New Zealand v West Indies: Second ODI Preview

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

The West Indies and New Zealand clash in an ODI at Hagley Oval in Chirstchurch on Saturday 23 December.

Comfortable victory in Whangarei and the probability of another leaves the Black Caps on the brink of a predictable series triumph, but the absence of two kingpins might suggest otherwise.

The West Indians, meanwhile, must find a way to sustain their aggressive approach with the bat - and trust their bowlers are able to complement this against an in-form opposition order.

 New Zealand v West Indies | Saturday, 23 December | Hagley Oval, Christchurch | 0:00

To Win Match
New Zealand 31/100 | Tie 35/1 | West Indies 5/2

New Zealand
The Kiwis remain a disciplined unit, determined to get the basics right - and add flair later. This was epitomised in the series opener and won't likely change 72 hours later. Formulaic, but successful, indeed.

Doug Bracewell's fitness is a concern. Having returned to international cricket with a telling four-wicket haul, he is in doubt again after a minor knee injury. If he is unable to play, Adam Milne and Matt Henry are just as - if not more - capable.

The hosts knew before the first ODI that they would be without Kane Williamson and Tim Southee for matches two and three - and now must plan accordingly. Neither performed particularly well in the series opener, though.

George Worker, importantly, showed that all is not lost for a top order XI minus the services of Martin Guptill. Alongside Colin Munro, Worker is a suitable replacement - and might even start to push himself ahead of Munro in the pecking order.

New Zealand have never lost an ODI at the Hagley Oval, where six victories have been evenly split between batting and bowling first, suggesting the toss will be less important than at other venues.

West Indies
Sustainability was always going to prove challenging in Whangarei, where the Windies' propensity for chasing big runs up front gradually ran out of steam. While they can do this in T20I cricket, a more measured approach is required in the intermediate format.

The relatively inexperienced Shimron Hetmyer and Rovman Powell performed well in difficult circumstances earlier this week, but will need to do even better if Chris Gayle does not play. The big-hitting opener is battling illness - and will likely be sidelined.

The rest of the middle order, well, needs to successfully negotiate the opposition's well-balanced attack. From chasing the leg-spin of Todd Astle to defending the out-and-out pace generated by Lockie Ferguson, balance must be found.

Still without a bilateral ODI series win in New Zealand in more than 20 years, the Windies dearly don't want to head into the upcoming T20I affair with another defeat, but are looking light on turnaround options.

They've played an ODI at Saturday's venue previously, but not against New Zealand. February 2015 brought them a solid victory over Pakistan - and plenty of inspiration needs to be drawn from that this time around. 

Verdict: New Zealand 31/100

While the stand-in captaincy of Tom Latham and the temporary exit of Southee propose some limitations, the home side will likely wrap up series victory, especially if Gayle isn't around to deny them.

Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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