Hapless Windies lose to Kiwis in T20 opener
NELSON, New Zealand (CMC):
West Indies were once again well below par as they crashed to a 47-run defeat to New Zealand in the opening Twenty20 (T20) International yesterday, to extend their wretched losing streak on the current tour.
Chasing a challenging 188 at Saxton Oval, the Caribbean side's batting crumbled yet again, and they could only muster 140 all out with six balls remaining.
Andre Fletcher top-scored with 27, captain Carlos Brathwaite struck 21 and Ashley Nurse, 20 not out, but the Windies never came to terms with a demanding run chase and lost wickets regularly.
They were torn apart by seamers Seth Rance (3-30) and Tim Southee (3-36) who both claimed three wickets apiece while medium pacer Doug Bracewell finished with two for 10.
Glenn Phillips had earlier top-scored with 55 and Colin Munro chipped in with 53 as the Black Caps racked up 187 for seven off their 20 overs after they were sent in.
Mitchell Santner supported with an unbeaten 23 at the end while seamers Brathwaite (2-38) and Jerome Taylor (2-41) picked up two wickets apiece.
The latest defeat was the sixth for West Indies in recent weeks following on from clean sweeps in the two-Test series and the three-match one-day rubber.
Their start was a bright one when Taylor pinned Martin Guptill lbw for five with as many on the board in the second over, but Phillips and Taylor then combined in an 86-run, second wicket stand to take control of the innings.
The 21-year-old Phillips faced 40 balls and struck four fours and two sixes to mark his maiden T20I half-century while Munro blasted six fours and a pair of sixes off 37 deliveries.
Nurse eventually accounted for Munro to a catch at long on by Brathwaite in the 12th over before leg-spinner Samuel Badree had Phillips bowled, missing a slog sweep in the 14th over.
In all, five wickets tumbled for 40 runs in 31 balls as the Windies stalled the hosts' momentum but seamer Kesrick Williams then conceded 25 runs in the final over, to let the Black Caps off the hook.
Required to score at nearly 9-1/2 per over, West Indies wilted from early. Chris Gayle departed for 12 in the third over, brilliantly caught by wicketkeeper Phillips running back and then diving to hold the left-hander's spiraling top-edge.
Off the very next delivery, Chadwick Walton (7) drove Rance to Anaru Kitchen at cover, to leave the Windies struggling at 19 for two.
Fletcher and Shai Hope (15) then rebuilt the innings in a 42-run, third wicket stand, temporarily halting the slide and offering hope of a Windies resurgence.
The right-handed Fletcher looked in a good touch, striking three fours and an extra cover-driven six in a 25-ball knock while Hope, on his T20I debut, consumed 17 balls and managed a single boundary.
West Indies' final decline started when Fletcher missed a charge at leg-spinner Ish Sodhi and was stumped in the 10th over and Jason Mohammed following in the next over for three, slicing Bracewell to Ross Taylor at point.
When Hope pulled Bracewell to Munro at mid-wicket two balls later in the same over, West Indies had lost three wickets for six runs in the space of 10 deliveries to slip to 67 for five.
Brathwaite slammed a pair of sixes in a brief 14-ball stay but once he picked out Tom Bruce at long-onn off Southee, all realistic hopes of a Windies victory also perished.