New Zealand vs West Indies: First ODI Preview

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

Can the West Indies turn around what has been dismal tour of New Zealand so far with a win in the intermediate format of the game?

The Black Caps displayed their authority over the West Indians across this month's two-match Test series, but will face a substantially tougher task in a format that demands a lot less of their current opposition.

The Windies have, indeed, been stronger in limited-overs competition than Test match cricket for a while now. However, they haven't won a bilateral ODI series in New Zealand in more than 20 years.

New Zealand v West Indies | Wednesday, 20 December | Cobham Oval, Whangarei | 0:00

To Win Match
New Zealand 47/100 | Tie 35/1 | West Indies 7/4

New Zealand
Kane Williamson and Tim Southee have been named in the squad for the first ODI, but won't play in the second and third. This doesn't necessarily bode well for consistency in the leadership and the seam-bowling ranks, but that's their discussion for later in the week.

Lockie Ferguson and Todd Astle have been recalled, with Ish Sodhi overlooked - and Martin Guptill still sidelined by a groin injury. George Worker will open the batting in Guptill's absence - and Tom Latham is set to take over the captaincy from Williamson, perhaps as soon as the series opener.

Ferguson's out-and-out pace, coupled with some swing, will be highly entertaining. His speed will either rattle the visiting batsmen - or yield plenty of boundaries during the opening powerplay. Either way, for the neutral, it will make for great viewing.

Prior to October's three-match series against India, New Zealand had not played an ODI since June's Champions Trophy. They've shaken off enough rust in the interim, though, and fifth place in the ODI rankings attests to their overall consistency.

The Kiwis' lone ODI at Wednesday's venue was in 2012. Williamson, Latham and Southee are the only survivors of that fixture. The former fell cheaply and the latter proved expensive, while Latham dug deep for a near half-century.

West Indies
A format that requires shorter period of sustained success than Test match cricket should suit the Windies, but they need to be careful of approaching the intermediate format with a T20I mindset. There are, after all, 30 overs more per innings to negotiate.

Shannon Gabriel and Nikita Miller are back, while the uncapped Ronsford Beaton has been included to bolster a seam attack minus the services of Jerome Taylor and Miguel Cummins.

Devendra Bishoo, too, has been excluded - this will leave a lot of pressure on the shoulders of left-arm spinner Miller, who hasn't played international cricket in two years.

That man Chris Gayle will, justifiably, hog the limelight. He struck two big centuries in the Bangladesh Premier League recently - and won't likely change his tack in Whangarei and beyond.

The battle between Gayle and Colin de Grandhomme would have been particular intriguing. de Grandhomme, though, has withdrawn due to a family bereavement. Gayle's duel with Trent Boult, then, is highly anticipated.

Verdict: New Zealand 47/100
The tourists failed to win a warm-up match against a low-key New Zealand XI late last week - and won't likely rectify their problems quickly enough a couple of days later.

Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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