New Zealand edge past West Indies despite Pollard blasts
New Zealand have taken 1-0 lead in the three match T20I series after a dramatic five-wicket win (D/L) over West Indies in the rain-interrupted series opener at Eden Park, Auckland.
The Blackcaps were set a target of 176 to win in 16 overs, according to the D/L method. The game was evenly poised until seamer Keemo Paul bowled four no-balls in the 14th over. Three of them were waist-high but the umpires felt only one was ‘dangerous’. Paul’s 14-run leak led to NZ needing 15 runs from the last two overs.
Mitchell Santner, coming into bat at No.7, did the finishing touch with a six off Kieron Pollard on the second ball in the last over. Santner scored 31* runs from 17 balls with three sixes.
Earlier in the chase, New Zealand top-order men did not last long. Glenn Phillips played a cameo of 7-ball 22 runs. Ross Taylor departed for a four-ball duck.
Devon Conway and James Neesham revived the hosts in a 77-run fifth-wicket stand. Conway scored 41 from 29 on his T20I debut. Neesham, on the other hand, stayed till the end with 24-ball 48* runs including 5 fours and 3 sixes.
West Indies were off to a flier after losing the toss. Opener Andre Fletcher, who smacked 34 off 14, took the West Indies’ score 58/0 in no time.
However, the visitors lost five wickets for one run in a bizarre batting collapse. Lockie Ferguson picked up Fletcher and Shimron Hetmyer (0) in the fourth over. Skipper Tim Southee dismissed Brandon King (13) and Rovman Powell (0) in the next. Ferguson returned with the wicket of Nicholas Pooran (1) to reduce the West Indians to 59/5.
West Indies captain Pollard slammed a career-high score of 75* runs off 37 balls to put his side to 180/7 in 16 overs. He hit 8 sixed and 4 fours on his course, supported by Fabian Allen’s 30.
Ferguson notched up a maiden five-for, 5 for 21 runs in the run fest.
The match saw a packed crowd at the Eden Park. New Zealand is one of the safest countries in the ongoing pandemic.
West Indies 180/7 in 16 overs (Pollard 75*, Fletcher 34; Ferguson 5/21, Southee 2/22)
New Zealand 179/5 in 15.2 overs (Neesham 48*, Conway 41, Santner 31*; Thomas 2/23)
New Zealand won by 5 wickets (D/L method)
Man of the Match: Lockie Ferguson