New Zealand and the West Indies meet in the second One Day International of their bilateral series on Sunday, after the visitors claimed a thrilling two-wicket victory in the first match on Thursday.
Venue: McLean Park, Napier
Commences: Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013
Start time: 1 a.m. GMT (2 p.m. local)
Live on: Sky Sport NZ
Weather: The Weather Channel is forecasting a cool day of 21 degrees Celsius with showers likely to interrupt play in the afternoon.
After suffering another disappointing hammering in the recently completed Test series against New Zealand, West Indies made a triumphant return to their preferred format on Thursday, with a hard-fought victory in a low-scoring affair in the first ODI of the tour.
After restricting the home side to a rather meagre 156 in the first innings, the tourists stumbled early before Darren Sammy powered them to a rare win with a rapid 43 from just 27 balls.
Despite the team's bowlers failing to operate with any threat during the Test campaign Jason Holder, Ravi Rampaul and Dwayne Bravo found a way through the Kiwi lineup with the white ball, reducing the home side to 66-6 in less than 20 overs.
Yet the West Indies stopped well short of quelling the doubts surrounding their own batting, crashing to 96-6 in response before Sammy used powerful hitting to drag the side out of an all-too-familiar hole.
Needing to put their Test form behind them, Dwayne Bravo's side will look to capitalise on their 1-0 lead as the series shifts South East from Auckland to Napier for the second encounter.
With rain threatening to shorten the match on Sunday, another low-scoring duel looks likely, which should again favour the seamers of either team, perhaps helping to reduce the gap between these two sides that has been apparent on the tour thus far.
New Zealand: Brendon McCullum (c), Corey Anderson, Martin Guptill, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, James Neesham, Luke Ronchi (wk), Jesse Ryder, Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson
West Indies: Dwayne Bravo (c), Tino Best, Darren Bravo, Johnson Charles (wk), Narsingh Deonarine, Kirk Edwards, Jason Holder, Nikita Miller, Sunil Narine, Kieran Powell, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Ravi Rampaul, Darren Sammy, Lendl Simmons, Chadwick Walton
New Zealand: Although Brendon McCullum is the home side's most devastating batsman, Ross Taylor is New Zealand's most accomplished.
After a dominant Test series, Taylor was run out for just three on Thursday, leaving the Kiwis without the rock of their middle order.
While McCullum compiled a typically hard-hitting 51, Taylor's quick dismissal removed the stability that has been evident in New Zealand's order of late.
If the predicted overhead conditions make batting difficult on Sunday, Taylor's ability to anchor his side's innings will have a large bearing on the outcome.
West Indies: Despite his curious absence from the Test side, Dwayne Bravo remains his team's most versatile performer in the ODI arena, evident in his 4-44 effort with the ball on Boxing Day.
A vastly talented all-rounder, Bravo gives his team the flexibility that international sides have craved since the inception of limited-overs cricket. If his team are to secure a 2-0 advantage with victory on Sunday, Bravo's presence will be critical.
As a brisk-scoring middle-order batsman, the right-hander has the ability to steer his team towards a competitive total in the difficult batting conditions that are expected in Napier.
That is backed up by his importance with the ball; his right-arm medium pace is perfectly suited to the seam-friendly wickets often found on Kiwi shores.
It's unquestionable that this ODI series will be far more competitive than the recent, lopsided Test campaign. In the shorter format, the enigmatic West Indies find themselves less exposed with both bat and ball; a single outstanding performance capable of propelling them to victory.
However, New Zealand should feel confident that their best will be able to steer them past their often-shaky opponents.
The home side narrowly missed out on victory in the first match after putting just 156 on the board, providing clear evidence that an improved effort with the bat should set up a first win in the series for the home side.
In Taylor, the Kiwis have the best batsman of the two sides, and a solid innings from the right-hander should steer his team to a comfortable victory in the second match in Napier.
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