to the earlier discussions. Besides, it's because Guptill isn't there, they need a fill in at the top of the order. They were always both going to be playing together in limited overs cricket, as has been the case in recent matches.

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