After ruining New Zealand’s expectations of leveling the series, an upbeat West Indies will eye a 4-1 finish when will take on the Kiwis in the fifth and final ODI at Basseterre in St Kitts on Sunday.
Despite skipper Ross Taylor’s scintillating comeback ton in the third ODI, New Zealand suffered defeat by 24 runs and gave an easy chance to the hosts to take an unassailable 3-1 lead. West Indies will aim to carry same momentum in fifth and final match at the same venue. On the other hand, New Zealand, who lost another series after the Twenty20 contest in Florida against the same opponent, will hope only to retain some pride on Sunday.
The Kiwis will be anxious over the Chris Gayle threat. With 215 runs in the series at an average of 71.66, including a century in the second ODI, the Jamaican is topping the run chart. With Gayle continuing his IPL form and Dwayne Smith and the all-round pair of Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard in the middle order, West Indies have a strong batting lineup. Pollard anchored the Windies win on Saturday, smashing 56 off 70 balls with the help of five fours and a six.
The West Indies bowling department isn’t bad either. Tino Best had a strong outing in St Kitts, taking 4 for 46 including two of the top four New Zealand batsmen to set West Indies on the road to a series win. Best will be accompanied by Andre Russell, skipper Darren Sammy, and Sunil Narine who scalped two wickets in the last match. With seven scalps, Narine is on top of the wicket-takers chart.
New Zealand have been failing consistently to stand up to the West Indies bowling attack. Taylor, who made a strong comeback after shoulder injury, played a spectacular knock but also oversaw another defeat. New Zealand have struggled to get a good start throughout the tournament. The openers have not lived up to the teams’ expectations. The top order has to come good against West Indies on Sunday.
On the bowling front, New Zealand have a well balanced bowling attack with the likes of decent quick bowlers in Jacob Oram, Tim Southee and Doug Bracewell and a canny spinner in Nathan McCullum.
Southee and Oram were superb in the last encounter – each took three wickets – but the duo will have to come up with more if New Zealand have a chance of preventing a 4-1 defeat.
West Indies: 1 Johnson Charles, 2 Chris Gayle, 3 Dwayne Smith, 4 Marlon Samuels, 5 Dwayne Bravo, 6 Kieron Pollard, 7 Andre Russell, 8 Darren Sammy (capt), 9 Devon Thomas (wk), 10 Tino Best, 11 Sunil Narine
New Zealand: 1 Rob Nicol, 2 Martin Guptill, 3 Brendon McCullum (wk), 4 Kane Williamson, 5 Ross Taylor (capt), 6 Tom Latham, 7 Jacob Oram, 8 Tim Southee, 9 Nathan McCullum, 10 Doug Bracewell, 11 Trent Boult