West Indies' captain Dwayne Bravo has admitted to his team being "caught off guard" by the New Zealand batsmen's assault in the third ODI, in Queenstown. The game was on the verge of being called off due to the weather, but the teams got in 21 overs each, with New Zealand powering to 283 for 4 - an innings that included the fastest and sixth-fastest ODI tons ever.
"Bad weather, shortened version, we fancied our chances equally, just as good as the New Zealand team," Bravo said. "We wanted to bowl first, we won the toss, we did that, but I think the way New Zealand batters batted really caught us off guard."
However, there was not much the defending World Twenty20 champions could really do while the batsmen blazed away, he said. "They took their chances and it came off, there was no stopping them. Jesse Ryder set the tone, Brendon McCullum, the cameo he played actually gave the other players the freedom to come in and be positive. Players batting like that, in good form, good strikers of the ball, there's not much you can really do as a team or as a captain, so you've got to give credit to them."
Ryder, who is playing his first international series in 22 months, got to his hundred in 46 deliveries, while Corey Anderson smashed his way there in 36, breaking Shahid Afridi's long-standing record for the quickest hundred. In between, McCullum slammed 33 off 11.
The only possible excuse for his bowlers, Bravo said, was perhaps the alien conditions. "It was tough for us, cold conditions, one-over spells, it is not easy for any bowling team to actually come on and be spot-on."
The series is now tied at 1-1, with two games to play, so it was important to for West Indies to put this game behind them and keep going, Bravo said. "We have to regroup. We are not going to let this game dampen our spirit.
"I think we just have to remind ourselves about the good things we did in the first game, remind ourselves of the other good things we did before this series as well - we had some good bowling performances in India, which is one of the better one-day teams in the world. Yes, this is disappointing, but the way those guys batted, there's really not much I can do, I can't fault my bowlers for the effort that they gave, it was just proper cricket shots, great batting by the opposition team."
Bravo said it would have helped if the batsmen put up a better fight, though. West Indies never looked like getting close to New Zealand's score, with only two batsmen - one of whom was Bravo, who scored 56 - going at over a run a ball. "I'm a bit disappointed about how we went about our batting as well, that's one area I definitely think we need to improve on," Bravo said. "Chasing 280 in 21 overs is always going to be difficult, but I think we could have [put on] a better batting display."