Lauderhill: The picturesque Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill, Florida will be witnessing another matinee when New Zealand and West Indies face off in the second and final Twenty20 on Sunday.
West Indies thrashed New Zealand by 56 runs in the opener on Saturday night. Riding on a scintillating 85 by Chris Gayle and a blitz of 63 off 29 deliveries from Kieron Pollard, West Indies posted 209 for 2 and in reply, Ross Taylor’s team was skittled for 153 n the 19th over. Mystery spinner Sunil Narine, who was not impressive at all in the recently concluded ODIs and one-off T20 against England, had figures of 3 for 34 to finish off the job for his team. His return to form makes West Indies all the more dangerous in the second match.
The pitch at Lauderhill is full of runs, as manifested by the first match, and New Zealand will have to stop Gayle in particular if they are to have any realistic chance of leveling the series.
Their hopes of a win have taken a severe blow with the news that Taylor has been ruled out of Sunday’s game. Taylor retired hurt in the opener on account of a shoulder injury after scoring just 10 and with him out, things have worsened a great deal for New Zealand.
It’s not clear as to who will step into the breach. The regular vice-captain, Brendon McCullum, has been rested for the limited-overs leg of the Caribbean. Big allrounder Jacob Oram is still a doubt and the Kiwi camp is facing a crisis.
New Zealand’s batting and bowling were exposed in the first match and they have to show big improvements to upset the Darren Sammy-led team. Significantly, Nathan McCullum has to come good. He is a proven match-winner with both bat and ball but failed miserably in both departments in the last match. The openers Rob Nicol and Martin Guptil also need to set it up for their team.
All said and done, it’s crystal clear that West Indies go into the match as favourites, and that the Kiwis will have to play out of their skin to pull off a surprise win.
New Zealand: 1 Rob Nicol, 2 Martin Guptill, 3 Kane Williamson, 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.
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 Ravi Rampaul, 10 Sunil Narine, 11 Samuel Badree.