Conditions made batting easier, says Ross Taylor
New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor has said that the persistent drizzle in the first T20I against West Indies in Roseau aided the side's chase as the wet ball and outfield made batting a little easier. A rain interruption during West Indies' innings had reduced the game to 18-overs-a-side and the players played under a steady drizzle for most of the game. New Zealand were 12 runs ahead of the Duckworth-Lewis equation at the 15-over mark, when the game was halted due to rain.
"It's probably easier from the batting perspective when the ball is skidding on a bit," Taylor said. "West Indies had to bowl with a ball being like soap and getting it changed two-three times. I don't think I've ever played in a game like that. There was a big crowd and hopefully they got their money's worth."
New Zealand had restricted West Indies to 132 for 8 in 18 overs, despite a threatening partnership between Andre Fletcher and Darren Bravo shortly after the rain break. Taylor admitted that New Zealand were being pushed on the back foot by the pair but praised Tim Southee and Trent Boult for pulling things back. Once Corey Anderson broke the 88-run third-wicket partnership, West Indies floundered, taking just 34 off their last five overs and losing five wickets. Southee, in particular, mixed his pace well, troubling West Indies with bouncers of varied speeds.
"We had plans and the plans came off. I think the way Timmy and Boulty executed those were outstanding," Taylor said. "We started off very well but through the middle, they started getting partnerships and we were starting to get on the back foot. It looked like we could be chasing 150-155 off 18 overs on that wicket . It could have been very tough, specially with the rain around and Duckworth-Lewis. We'll take a lot of positives from that and hopefully, we can do the same tomorrow regardless of whether we are batting or bowling first."
Fletcher's knock was the pivotal one for West Indies, specially as it came after a rain break that found the side struggling slightly at 22 for 2 after five overs. Fletcher said the plan with Bravo was to score quick runs immediately after the rain break, before settling down to a more stable scoring-rate.
"At first we decided not to panic," Fletcher said. "After the rain, we decided in the first three to see if we can get up to 50 runs and, after that, take it up to eight runs an over and see if we can get some big overs. It worked out and we just hope that tomorrow, we are not in a position when too many wickets fall early but if I do get a bat then I can continue the great form."