Result: BLACKCAPS 156 all out after 42.1 overs (Brendon McCullum 51, Nathan McCullum 47; Dwayne Bravo 4-44) lost to West Indies 157-8 (Darren Sammy 43*; Mitchell McClenaghan 5-58) by two wickets
The West Indies have battled to a two wicket victory over the BLACKCAPS in the opening One Day International at Eden Park in Auckland.
Having been asked to bat first, the home side collapsed to be all out for 156 after 42.1 overs. Led by Mitchell McClenaghan with a five wicket-bag, the BLACKCAPS showed plenty of fight with the ball, but their total was eventually surpassed after 27.3 overs.
The Windies pursuit got off to a shaky start when McClenaghan bowled both Keiran Powell and Johnson Charles with a couple of pearlers. He then took another two in his first spell to have the visitors in trouble at 60 for four.
However, chasing such a low total the West Indies only required a couple of small cameos to put the pressure back on the BLACKCAPS. Lendl Simmons kept his side on track with 34, but just as hope looked lost for the BLACKCAPS, Kyle Mills struck with two quick wickets to set up a tense finish.
The West Indies batted deep though, with Darren Sammy coming in at eight and playing some powerful strokes to elevate his side towards the target.
While their effort had been valiant, the home side could not hold off Sammy, with the right-hander hitting a four and a six in the 27th over to give the West Indies a 1-0 advantage in the best of five series.
A fired-up McClenaghan had kept the opposition’s batsmen on their toes, with the 27-year-old finishing with career best figures of five for 58 from 9.3 overs. Kyle Mills also picked up a couple of scalps, while James Neesham had one also.
Earlier, Jesse Ryder’s return had been short-lived, becoming the first victim of the afternoon. In the second over the 29-year-old slashed hard at a wide ball and made good contact, only for it to be caught at cover point.
Co-opener Martin Guptill didn’t last long in his comeback innings either, given lbw to reduce the BLACKCAPS three for two. Matters only got worse, with all of the top four failing to make double digits leaving the BLACKCAPS reeling at 66 for six.
The main resistance came from the McCullum brothers, with the skipper making 51 from 57 deliveries. Joined by his older sibling at the crease the pair began to rebuild, but it came to a sudden halt when Brendon was given out lbw. There was some doubt as to whether it was the right decision and the crowd certainly let the umpires know their thoughts with a chorus of boos.
That left it up to Nathan to add the extras and he showed just how valuable he is down the order. The experienced allrounder smashed three sixes and two fours to push the BLACKCAPS up to 156 all out. He himself fell for 47, but he had done enough to give the bowlers some sort of chance.
As it turned out, it wouldn’t quite get them there, but no one could say they didn’t give it a good crack.
The series now shifts to Napier where the BLACKCAPS will try to even up the series.