The West Indies (165/6) avenged their first T20 loss on Sunday, beating New Zealand (126) by 39 runs on a slow Roseau pitch to even the series.
Andre Fletcher was the big man for the Windies, scoring his second half century in as many tries and sparking a late run in the team's first innings that would prove to be the difference.
Samuel Badree (four overs, 20 runs, one wicket) and Sunil Narine (four overs, 19 runs, two wickets) showed their bowling prowess on a grippy pitch, while Kieron Pollard took care of business late to limit the Black Caps' powerful batting lineup.
Batting first, the Windies got off to a slow start, scoring just 25 runs in the first five overs. But Fletcher soon found his groove, scoring 62 runs from 49 balls to set the pace for West Indies.
|Dwayne Smith||b Southee||9||8||6||2||0|
|Simmons||c Anderson||b Sodhi||36||44||34||3||2|
|Darren Bravo||b Williamson||14||10||7||1||1|
|Pollard||c Boult||b Anderson||13||17||12||2||0|
|Sammy||c Anderson||b Boult||10||6||3||1||1|
|Extras||0nb 5w 0b 0lb||5||Extras||0nb 5w 0b 0lb||5|
|Total||for 6 (20.0 ovs)||165||Total||for 6 (20.0 ovs)||165|
New Zealand's fielding was fantastic, however, highlighted by this phenomenal catch from Trent Boult, as shared by CricAddict:
Pollard and Dwayne Smith were largely neutralized by New Zealand, with Boult shinning in particular, surrendering just 22 runs in four overs and taking two wickets. Darren Sammy and Andre Russell added some strong late runs to put the target at 165, as shared by the West Indies' official Twitter account:
END OF INNINGS! #WIvNZ West Indies 165/6. Russell sends the last ball for 4 and New Zealand will need 166 runs to win. What do you think?— westindies (@westindies) July 6, 2014
Kane Williamson started the New Zealand innings strong with 37 runs on 28 balls, but his teammates struggled dealing with the Windies' spin bowlers. Badree in particular looked great, recording a maiden to end the powerplay, per the team's Twitter account:
#WIvNZ New Zealand 40/2. Wicket-maiden from Badree. He has bowled 3-1-11-1. That's the end of the Powerplay.— westindies (@westindies) July 6, 2014
Brendon McCullum wasn't able to turn the tide, with 21 from 16, and Ross Taylor suffered a similar fate, running into a beautiful delivery from Narine, via New Zealand's Twitter:
The Black Caps started falling behind the required run rate knowing full well the Windies ended their innings on a high note, and it fell to powerful lefty Corey Anderson to make something happen.
|Neesham||c Darren Bravo||b Cottrell||7||2||5||1||0|
|B McCullum||c Simmons||b Badree||21||15||16||2||1|
|Anderson||c Sammy||b Cottrell||14||30||16||0||1|
|Ronchi||c Russell||b Narine||12||17||12||0||1|
|Watling||run out (Sammy)||1||2||0||0|
|Latham||c Darren Bravo||b Cottrell||3||6||5||0||0|
|Southee||c Cottrell||b Russell||2||4||3||0||0|
|Boult||run out (Darren Bravo)||5||3||5||0||0|
|Extras||0nb 2w 0b 1lb||3||Extras||0nb 2w 0b 1lb||3|
|Total||all out (19.1 ovs)||126||Total||all out (19.1 ovs)||126|
New Zealand started taking too many risks, however, and one by one the batsmen were dismissed. Anderson managed just 14 from 16, and the match was truly over when he was caught by Sammy.
Fletcher was rightfully selected as Man of the Match for his half century, and he told ESPN Cricinfo he was just happy with the win:
"I am very happy. It's good to get a half-century and the team won too. The wicket was much better today. It's a great feeling. I just hope I continue to do my best."
Kane Williamson wasn't too happy about how his team performed, crediting the Windies for taking wickets at crucial times, per ESPN Cricinfo:
It wasn't a strong performance from us and West Indies played really well. At the halfway stage, we though we did reasonably well but we lost our way with the bat. They took wickets at key times and made it difficult in the late overs. It was a nice opportunity and I am sure Baz will be looking forward to it in the near future.
The Windies' slow start nearly cost them once more against New Zealand, with the late run very much needed to secure the win. But on a slow pitch like this, few teams in T20 cricket can match up with the team's phenomenal bowling.
Saturday's match ended in heartbreak for the West Indies due to the weather conditions, and this victory was sorely needed to give the fans something to cheer about. With better production from Pollard and Smith in the future, few teams will favour their chances when travelling to the Caribbean to take on this well-rounded side.
New Zealand didn't travel to the Caribbean with their strongest T20 side, and splitting the series 1-1 with the hosts is a solid result for a team seemingly ever improving in the world of T20 cricket.