Lou Vincent’s second One-Day International century was the highlight of a superb BLACKCAPS top-order performance and put a National Bank Series clean sweep of the West Indies in sight.
Vincent’s excellent 102 gave the hosts a 91–run victory at Napier’s McLean Park and helped them to 324 for six, a massive total the misfiring West Indians were unlikely to trouble.
Their reply could only muster 233 for eight from their 50 overs, with a sturdy innings of 110 from Runako Morton – a mirror of Vincent’s knock.
Vincent enjoyed century stands with Stephen Fleming (67) and Nathan Astle (81) as he constructed a well-paced innings in 116 balls, only succumbing to the temptation to lash out after making three figures.
So often the big hitter, Vincent displayed of mature, controlled batting in an anchor role as Astle continued his form in a record 156 second-wicket partnership with Vincent.
Ross Taylor made his debut, scoring 15 from 10 balls before getting run out as he sought to speed up the run rate in the seven overs offered after the fine start from the top order.
The BLACKCAPS were forced into bat Shivnarine Chanderpaul won his first toss of the tour.
Fleming had set his team accordingly, choc-full of specialist batsmen, but not even this most experienced of international captain could have anticipated such a healthy opening to the innings.
The Windies’ attack was dismissed to all corners of the ground, which made Fidel Edwards’ efforts all the more special.
The young speedster, the tourists’ star of the summer so far, conceded a mere 23 runs off his 10 overs, as his team-mates were treated contemptuously by a confident home side.
Opening bowler Ian Bradshaw was hit for 74 off his 10 overs, while Deighton Over was hit for 21 off his first of the day, and removed with four to spare.
The tourists have generally looked fragile at the crease in New Zealand, but they looked dangerous at Christchurch and mustered some spirit at Napier.
Morton is a headstrong middle-order batsman, but like Vincent, he restrained his natural instincts to compose the West Indians’ first century on tour.
The Leeward Islands firebrand made his maiden ODI ton from 155 balls and was the backbone of his side’s innings, which saw them fall well short despite making it through the 50 overs.
Guayanese duo Ramnaresh Sarwan (42) and Chanderpaul (30) carried the fight alongside Morton, but once again Gayle and Ganga failed to fire at the top of the order.
Morton carried his bat but they could not challenge the imposing total, with Ian Bradshaw (one not out) at the end unable to contest at the death.
Fleming and the management team now lead the side to Auckland, where an excellent performance can be confirmed by an emphatic 5-0 scoreline this weekend.