New Zealand captain Kane Williamson has said the 'underdogs' tag should inspire his young side to raise their game against a strong West Indies unit. Williamson was speaking after his first ODI as New Zealand captain, in which his team slipped to a nine-wicket loss to West Indies in Kingston.
"It is disappointing, but we know we are underdogs and hopefully that breeds a fearless attitude in our camp," Williamson said. "We have to move forward as that is the only thing that we can do in a five-match series."
Williamson said that though he enjoyed the responsibility of leading the team, it was difficult to put the disappointment of the loss aside. The loss in the first ODI was New Zealand's third on this tour, after losing the Twenty20 series 2-0.
"That [winning] has an influence, as a captain it is extremely important and we are yet to have [a win] in the series.
"There are a lot of challenges for us in the series, not only the quality of the opposition and the conditions, but more so [after] the injuries we have had to get a consistent side on the park and to have consistent planning to move forward."
In a one-sided match, wicketkeeper BJ Watling's 60 was the lone positive for New Zealand. Watling, who earned praise from his captain, said it was the batsmen who lost New Zealand the game.
"We fell a good 50-60 runs short on that wicket,'' Watling said. "My gameplan was to try and stay there for a little while and try to set a little bit of a platform so we could at least bat through to 45-50 overs. I was a bit disappointed not to get 20 more runs and boost the strike-rate up around 80.'' Watling finished with a strike-rate of just over 60.
The loss, he said, took a mental toll on the team. "Today's loss isn't ideal for the confidence. We're not high in confidence at all and they are, so that's probably hurting us. We need to find it in the next game or two, otherwise the series will be gone before we even know it.''
To turn things around, it is important that the bowlers also come up with a new gameplan, Watling said. "We need to figure out how to take some wickets over here. The wickets are reasonably flat for the quicks - there's not a lot of swing or seam - so we need to find some ways of restricting and building up some pressure.''