The West Indian blitzkrieg rained upon the Black Caps in Florida, as they went down 2-0 in the T20 leg of the tour. It will not get much easier for the New Zealanders as they travel to the Caribbean, and a plethora of injuries and niggles will mean their squad is not at 100%. The West Indians have looked frighteningly good of late, and this series will be the perfect opportunity for them to get one over their fellow minnows.
The T20’s were extremely one-sided affairs, the West Indians showing the might that they possess in their limited overs batting ranks. The West Indies powered to 202/2 in the first T20, Gayle and Pollard in destructive form, and in the second they managed to reach 177/5 after another good start for Gayle and some late hitting by Dwayne Bravo. All in all, they were solid performances with the bat.
New Zealand struggled in that department. The West Indian total was too far beyond them in the first T20, they managed to reach 153 in the chase, but the run rate became too much as they lost regular wickets. In the second encounter their top order crumbled at the wily and miserly hands of Sunil Narine, as the Black Caps crashed to 116 all out. While Narine was by far the best bowler of the short series, indeed he is probably up there with Malinga as the best T20 bowler in the world, none of the other bowlers were able to capitalise on either side.
West Indies 2/5
New Zealand 2/1
Admittedly, the West Indies have not been playing against a full strength New Zealand side, nor have New Zealand successfully tested them in any of the previous encounters. However, the West Indies have won by some considerable margins, and one wonders whether the T20 format can be an area where the West Indies can shine. With the T20 World Cup coming up, the West Indians are looking stronger on paper than most. However, this is about one-day cricket, and they have had problems here recently.
Against the English their batting was largely fragile, and they carry the same squad into this series. There are only two omissions, that of Darren Bravo and Fidel Edwards. It seems Bravo will be missed the most, as he is the stabiliser in the middle-order, although he hasn’t made a great job of it in recent times. However, batting was their strength against New Zealand with the big hitters in great form, but it’s a different story pacing a 50 over innings to a 20 over one. On their home turf their spinners will choke New Zealand, and even the Australians found the going tough here earlier in the year.
The Black Caps problems have largely come from a degree of rustiness, injuries and Sunny Narine. New Zealand haven’t played an ODI as far back as March, and their lack of cricket in general was painfully obvious in Florida. They also had a torrid time in the first T20, losing Ross Taylor and Ronnie Hira to injuries. Ross Taylor remains in the New Zealand ODI squad, but how soon he will be back to fitness is a mystery. The batsmen will also need to deal with the mystery that is Sunny Narine, as it didn’t seem as though many of the Black Caps hitters could read him in any way.
Trent Boult has been added to the Black Caps’ ODI squad after a successful stint in the test team. New Zealand feel that they have the batting department covered and wished to add another bowler to their ranks. I’m not so sure of this strategy, but there is no doubt that Boult is a future star. Brendon McCullum is being rested for this series, and he will be missed for his experience and composure at the top of the order. New Zealand just don’t seem to have their bases covered here, and as usual, seem a star player or two short of a decent cricket team.
Controversial Sabina Park in Kingston will play host to the first two ODI’s. Previously one of the quickest tracks in the world, it has now descended to something more on the low and slow side. The West Indian spinners will surely delight in these conditions, and if the weather holds, we should have a good contest on our hands.
BEST: Top West Indian Batsman, Chris Gayle 15/8
Chris Gayle has been in utterly majestic form of late, and at the same time has learned a certain degree of temperament. I expect him to show this new side to him in the 50 over format, and bully the Black Cap bowling to all ends of the oval.
VERDICT: West Indies 2/5
On the low and slow West Indian pitches they can be quite a different prospect. The Australians found this out the hard way, and it looks as though New Zealand will discover it in the same certain terms. However, the West Indies are notorious for capitulation, so the live-betting markets may also prove lucrative.
Written by @IAMaverickWhite for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!
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