New Zealand v West Indies, 5th ODI, Napier January 12, 2009

Weather threatens to disrupt final fling

Cricinfo staff

Match facts

January 13, 2009
Start time Noon (2300 GMT)

Big Picture

Chris Gayle scored a masterful 197 in Napier three weeks ago. Can he deliver in coloured clothing, when West Indies need it? © Getty Images
The Tests and Twenty20s were shared, and now the one-day series is dexterously poised at 1-1. And - just to keep with a familiar pattern over the last six weeks - the weather stands prepared to throw a spanner into the works. Intermittent rain is forecast in Napier for Tuesday's match, increasing the prospect of the five-match series sputtering to a 1-1 scoreline.

New Zealand and West Indies will hope the forecasts are completely wrong, because both sides are frantic to grab a series in what has been a tour of stalemates. Incentive, thankfully, will not be a worry.

New Zealand, ranked three places above West Indies at No. 8, face a winner-takes-all situation to defend a home record of five series wins and a draw since December 2005. Daniel Vettori, the captain, has expressed his pleasure with the majority of New Zealand's performances, but there's no denying the sense of authority the home side search.

West Indies are chasing their first series win in New Zealand since a 3-0 scoreline in 1995. Chris Gayle has readily admitted that the catching has been poor, and he knows how important it is that West Indies return home with a win.

ODI form guide (last five completed games, most recent first)

West Indies: LWLLL
New Zealand: WLWWL

Watch out for

Martin Guptill, who carried his bat and wrote himself into the history books with an unbeaten 122 on debut at Eden Park, breaking Stephen Fleming's record (90) for the highest ODI score by a New Zealander in his first match. Guptill was dropped three times before he reached 35, but rode his luck to guide New Zealand to 275 for 4. He hardly resembled a debutant after a scratchy start and, positively for his side, his century put in the shade the Jesse Ryder fiasco.

Chris Gayle has been in good form this tour. He showed his devastating power in West Indies' win in the Boxing Day Twenty20, and was batting on an impending match-turning 46 when rain forced the abandonment of the fourth ODI in Auckland. Back at the venue where he scored a brilliant 197 during the second Test three weeks ago, Gayle once again remains West Indies' best shot at victory.

Team news

Ryder comes straight back into the team after drinking indiscretions in Wellington last week saw him being stood down for Saturday's washed-out match in Auckland. Ryder, 24, will go back to opening with Brendon McCullum while Guptill will bat at No. 3, the spot he was initially selected for. The line-up looks strong - McCullum, Ryder and Ross Taylor should provide the explosive strokeplay while Guptill, Daniel Flynn and Neil Broom offer ballast. Mark Gillespie, who was preferred to Jeetan Patel in Auckland, should retain his spot.

New Zealand: (probable) 1 Brendon McCullum (wk), 2 Jesse Ryder, 3 Martin Guptill, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Daniel Flynn, 6 Neil Broom, 7 Grant Elliott, 8 Daniel Vettori (capt), 9 10 Tim Southee, 11 Kyle Mills.

Neither Sewnarine Chattergoon nor Xavier Marshall has managed to truly grab their opportunities this series. Chattergoon has looked out of place in the ODIs, while for Marshall this tour has been riddled with low scores. Chattergoon should play, but Marshall will face competition in the middle order from Shawn Findlay. Jerome Taylor was rested for the previous match and, given the magnitude of this ODI, should play. If he is passed fit, there are two options for West Indies - play four fast bowlers and rest the left-arm spinner Nikita Miller, or overlook Edwards, who has not had a good series when compared to Daren Powell's success with the new ball and Lionel Baker's economical spells.

West Indies: (probable) 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Sewnarine Chattergoon, 3 Ramnaresh Sarwan, 4 Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 5 Shawn Findlay, 6 Brendan Nash, 7 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 8 Jerome Taylor, 9 Daren Powell, 10 Nikita Miller, 11 Lionel Baker.

Pitch and conditions

New Zealand and West Indies have carried the bad weather around with them during the one-day series and they were greeted by drizzle on arrival in Napier. The fifth ODI is scheduled for a belter of a track at McLean Park so, if the weather holds up, West Indies would hope their batsmen make good use of the conditions.

Stats and Trivia

  • West Indies have lost both their matches in Napier, both after 2000.
  • Fifteen of 28 completed matches at McLean Park have been won by the team batting second.
  • Daniel Vettori is the highest wicket-taker at McLean Park, with 19 victims at 33.52.


"This is the ultimate must-win game. It decides the whole series, the Test matches have been drawn and the Twenty20s have been drawn. This is the real decider."
Daniel Vettori isn't short of motivation.

"I'm in good form. The last innings is the one that's going to count."
Chris Gayle, as always, is laconic in his assertion of anything relating to himself.