Cricket

Black Caps ease to opening Windies win

2017-12-20 08:05
Doug Bracewell (Getty)

Whangarei - New Zealand eased to a five-wicket victory over the Windies in the first one-day international at Cobham Oval in Whangarei on Wednesday. 

Ross Taylor, unbeaten on 49, guided the hosts to victory in the 47th over. 

Two wickets each for Jason Holder and Ashely Nurse were not enough to derail the Black Caps.

Openers George Worker (57) and Colin Munroe (49) added 108 for the first wicket to give New Zealand's chase a solid platform. 

Earlier, gutsy half-centuries from Evin Lewis and Rovman Powell helped the Windies scramble to 248 for nine. 

The tourists struggled after losing the toss and being sent in to bat, with dangerman Chris Gayle failing to fire and managing just 22. 

Gayle fell victim to resurgent New Zealand paceman Doug Bracewell, who celebrated the end of a 15-month exile from the national team by taking four wickets for 55. 

Spinner Todd Astle contributed three for 33 in his ODI debut as the Black Caps attack maintained constant pressure at Whangarei's Cobham Oval. 

Opener Lewis was the pick of the West Indies batters with a classy 76, while Powell staged a stirring rearguard action to score 59 off 50 balls. 

But it was as a disappointing batting performance after West Indies skipper Jason Holder said this week that 300-plus was the benchmark score in modern ODIs. 

Gayle - fresh from notching a record 18 sixes in the Bangladesh Premier League T20 final - was uncharacteristically subdued, failing to score until the fifth over. 

His aggressive instincts surfaced when he charged down the wicket to dispatch Tim Southee for six, going on to score freely with Lewis for a short period. 

But Bracewell then made a dream return, snaring Gayle with his first ball and then Shai Hope for a duck two deliveries later. 

Debutant Shimron Hetmyer came to the crease and helped steady the innings with Lewis, easing the West indies past the 100 mark in the 23rd over. 

But a steady stream of wickets to Astle and Bracewell denied the West Indies any momentum and they were limping along at 201-8 before Powell's late heroics. 

Earlier, New Zealand won the toss and elected to bowl. 

"It looks like a very good surface... it's certainly what we were hoping for, we'll try and make a few inroads early on," captain Kane Williamson said. 

The Black Caps are full of confidence after a 2-0 whitewash in the test series and Williamson said he backed his men to chase down the tourists' total. 

New Zealand have called on the express pace of Lockie Ferguson and brought in George Worker to open the batting in place of the injured Martin Guptill. 

All-rounder Todd Astle has also been given an ODI debut, while Doug Bracewell is recalled after a long absence from the national team. 

West Indies skipper Jason Holder said his side was buoyed by the return of Chris Gayle to strengthen the batting. 

"I'm not too disheartened to be batting first," he said. 

"Obviously there'll be some juice in it (the pitch) first up, but our batsman are more than capable of handling it." 

The West Indies, ranked ninth in the world, have not won a ODI series in New Zealand since 1995.

"It's a three-match series so we need to get off well and not be catching up all the time," Holder said.

Read more on:    new zealand  |  west indies  |  doug bracewell  |  cricket
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