BLACKCAPS Win Final ODI by 9 Runs to Take Series 2-1

Ross Taylor and Grant Elliott kept their composure to ensure ensure a 2-1 one-day cricket series win over the West Indies by the narrowest of margins.

As rain threatened to the final encounter of the five-match series at Napier today, Taylor and Elliott snuck New Zealand home by gleaning 15 runs off the penultimate over and pushing the Black Caps across the required runs under the Duckworth-Lewis method.

When play was stopped as rain began to fall steadily, New Zealand were 211 for five, still requiring 83 off 90 balls to overhaul West Indies 293 for nine.

Taylor had clipped successive boundaries through point to give New Zealand a three-run lead into what would be the 35th and final over -- an advantage he and Elliott extended to nine by keeping their wickets intact.

Taylor, who ended unbeaten on 48 and Elliott, 14 had pulled New Zealand back from the brink of a first series loss on home soil since 2005 after Daren Powell removed Daniel Flynn and Neil Broom in successive balls to swing the Duckworth-Lewis equation in the tourists' favour.

By losing Flynn to a rash pull shot for 21 and Broom leg before wicket for a golden duck in the 29th over, New Zealand's 21-run buffer became a seven-run deficit in the space of two deliveries.

But Taylor kept his nerve to guide New Zealand in front as drizzle swept the ground making bowling and fielding treacherous when Vettori called for the batting power play.

"We almost got lucky that the rain came and we took the power play at that time. Rosco hit those two fours which were the two defining moments really," Vettori said .

Gayle, who signed off his substantial contribution with a classy 135, was philosophical the rain again conspired against his team.

"This is part of the game, there's nothing we can do about nature. I thought it would have ended up a good game," said Gayle, who had no qualms about play continuing in gloomy conditions when the West Indies were in front.

Vettori, meanwhile, felt New Zealand could have reached the original winning target had the rain not intervened -- as it did in Queenstown, Christchurch and Auckland to varying degrees.

"I suppose we thought were the better side throughout the one-day series, we just didn't quite get the opportunities to finish it off.

"Ross was the key. If we lost him it may have been difficult but I still would backed us to get that run-rate."

There seemed no cause for alarm under clear skies when Brendon McCullum and Jesse Ryder made a mockery of the initial asking rate of 5.58 runs per over with a display of power hitting facilitated by spooked West Indian bowling.

The pair powered to 50 off just 4.3 overs.

Powell contributed to New Zealand's mighty start when his first over -- the second of the innings -- cost a remarkable 23 runs, including a quartet of McCullum boundaries.

Ryder, 21, was the first to depart and then McCullum's enthralling cameo ended at 41 from 28 balls when the score was 96 in the 10th over.

Martin Guptill then backed up his unbeaten century on debut with an effortless 43 from 39 before the Duckworth-Lewis equation became the only statistic to matter.

Earlier, Gayle and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who supplied a two-paced 94 from 91 balls, appeared to have masterminded the construction of a defendable total.

The pair bided their time before winding up in concert to add 170 for the third wicket from 158 balls.

Gayle, who complied a match-saving 197 when the second test was held here before Christmas, eventually faced 129 deliveries and struck nine boundaries and five sixes.

Chanderpaul also took flight after scoring his first 26 runs in singles and needed just 14 more balls from there to post his 53rd ODI half century.

He was also in range of a century but he cheekily reverse swept once to often to be caught by Guptill off Ryder.

Kyle Mills had earlier broken the partnership when Gayle picked out Taylor in the deep in the 43rd over; Chanderpaul followed four overs later.

The West Indies lost their last seven wickets for 50 and only added 33 runs in the last five overs, a seizure Vettori described as crucial.

NZPA

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