West Indies have wrapped up the ODI series 3-1 at Warner Park in St Kitts, despite a brilliant century from BLACKCAPS captain Ross Taylor.
It was a dramatic affair in the fourth ODI, with the home side bowling New Zealand all out 25 runs short of their target after 49.3 overs.
Having opted to bat first the West Indies recovered from a poor start to reach a total of 264 all out.
In reply New Zealand kept in touch for much of the run chase, but the loss of regular wickets saw the pressure mount and the run-rate rise.
West Indies were buoyed by the early dismissals of Martin Guptill for nought and Brendon McCullum for ten. Rob Nicol looked in good touch as he whacked a couple of sixes on his way to 35, before he too departed after being caught at deep mid-wicket off the bowling of Sammy.
When Kane Williamson soon followed after being trapped in front by Sunil Narine, things were looking precarious for the BLACKCAPS at 75 for four.
Ross Taylor and Tom Latham went about stabilising the innings and did so effectively, putting on 71 for the fifth wicket.
It was a tough grind for the New Zealand batsmen, with the run-rate quickly getting up near the seven runs per over mark.
Latham eventually went for 32, but Taylor continued to enjoy his return from injury, bringing up his 50 off 79 balls.
Yet the visitors were still struggling to find the boundary and with eight overs to go New Zealand needed close to nine runs an over with four wickets in hand.
Taylor then proceeded to pummel 21, including two sixes, off Andre Russell’s 42nd over to make the equation 50 off 42 deliveries for the BLACKCAPS.
For the next three overs Taylor pushed the ball around sensibly and brought up his sixth ODI century after 45.4 overs.
While it was a special innings for Taylor, he’ll be disappointed it wasn’t in a winning effort. Under huge pressure to escalate the run-rate Taylor was caught at point for 110 off 115 deliveries.
With 28 runs still required off 10 deliveries, his dismissal effectively saw the end of the run chase.
The BLACKCAPS innings ended with Tim Southee run out after 49.3 overs. The team will feel a little frustrated they failed to reach a very reachable total.
Tino Best finished with the best figures of four for 46, but once again it was Narine who was most impressive, bowling his ten overs for just 20 runs and picking up two wickets in the process.
Earlier in the match, a concerted bowling effort lead by Southee (3-53) and Jacob Oram (3-42) helped the BLACKCAPS limit the West Indies to 264.
It was an excellent start by the bowling unit with the home reduced to 20 for three after seven overs, including the crucial wicket of Chris Gayle. Again it was Southee who picked up the prize scalp, trapping the hard hitting batsman in front for 16 in the seventh over.
The other top order batsmen offered very little with Doug Bracewell having Jonathan Charles caught for one and Southee nicking out Darren Smith for a duck.
However, the West Indies middle order rallied to ensure a competitive total was posted.
It took an incredible catch from Trent Boult to get the next break-through. Dewayne Bravo tried to hit Oram over mid-wicket but Boult turned quickly and managed to take a running catch over his left shoulder.
Marlon Samuels made 46 before Nathan McCullum had him out LBW and Kieran Pollard departed on 56 after an Oram slower ball induced a top edge that was cupped by Brendon McCullum.
The run-rate was accelerated by Darren Sammy (26 off 22) and Russell (29 off 16) with the pair both falling to catches by Martin Guptill off the bowling of Boult and Oram respectively.
Southee bowled out Tino Best off the penultimate ball to end the innings.
It’s not the result that the BLACKCAPS were looking for, but some solace can be found in the way Taylor played in his first ODI since October last year.
New Zealand will look to pick up their second win of the series in the fifth ODI on Tuesday.