Bereft of choices, through injuries and resting players, New Zealand is actually making West Indies look like a force to reckon with. With the win in the first ODI, West Indies have now won three matches on trot. This win would be more satisfactory than the wins they registered in the two T20 games in Florida.
Everything came together for them in Kingston. The bowling by the new-ball bowlers, Narine containing the batsmen, and finally the firepower in the batting coming good. Everything that the West Indies wanted to happen in the match, happened. If one has to be picky, then the fielding needs improvement. Though they held all their catches, it was the ground fielding that left a lot to be desired.
Man of the match, Andre Russell, combined swing with intelligence to take three wickets in his first spell. He removed Guptill with a ball that moved away late. Guptill edged it to Sammy at second slip. It was his bowling to Flynn that made the spectators sit up. He beat him with an away swinger first up, progressively got the ball closer to the stumps. Needless to say, Flynn was nervous with such close introspection of his technique.
They continued the battle into the next over. Russell got a couple of balls to move away from the shorter length. Flynn spotted the length of both deliveries and rocked back, spontaneously. He was beaten by the swing though. At this stage it looked like the second wicket was round the corner. Russell, then bowled a fuller ball that Flynn lofted over mid-off for a boundary. The shot had an air of assertiveness as he came onto the front-foot and lofted it well over the mid-off fielder.
Nicol, the batsman at the other end had similar problems in negating the swing. He used his feet in a pre-meditated manner to negate the movement. It seemed to pay dividends as he got the first boundary off the innings, in the fifth over, by lofting it over cover. He gained in confidence when he moved across and mowed a fuller delivery to cow-corner.
Flynn was looking to continue his assertiveness over Russell as he got right behind a short delivery and pulled it to deep midwicket. However, he got ahead of himself when he looked to cut a short of good length delivery and ended up getting a bottom edge onto the stumps. He had himself to blame as that was a delivery that could’ve been left alone.
Worse was to follow as Nicol ended up mistiming the slog to cow corner and was caught at deep square-leg. Things could’ve been even worse if Williamson got height on his edge to deep midwicket. The introduction of Narine into the attack slackened the run-rate. The batsmen were unable to pick him and allowed him to continue his golden run against them. His first spell was so good that only four runs came of the five overs he bowled. He did deceive Brownlie to get a wicket in his first spell.
Williamson at the other end tried to break the shackles by pulling Bravo for a boundary. The fall of Brownlie’s wicket made him go back into the shell. Watling tried to up the pace by attacking Bravo. He pulled and flicked to get himself a couple of boundaries.
After Narine was replaced by Samuels, Williamson did the sensible thing of rotating the strike. When Sammy replaced Bravo, Williamson tried to run a ball down to the third-man region and got a faint tickle. At this time, the woes of the Black Caps were apparent. Every time they seemed like getting a start, they were pegged back by a wicket. Half of the side was in the hut with just 71 runs on the board.
Oram had to build a partnership with Watling and he did just that. He pulled, cover-drove, and lofted for boundaries. With him around, the batting Powerplay was always going to be an advantage. Oram took eleven runs of the returning Narine and seemed to have set the pace, but as was seen earlier in the innings, the joy was short-lived. After whipping a ball to the midwicket boundary, he was deceived by a slower ball from Rampaul. He played his shot early and was bowled.
It was left to Watling then, to carry the Kiwi’s to a respectable total. In partnership with Ellis, he added forty four runs, albeit slowly, and took them past the 150 mark. Ellis, like the batsmen before him got ahead of himself, as he tried to make room, and cut a Narine delivery. He was beaten all ends up as the ball hit the middle stump.
The 17 runs added by Nethula and Southee inched the score to 190 and gave the bowlers something to bowl at. However, Kiwi’s had another shock in the form of an injury to their bowler. Ellis did something to his quad while running between the wickets, and wouldn’t be able to take the field for them.
Mills started the innings with a maiden, and like in the T20’s Gayle took his time to get his eye in. At the other end, Simmons found the going tough and tickled a delivery down the leg side to the keeper. Though the shot selection was poor, he was done in by a mistake from the third umpire. The third umpire failed to call the wicket ball a no-ball as Mills had overstepped
Thereafter it was a Gayle and Smith show till it rained. Smith got his eye in and exploded towards the end of the innings.
It would take a lot of effort from the Kiwi’s to get back into the series, and for that they need to sort out their problems with Narine and Gayle