Scott Styris’ 90 was the BLACKCAPS’ highlight at Eden Park as they ended their winning National Bank One-Day International Series, but they could not complete a clean sweep.
Denesh Ramdin scored a vital 38 and Wavell Hinds supported with a run-a-ball 40 in a 58-run stand as the West Indies sealed a three–wicket win to enter the three-match Test series with confidence.
With Brian Lara waiting in the wings, the BLACKCAPS completed their second National Bank One-Day International Series triumph of the summer, winning 4-1.
But young wicketkeeper Ramdin and all-rounder Hinds sealed a first tour victory after a well-fought contest in Auckland.
Styris was required to produce a tenacious innings to guide his team to 233 all out. The State Auckland Aces all-rounder hit a patient knock in 119 balls as the home side overcame a faltering start to progress.
Dwayne Smith ultimately ended Styris’ innings as one of five wickets, for 45 runs, on a good day for the Barbados medium-pacer.
The BLACKCAPS attack again restricted the tourists to another slow start but the Windies middle order produced for perhaps the first time in New Zealand to disappoint their hosts.
In sharp contrast to Napier, the full length of the order was needed.
Stephen Fleming won the toss and Lou Vincent had wanted to build on his century but scored just one before falling to Ian Bradshaw.
Then, Nathan Astle fell for four, caught Ramdin bowled Fidel Edwards with the score on eight before Ross Taylor’s introduction brought some momentum. The tyro produced seven boundaries for 31 off 29 balls but Bradshaw struck once more in the 12th.
Fleming made only one run more from his 49 balls as Smith struck.
Styris had to survive a dropped catch by Chris Gayle before forming a 50 partnership with Peter Fulton. However, the Cantabrian fell for 19 to Smith, as did Hamish Marshall and the Barbados medium-pacer also taking Brendon McCullum.
Franklin (seven) failed to stay until the end, Jerome Taylor taking a one-armed catch of swerving drive for seven off Smith. The batters crossed, and the very next ball Styris hit a lofted shot similar to that dropped by Gayle. But Smith, scenting his fifth victim, comfortably took the catch.
Shane Bond was dismissed for five, by an Edwards yorker he would have been proud of himself.
He soon got his chance to reply, opening the bowling with Mills and after another parsimonious spell, Gayle was bowled two with the score on six after 5.5 overs.
Runako Morton, another Napier centurion, replaced him and put on 48 with Daren Ganga before falling to Franklin. With the score on 72, Mills caught Ganga off Jeetan Patel in the deep for 32 and Bond returned to remove Smith for 16, caught Vincent.
Shivanrine Chanderpaul entered the action at 98 for four and looked like forging a dangerous partnership with Dwayne Bravo before the all-rounder was removed by McCullum’s stumping off Astle.
Hinds’ arrival prompted a burst by the West Indians as they sought to up the tempo. However, Chanderpaul tried a six off Mills, but Patel was underneath it on the boundary to curtail his evening on 41.
Hinds and Ramdin took charge and their partnership motored on ominously for the BLACKCAPS.
Ramdin succumbed looking for the winning runs after Styris caught his lofted shot off Bond. But Hinds did tally the important score.
The duo ensured their team go into the Test series, starting at the same venue on Thursday, with optimism – and with their most prolific run-getter returning to the side.