Tuesday, 10 July 2012
West Indies vs New Zealand – 3rd ODI Preview
West Indies vs New Zealand | 11 July | St Kitts | 15:20
Although as a lover of the game I have always appreciated the titanic force that is Chris Gayle, my doubts always lay in his inability to have any gear other than the sixth. These doubts were only heightened by what looked like an apparent laziness. I never agreed with his axing from the team, but sometimes I did wonder whether he was more trouble than he was worth. He has returned with a far better temperament and is now able to time his breakneck innings’ to perfection, without a hint of indifference. As New Zealand have found out the hard way, Chris Gayle is now the most frightening batsman in limited overs cricket. And the Black Caps can’t find a way to get him out.
The second ODI was once again all about the West Indies and their game-changing opening batsman. The West Indies batted first and amassed 315 runs for the loss of 5 wickets as both Chris Gayle and fellow Jamaican Marlon Samuels went to ODI centuries. Batting together for the first time in five years, their contrasting styles metred the West Indian innings perfectly as Gayle cleared the rope with regularity and Samuels knocked around the singles and kept the scoreboard ticking. New Zealand bowled well at the death to subdue the West Indian onslaught, as at one stage, the total looked on course for 350.
Nevertheless, it was still always going to be too much for an inexperienced Black Cap batting line-up. Although their chase got off to a reasonable start, the two settled batsmen Guptill and Williamson failed to pull off the big hits when they were needed as the run rate began to inflate. Watling joined Williamson and attempted to revive the innings, but it was already too late. Good news for the New Zealanders is that Watling’s 72 not out improved on his highest ODI total for the second game in a row, and the keeper looks to be going from strength to strength. However, New Zealand finished 55 runs short of the total, and will need bigger scores from their top five if they are to turn this series around.
West Indies 2/7
New Zealand 11/4
After receiving a hiding at the hands of the English, the West Indians have turned their fortunes around in a display of complete dominance over the touring New Zealand side. Although the Black Caps are a far cry from the English, they are no slouches and the West Indians have done well to secure their victories. Their superiority has come largely off the middle of the bat, Chris Gayle integral with match-winning innings in all four contests, as well as runs from Dwayne Smith and Marlon Samuels in support. With Pollard and Dwayne Bravo rounding up the middle-order, at limited overs level, the West Indies are now a dangerous prospect.
Sunil Narine has been impressive, something he most certainly was not against the English. Miserly in the first ODI, he went for a few more runs in the second, but managed to pick up two wickets in each. Russell and Rampaul have also picked up wickets for the seamers, which bodes well for the West Indians on slow pitches where spin can dominate. However, it must be mentioned that the New Zealand batting line-up is significantly weakened, and with a bit more structure, could make the West Indians toil if things come together. Having said that, it doesn’t look likely that they will.
The inexperienced Black Caps are getting a baptism of fire at the hands of the West Indians, and none seem capable of taking the bull by the horns and putting big runs on the board. It has already been identified that McCullum’s rest period has left a huge hole in the batting line-up, but it’s no use crying over spilt milk. The big blow came with the injury of Ross Taylor in Florida, and without the captain and most talented batsman, New Zealand look as flat as the wicket in Colombo. Williamson and Guptill looked improved, and Watling has hit some nice form, but none look like putting up that all important century to take the game away from the hosts.
New Zealand’s bowling has lacked penetration and aggression, with Gayle looking as though it is a simple matter of choice of which balls to dispatch over the boundary rope. Tim Southee picked up three in the second ODI, and this will please the camp as he has struggled to find his feet in recent engagements. Otherwise the bowling has also been hugely expensive and the spin options haven’t worked, something that is integral on West Indian wickets. The wickets should suit Nathan McCullum’s style of turn perfectly; however he has yet to look a threat. It’s difficult to see where New Zealand’s saving grace lies, and the only conclusion is that it is currently not there at all.
Warner Park on the island of St Kitts will play host to the remainder of the ODI series, and New Zealand will be hoping the island brings them luck. However, New Zealand have never played an ODI at the ground, so it will be yet another new experience for this inexperienced lot. The weather looks clear for Wednesday, which is always a positive, as no punter is a fan of rain interruptions in one-day games.
BEST: Top New Zealand Batsman, Kane Williamson 5/1
I’ve never been much of a fan of Kane Williamson at ODI level. He is definitely a batsman full of promise, but seems to lose his way when the going gets tough. He played well in the last ODI and as stand-in captain at such a tender age, has taken the responsibility well. In a fragile batting line-up with an out-of-form Guptill, Williamson looks a nice bet at 5/1. Cover with an 18/10 shot on Chris Gayle for the Windies, and you may have a tidy sum at the end of the day.
VERDICT: West Indies 2/7
The West Indies have looked well and truly superior and I don’t see this changing anytime soon. Taylor’s injury status is still unknown, but even his addition won’t be able to swing the pendulum back the other way. Put your money on the Windies and reap the rewards.
Written by @IAMaverickWhite for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!
Think we've got it wrong? Well leave your comments below and tell us how you think this one is going to play out.