NZ let off
WI batting collapse sees New Zealand back into ODI series
New Zealand kept themselves alive in the One-Day International series against West Indies with an 88-run victory in the third game of the five-match series in St Kitts today.The Black Caps battled their way to 249-9 from their 50 overs, a score that looked no more than about par on a good pitch, thanks to half-centuries from Rob Nicol and Nathan McCullum.
Looking to move into an unassailable 3-0 lead, West Indies never came close in their reply after slipping to 62-5 inside 15 overs.
Although Andre Russell offered some late fight with an unbeaten 42 that included four sixes, the hosts were bowled out for 161 to see their series lead cut in half.
Travis Boult, Jacob Oram and McCullum all claimed two wickets apiece while the Kiwis were also outstanding in the field, implementing three run outs.
However it was seamer Tim Southee who claimed the crucial scalp of Chris Gayle, getting the in-form opener to edge to Nicol at slip when he had just 11 to his name.
Johnson Charles had already departed by then as West Indies’ top order collapsed in a hurry, their cause not helped by both Marlon Samuels and Dwayne Bravo being caught short of their ground by respective throws from Martin Guptill and Southee.
McCullum removed the dangerous duo of Kieron Pollard and Darren Sammy; even with Russell denting his figures a little with some lusty blows, his all-round contribution was crucial to his team’s cause.
His efforts with the bat, which included a six and four boundaries, had helped drag New Zealand out of trouble. Nicol had given them a good start, smashing Russell’s third ball for six, one of three maximums he struck during his knock of 59, before offering a soft return catch to off-spinner Samuels when well set.
His departure left the score at 125-5, but McCullum and BJ Watling (40) shared a welcome partnership of 66 that pushed them up to the brink of 200.
Russell removed both on his way to final figures of 4-57 while spinner Sunil Narine claimed 2-28 from his miserly 10-over spell.
The victory will be a relief for the Kiwis, who had been well beaten in the opening two one-dayers having already lost both Twenty20 internationals which preceded them.
The only disappointment for them was Watling who picked up a leg injury whilst batting. New Zealand will hope he will be fit to feature in the fourth ODI at the same venue on Saturday.
At the start of the game, respect was paid by both teams to the memory of late Nevisian and West Indian batsman Runako Morton who was tragically killed in a car accident earlier in the year in his adopted Trinidad and Tobago homeland.
West Indies had dedicated the game to Morton but on the public holiday, the result was far from what they would have wanted. (Sky/WG)††