After clinching the two-match Twenty20 series in Florida, hosts West Indies would like the momentum going against New Zealand in the first one-dayer at Kingston on Thursday.
New Zealand were convincingly beaten by West Indies over the weekend and this five-match ODI series gives the tourists a chance to bounce back. But that looks difficult with skipper Ross Taylor missing out due to a shoulder injury which he incurred during the first T20 and is unlikely to recover timely. In Taylor's absence Kane Williamson took over the reins in the second T20 and will continue as captain until Brendon McCullum rejoins the squad mid-way during the series.
For New Zealand, batting is their main concern with the top order consistently failing to stand up to the West Indian bowlers. However, the 50-over format gives the Kiwi batsmen an opportunity to spend some time in the middle and come back among runs. As Williamson pointed out on Tuesday, this is a longer format so there is a stronger chance for the batsmen to play themselves into form. It is the top four who hold the key to New Zealand as their middle order is a bit fragile in the absence of Taylor and McCullum.
On the bowling front New Zealand have a balanced set-up with a couple of decent quick bowlers and spinners. Leading the pack will be Doug Bracewell and Tim Southee with able support from offie Nathan McCullum and the medium pace of Jacob Oram.
Following a winless tour of England, West Indies were stronger against New Zealand in Florida with Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard in smashing form. Gayle continued his IPL run-scoring form with two blistering half centuries and his partnership at the top with Dwayne Smith gives West Indies a deadly combination that can upset any bowling attack on their day. In the middle order they have two performing allrounders in Pollard and Dwayne Bravo.
On paper, the Darren Sammy-led team scores a point over New Zealand in all departments. West Indies’ pace attack will be led by Fidel Edwards, Ravi Rampaul and Bravo, with Sunil Narine and Samuel Badree forming the spin quotient. With seven wickets in the two T20s against New Zealand, and on slow and low surfaces on which he tormented Australia in April, Narine is the man to watch.
West Indies: 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Dwayne Smith, 3 Lendl Simmons, 4 Marlon Samuels, 5 Dwayne Bravo, 6 Kieron Pollard, 7 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 8 Darren Sammy (capt), 9 Fidel Edwards, 10 Sunil Narine, 11 Samuel Badree.
New Zealand: 1 Rob Nicol, 2 Martin Guptill, 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 5 Dean Brownlie/Daniel Flynn, 6 Jacob Oram/ Andrew Ellis, 7 Tom Latham (wk), 8 Nathan McCullum, 9 Doug Bracewell, 10 Tim Southee, 11 Ronnie Hira.