London: Indies flattered to deceive yet again when they squandered another chance of collecting 2 World Cup points, going down to New Zealand by 5 runs in their encounter in Manchester on Saturday.
West Indies’ World T20 2016 final hero Carlos Brathwaite once again proved his worth on the world stage as he showcased an exemplary display of ball-striking and threatened to engineer a remarkable victory for his team. All hope was lost when West Indies lost their 7th wicket at a total of 164 but Brathwaite kept WI alive till the very last moment.
At one stage West Indies were cruising at 142/2 in the 23rd over but Lockie Ferguson’s dismissal of Shimron Hetmyer (54) and Jason Holder (0) off successive deliveries triggered a collapse which ultimately laid the foundation for West Indies’ downfall.
Opener Chris Gayle took the responsibility for his team early on, with a counter-attacking 87 off 84 balls and stitched together a 122-run partnership with Hetmyer for the 3rd wicket. Kiwi pacer Trent Boult was the wrecker-in-chief with figures of 4/22 as Carlos Brathwaite, who made 101 off just 82 balls, was the only other recognized batsman to have scored in double digits for West Indies.
Brathwaite did rekindle hopes of a come-from-behind victory for WI as he added 47 and 34 runs respectively with Kemar Roach (14) and Sheldon Cottrell (15) after the fall of the 7th wicket. But it proved a case of so near yet so far as he fell as the last wicket trying to finish the chase off with a six.
All in all, WI would do well to remember this game as a collection of lost opportunities – similar in a lot of ways to their World Cup 2019 campaign till now. Earlier, captain Kane Williamson’s second straight World Cup century helped New Zealand set West Indies a target of 292 to win.
West Indies made an impressive start after captain Jason Holder put the Black Caps in to bat with left-armer Sheldon Cottrell removed both openers in his first over – trapping Martin Guptill lbw after review with the first ball of the day and clean bowling Colin Munro.
But the classy Williamson set about constructing a patient 160-run partnership with Ross Taylor (69) with the New Zealand skipper bringing up his second successive World Cup ton, in 124 balls, with a well-placed four of a long hop from Kemar Roach.
Williamson’s 148, his highest one-day international score, ended in the 47th over when he skied the ball to wicketkeeper Shai Hope off Cottrell. Cottrell, who took three catches and delivered a run-out, ended with figures of 4-56.