After sharing the honours in the recent ODI series, New Zealand and the West Indies turn their attention to the shortest form of the game. The two-match T20 series starts in Auckland on Saturday.
What: New Zealand vs. West Indies, 1st T20
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
When: Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014
Start time: 6 a.m. GMT/7 p.m. local time
Weather: AccuWeather forecasts decent conditions with largely clear skies and temperatures of around 19 C.
Live on: Sky Sport NZ
A tour of New Zealand that has been plagued by bad weather and injury sparked into life for the West Indies in Hamilton, where a spectacular batting performance helped tie the series at 2-2.
With 106 from just 81 balls in the last ODI, Dwayne Bravo will go into the T20s in excellent touch, as will opener Kieran Powell, whose 73 from just 44 balls paved the way for the visitor's record-breaking 203-run triumph. Kirk Edwards, the other centurion from Seddon Park, isn't in the T20 squad.
Bravo will captain the side in Auckland after regular T20 skipper Darren Sammy was ruled out with a hamstring injury. The all-rounder joins a lengthy casualty list that already includes Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Darren Bravo and Ravi Rampaul. Left-arm spinner Nikita Miller replaces Sammy. Leg-spinner Samuel Badree, all-rounder Andre Russell and wicket-keeper batsman Andre Fletcher have also been added to the West Indies squad.
The Black Caps go into the series without veteran seamer Kyle Mills and batsman Kane Williamson, who have been left out of the 12-man squad. Corey Anderson, fresh from his world-record 36-ball century, will be looking to improve on a T20-best score of just 18.
With eight wickets, Mitchell McClenaghan was the pick of the bowlers in the recent ODI series, and the left-arm seamer is set to lead an inexperienced pace attack at Eden Park.
The two teams have virtually identical T20 records—New Zealand have won 46 percent of their matches, the West Indies 47 percent. In six previous T20 matches between the sides, the scores have ended up level on no fewer than three occasions, including the last two matches played at Eden Park.
It promises to be another close encounter.
New Zealand – While Corey Anderson deservedly took the plaudits for his heroics in Queenstown, Jesse Ryder's performance wasn't too shabby either. On any other day, a batsman smashing 104 from just 51 balls would be headline news. Opening the innings gives the burly Wellingtonian a great chance to set the tempo and get the Kiwis on track for a big score.
West Indies – Dwayne Bravo was the West Indies' leading run scorer and joint-leading wicket taker in the recent ODI series, and the captain will once again have to lead from the front if the tourists are to come out on top. A quick-fire start from Kieran Powell, who is likely to make his T20 debut, would help too.
New Zealand: Brendon McCullum (capt), Corey Anderson, Martin Guptill, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nathan McCullum, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, James Neesham, Luke Ronchi, Jesse Ryder, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor
West Indies: Dwayne Bravo (capt), Samuel Badree, Tino Best, Johnson Charles, Narsingh Deonarine, Andre Fletcher, Jason Holder, Nikita Miller, Sunil Narine, Kieran Powell, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Lendl Simmons, Chadwick Walton