New Zealand (NZ) lock horns against West Indies (WI) in the first T20I game at Eden Park, Auckland of 3-match series. Due to the rain-interrupted play, the match was reduced to 16-16 overs for the respective sides.
The early call in the match was tough as both sides looked very complete. But New Zealand won the match after the early hiccups from West Indies bowlers. However, the target set by the West Indies was not easy for the hosts.
Kieron Pollard’s 75 runs sensational knock took the bail of the team. His know put the team into the driver seat to help the team to post 180 runs in the 16 overs game. The West Indies bowlers were less effective and leaked so many runs. This led to New Zealand chase the target before the 16th over.
Inexperience would be another thing in the West Indies bowling line-up they have lost the first game of the series hope they will come back stronger in the second game to keep themselves alive in the series. Having said this, let us take a look at the 3 things that went wrong for West Indies.
1) West Indies team failing to defend the target
Chasing 180 in the 16 overs and under the lights is the most daunting task for any team but for New Zealand, it was easy when they were batting against West Indies while chasing the total. New Zealand got off to the worst start when they lost Martin Guptill at the score of 7/1 on the fourth ball of the second innings. The situation got more intense for New Zealand when they have lost 4 wickets at the score of 63 runs in just 6.3 overs.
At this stage it was looking like West Indies will take away this game but Devon Conway and James Neesham put on 77 runs for the fifth wicket to put New Zeal and back into the hunt. The equation boiled down to 40 runs required off 22 balls which Mitchell Santner quickfire 18-ball 31 which included 3 sixes and unbeaten James Neesham 24-ball 48 which included 5 fours and 3 Sixes to help New Zealand to chase down this target with 4 balls to spare.
2) Taking the inexperienced bowling unit to tour
Probably the biggest reason West Indies have lost the game after scoring 180 runs in the 16 overs game and still come out as the losing team. Most teams have been losing the games in T20 cricket is because they don’t have genuine effective bowlers to defend the total. Although this format is ideal for batsmen hardly there is anything for bowlers but still, there are bowlers which are effective to take wickets at regular intervals.
Apart from Sheldon Cottrell who went 30 runs in 4 overs with one wicket, there were no other who was effective like Cottrell and you can’t expect the inexperienced bowlers to provide the team breakthroughs. West Indies don’t have another quality fast bowler like Cottrell who can stop runs and take wickets to provide help to Cottrell. Even on the bench, West Indies don’t have bowlers to provide help. It all depends on the batsman and all-rounders with Cottrell to help the team in the next two games.
3) West Indies fell short of 20-25 runs
Although it is something to be said for if the team scoring 180 runs and still losing there will be speculations team has to score more runs to make it more difficult for the opposition in the coming matches of the series. West Indies have no option to score big runs or try to bat second as they don’t have bowlers to defend the total which was seen in the first game. There is no point batting against Kiwis in New Zealand without the quality pacers if West Indies is looking to turn around the things in the next game.
They will have to come with a strategy or it will be very late before New Zealand seal the series in the second game or even whitewash them by 3 games of the T20 series.
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