New Zealand continued their dominant run against the West Indies and beat them by 81 runs in the first T20 over the weekend. There is just one game left to go of the tour, a final T20 in Wellington.
What: New Zealand vs. West Indies, 2nd T20
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
When: Wednesday, Jan. 15
Start time: 6 a.m. GMT/7 p.m. local
Live on: Sky Sport NZ
Weather: The weather has been the worst thing about this tour, but according to Accuweather, Wednesday looks clear and sunny with highs of 22 degrees celsius which will cool down to 17 in the evening. As it stands, no rain is expected.
It feels like New Zealand and the West Indies have been playing each other forever. It all ends with a T20 game in which the Black Caps will hope to extend their dominant run and finish the T20s on a high after falling away in the final ODI, despite having been the better team for most of the series.
The T20s are not without meaning. There is a World T20 around the corner and finding the best squad and the best XI is the key for all teams at the moment.
The West Indies are in a much more difficult position, they are without some of their biggest names and their reserve strength is being tested to the max. The Black Caps, though, have a far more settled squad to pick from and for them it's simply a case of starting to build momentum towards that tour.
There is no Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Kieron Pollard or Darren Sammy for the Windies which makes it a pretty tough task, but skipper Dwayne Bravo believes the pressure is a good thing. He was quoted by ESPNCricinfo's Renaldo Matadeen as saying:
Once again we find ourselves in a position where it's a must-win game for us so definitely we want to finish the tour on a high and close off the series at 1-1. We had a very good, high-intense training session [today] and our spirits are good. It's been our nature, more often than not, to find ourselves in situations like this but we respond well under pressure. We have to do the same thing again to get ourselves out and level in the series but we can do the job.
T20 isn't an exact science and one brilliant innings can swing the game. The West Indies will be hoping for some of that in order to level the series and return home with a little bit of pride left in tact.
Brendon McCullum's unbeaten 60 off 45 was one of the highlights of the first game. If he can produce something similar, it could inspire the rest of the batsmen to chip in and build towards a big total.
Although Sunil Narine went wicketless in the first T20, he does have the ability to stifle the run rate. He was one of the most expensive bowlers in the first match, but his role cannot be underestimated.
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, Andre Russell, Lendl Simmons, Chadwick Walton.