Having been beaten at home by Bangladesh in an ODI series in June and then suffered defeat at the hands of India in both ODI and T20I cricket, the West Indies were hoping for an upturn in fortune when New Zealand arrived in the Caribbean for their own white ball tour.
Instead, what has proved to be a disappointing summer for the home nation so far continued with another series defeat, despite all matches being played at Sabina Park in Jamaica, where the conditions should have suited them.
First Match Recap
Before a ball had been bowled in this first match came the news that New Zealand fast bowler Trent Boult has asked to be released from his central contract. Yet he played a full part in this match, helping to defend the total that his side had set after losing the toss and batting first.
Openers Martin Guptill and Devon Conway gave them a good start by putting on 62 for the first wicket, and skipper Kane Williamson then continued the momentum by top scoring with 47. Jimmy Neesham injected some late impetus with an unbeaten 33 off just 15 balls, including 2 sixes, helping his side close on 185/5 from their 20 overs.
In their reply, it was a familiar story for the West Indies, with Shamarh Brooks making 42, as wickets fell around him. By the time that Romario Shepherd and Odean Smith came together, the damage was already done, and their side was seven wickets down. They did share an unbeaten stand of 58, but it was a case of too little too late by then, and their side was beaten by 13 runs.
Second Match Recap
The margin of defeat in the second match was far more comprehensive. This time it was the Kiwis who won the toss and decided to bat first. After the loss of two early wickets, they really pressed the accelerator, with Conway making 42, before Glenn Philips and Daryl Mitchell shared a fourth wicket partnership of 83 in less than six overs. Phillips was particularly destructive, scoring 76 of just 41 balls, in an innings that featured 4 sixes, whilst Mitchell went on to make 48.
They made a major contribution as the tourists posted 215/5.
The home team were never in contention after losing four wickets in the first six overs, and it was only thanks to the efforts of their last wicket pairing of Hayden Walsh and Obed McCoy that they avoided the indignity of being bowled out. However, the fact that McCoy top scored for his side with 23 tells its own tale.
Michael Bracewell continued his fine breakout summer for the Kiwis by taking 3 – 15, whilst Mitchell Santner also took 3 – 15. With the West Indies limping to 125/9, the visitors had won by 96 runs.
Third T20I summary
The West Indies did, at least, have the consolation of avoiding a series whitewash by winning the third T20I, although Boult did not play in this match, and was rested for Lockie Ferguson.
Again New Zealand won the toss and batted first, but the difference this time was that the West Indies took wickets at regular intervals and never allowed any big partnerships to develop. Phillips again top scored for his side, making 41 (and was later named Player of the Series), but their final total of 145/7 seemed eminently attainable if the home side could find some form with the bat.
And, for once, their openers delivered with a first wicket stand of 102 that took a lot of pressure off those to come. Brandon King made 53, and his partner Brooks went on to make 56 not out, adding an unbeaten 37 for the third wicket with Rovman Powell, the victory sealed with a six.
West Indies won the match by eight wickets with an over to spare.
The series illustrated that the two teams are in a different apace ahead of the T20I World Cup in Australia. The West Indies, the only two-time winners of the competition, must now be ranked as among the outsiders, due to their batting frailties and their inability to uncover a strike bowler who can take wickets regularly.
For New Zealand, runners-up to Australia in the final in Dubai last year, they seem again to be in good form again and may be dark horses to lift the trophy for the first time.
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