The BLACKCAPS weathered an early storm in Queenstown against the West Indies to take a three–wicket win and 2-0 lead in The National Bank Series.
Daniel Vettori made an unbeaten 53 in harness with James Franklin (15) as part of an unbroken 63-run stand to take the side over the finishing line with eight overs in hand, after they recovered from 13 for four after only 20 balls faced.
A sixth-wicket partnership between Peter Fulton and Brendon McCullum had boosted the team towards their target of 200, and an unbroken stand of 60 between the all-rounders saw them home.
The West Indies had posted their 200 for nine wickets from their 50 overs after being put into bat by Stephen Fleming, in his 250th One-Day International.
Wavell Hinds, also celebrating a landmark - his 100th ODI appearance – made 75 to strengthen his side’s position from 60-4.
He was one of two victims for Shane Bond, for 21 runs, with Michael Mason also taking two for 32 from eight before his replacement for Jeetan Patel. McCullum also took three catches.
The visitors started slowly and went three overs without scoring as the wickets fell, starting with Chris Gayle, for a duck, off a late in-swinger from Bond.
Runako Morton pressed on, though, and played an anchor role in a 70-run fifth-wicket stand with Hinds. However, the Leeward Islands batsman fell for 39, attempting a six-hit off Vettori which fell short to Nathan Astle at deep mid-wicket.
Hinds put on another 28 with Dwayne Smith (14) before the latter’s hesitant running was exploited by Scott Styris, whose accuracy gave McCullum time to complete a straightforward run out.
Hinds looked the man to take his team over the 200 mark, but became McCullum’s third catch of the innings, off Bond.
Substitute Patel had by then replaced Mason and took the wicket of Ian Bradshaw, for five, in the penultimate over and Fidel Edwards was run out chasing a second run off the last ball of the innings.
But the BLACKCAPS reply was marked by a most difficult start, as the speedy Edwards and Bradshaw caused havoc.
Jamie How was removed first over, with the score at 10, trapped lbw by Edwards, followed in quick succession by Lou Vincent, bowled Bradshaw for five and Astle for two, caught by Hinds off Edwards.
Fleming could not add to the score before falling to Bradshaw, lbw, off the second ball faced and Scott Styris made 10 before falling to Gayle.
McCullum moved into the middle and launched a typical counter attack, anchored by a solid performance by Fulton.
However, he fell one run short of 50, caught by Chris Gayle off Jerome Taylor.
McCullum’s intention to run was clear but was caught out after a sharp piece of fielding by Runako Morton enforced a run out, given by the third umpire.
That brought Vettori and Franklin together and a now customary six from the Wellingtonian was the highlight of an otherwise stolid, mature innings.
But it was the vice-captain’s half-century – which took him over the 1000-run barrier in ODIs – which completed a hard-fought, well-earned victory.