Playing their final 20-over game before the World T20, New Zealand look to close out the series against a patched-up West Indies side
The Preview by Karthik Krishnaswamy
Wednesday, January 15, 2014 19:00 local (06:00 GMT)
Having looked the better team for most of the ODI series, New Zealand ended up having to share the spoils after losing the final match in Hamilton. Brendon McCullum, their captain, spoke of how that loss hurt the players, and how they will need to start closing out series "if we're serious about trying to win big tournaments".
Wellington offers New Zealand another opportunity to close out a series. If they don't do that against a makeshift West Indies outfit, cobbled together in the absence of its biggest names, it makes their task in the World T20 in Bangladesh that much harder.
Averages aren't supposed to matter that much in T20 cricket, but they certainly do show the difference between the two teams playing this series. New Zealand have three batsmen averaging over 35, while West Indies have no one with an average higher than Dwayne Bravo's 28.80, if you ignore Nikita Miller's average of 43 courtesy four not outs in five innings.
West Indies are without Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Kieron Pollard and Darren Sammy, but questions can still be asked of their selectors, considering the fact that their team in Auckland contained three wicketkeeper-batsmen (and their squad contains a fourth, Denesh Ramdin). Clearly, the lack of specialist batsmen is hurting West Indies, and that might continue in Wellington.
West Indies, however, possess a decent bowling attack. A heavy defeat in Auckland might cause them to reconsider playing three spinners, but that, apart from a rare off day for Sunil Narine, wasn't the reason they conceded 189. Narine, Samuel Badree and Miller could well prove their best hope of restricting New Zealand at a venue where spinners have an economy rate of 6.34 and seamers 8.04.
What West Indies might need to reconsider is their seam attack. Tino Best and Andre Russell were ineffectual in Auckland, and the team management will wonder if they should field Jason Holder in place of one of them.
New Zealand WLWWL(last five completed matches) West Indies LLLWW
In the spotlight
Adam Milne averages 172.00 with the ball in ODIs and 78.50 in T20Is. He's only just starting his career, though, and the number everyone's looking at right now is the one on the speedgun. In Auckland, Milne consistently clocked speeds of over 145kph and twice crossed 150 while taking 1 for 15 in four overs. New Zealand are blessed with a talented group of fast bowlers; Milne could yet prove the most exciting of the lot.
West Indies picked three spinners in the first T20I, and the presence of two seam-bowling allrounders made their attack look balanced on paper. In reality, one of their two allrounders is yet to justify the billing. Andre Russell will want to forget Auckland in a hurry; he was taken out of the attack after going for 23 in one over and was out for a second-ball duck. It wasn't just a one-off. With a highest score of 23* in 16 matches, a bowling average of 237 and an economy rate of 10.77, Russell will quickly need to show West Indies what exactly he brings to their table in this format.
Ravi Rampaul flew home with a thumb injury, leaving West Indies short in an area they are struggling in. Best was expensive in Auckland. Holder, who was impressive during the ODI series, might replace him and make his debut.
West Indies (probable) 1 Johnson Charles, 2 Kieran Powell, 3 Andre Fletcher (wk), 4 Lendl Simmons, 5 Dwayne Bravo (capt), 6 Andre Russell, 7 Chadwick Walton, 8 Nikita Miller, 9 Sunil Narine, 10 Tino Best/Jason Holder, 11 Samuel Badree
New Zealand are likely to stick to the same XI that played in Auckland.
New Zealand (probable) 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Jesse Ryder, 3 Brendon McCullum (capt), 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Colin Munro, 6 Corey Anderson, 7 Luke Ronchi (wk), 8 Nathan McCullum, 9 James Neesham, 10 Tim Southee, 11 Adam Milne
Sunil Narine's figures of 0 for 46 were his worst, by a distance, in T20Is
"At the top of the order, we need to put more thought and emphasis into the game. We have nothing to prove to anyone and we just have to focus on what we have to do. " Dwayne Bravo, on what West Indies' batsmen need to do to boost their chances of winning
"I'd love to be able to get to 160 [kph], but I'm not sure if that's in my realm." Adam Milne, on being asked how fast he thinks he could bowl, after clocking 153kph in the first T20I