West Indies have taken a two-nil lead in the ODI series against the BLACKCAPS, completing a 55 run win at Sabina Park in Kingston.
It was a familiar story for New Zealand, with Chris Gayle wreaking havoc with the bat to give the West Indies an imposing total of 315.
In reply the BLACKCAPS put up a valiant effort, but despite many useful starts no-one managed to push on to see New Zealand to victory.
Martin Guptill looked to play anchor to the innings and was going along nicely with Kane Williamson at 124 for two. However almost immediately after bringing up his 50 he dished a catch back up to bowler Darren Sammy.
Williamson though continued to push New Zealand’s case and found aid in BJ Watling. The pair looked good at the crease and when Watling smashed a no-ball six off Ravi Rampual the home side were starting to look a little nervous.
After putting on 70 for the fifth wicket, Williamson was caught leg before wicket and the task before the BLACKCAPS started to look increasingly difficult.
Watling was again sublime, scoring his second consecutive half century with an unbeaten 71. It was an exciting innings which featured paddle shots, reverse sweeps and effectively kept New Zealand in the game for much of the match.
In the end the BLACKCAPS though would fall 56 runs short of their target, but it was certainly a vastly improved overall batting display.
Earlier, Gayle had once again shone with the bat, belting 125 off 107 deliveries. The imposing left-hander made his intentions clear early on, hitting Kyle Mills over the rope three times in the fourth over. He then set about ruining the figures of the entire bowling attack in an innings studded with nine sixes and eight boundaries.
Marlin Samuels was also impressive as he fed the strike to Gayle early before building towards the end of the innings, eventually bringing up his unbeaten 100 off 102 delivers in the final over.
Captain Darren Sammy’s late cameo of 30 off 20 helped lift the West Indies to 315 for five.
New ball bowler Tim Southee had Lendl Simmons caught behind early for three before trapping the dangerous Kieran Pollard for eight and bowling out Dewayne Bravo for three to finish with the team’s best figures of three for 55.
The other wicket-takers were leg spinner Tarun Nethula, snaring Dewayne Smith (24) and Mills who dismissed century maker Gayle caught in the deep.
It’s another tough loss to swallow for the BLACKCAPS, but there were a number of positive signs from this performance, not least a far more determined showing with the bat.
A number of players will have brushed away a few cobwebs with some time at the crease and hopefully they can push on from this point.
They’ll need to lift again as they attempt to save the series in the third ODI on Thursday.