New Zealand 126 for 8 (Vincent 42) tied with West Indies 126 for 7- New Zealand win 3-0 in bowl-out

New Zealand beat West Indies 3-0 in a bowl-out after the match itself had ended in a tie. Chasing a modest target of 127, they had seemed down and out when they started the last over needing 17 with eight wickets down. But James Franklin smacked the second ball from Ian Bradshaw for six and then Shane Bond hammered a four off the final delivery to level the scores and set up a rather farcical finale.
With nine overs remaining, New Zealand needed 47 runs with seven wickets in hand - a straightforward task in Twenty20. But West Indies, after slumbering through three-quarters of the match as if they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, suddenly woke up. In the next seven overs, Dwayne Smith and Chris Gayle conceded only 31 runs as New Zealand slid to 110 for 8.

West Indies score of 126 for 7 seemed well below par. It was their first match in this format, and it showed as their batsmen struggled to score at anything near the rate which has become the accepted norm.

Daren Ganga, opening the innings, made 26 off 32 balls, almost criminally slow, and the rest of the side hardly fared better. As the reality of the situation dawned on them, they lost quick wickets without really accelerating. In Twenty20 a dot ball is almost unforgiveable - but the 14th and 15th overs of the innings yielded only five singles. Shivnarine Chanderpaul did, belatedly, seem to grasp the need to hit out, but after cracking two fours off a Chris Cairns over, he perished attempting another big hit.

It took Denesh Ramdin, the youngest in the West Indies side, to show his elders what was needed, cracking the first two balls he faced for four, but by then time was almost up.
But Bond's strike meant that it all came down to the bowl-out, and the number of times the stumps were missed would have had old timers spluttering into their beer. The first six bowlers - 12 balls - failed to record one strike. But then Bond again came up trumps, hitting twice, and after Bradshaw recorded another two blanks, Scott Styris finished things off with his first ball.

Twenty20 has grabbed the public's imagination almost everywhere, and the 20,000+ crowd packed in here showed that New Zealand is no exception. The stands were littered with banners praising Cairns, who bowed out of international cricket after this match. He has graced many bigger stages, but taken part in few games with a finish like this. It was, however, rather sad that his last act was to miss the stumps twice in the bowl-out.

  • Mark Richardson had his last slow-coach race in his beige lycra suit during the break in innings. He came second to Jerome Kaino, an Auckland Blues rugby player.