Mitchell Santner took 3/19 as New Zealand defeated West Indies by 13 runs in the opening Twenty20 International.
On Wednesday, New Zealand won the opening Twenty20 International of a three-match series at Sabina Park in Jamaica by a score of 13 runs, continuing West Indies’ white ball woes. Black Caps, fresh off a successful European tour, batted first and scored a daunting 185 for five before rain halted their innings. Their top bowlers then held the Caribbean team to 172 for seven in their reply.
Since beating Bangladesh 2-0 in a Twenty20 International match, the West Indies have lost 3-0 to Bangladesh and 4-1 to India in back-to-back One-Day International series, with the latter defeat coming before the West Indies’ current assignment.
A 58-run eighth-wicket stand between Romario Shepherd (31 not out) and Odean Smith (27 not out) nearly cost New Zealand the game after they had slumped to 114 for seven in the 16th over. This partnership nearly made up for a spell of carelessness on the part of the Kiwis.
A three-for-19 performance from “Man of the Match” Mitchell Santner took the heart out of the West Indies batting, starting with the wicket of skipper Nicholas Pooran on the first delivery and continuing with the dismissal of Shimron Hetmyer and top-scorer Shamarh Brooks (42).
The left-arm spinner commented, “It was a little surprising to see this much spin on this deck,” after being presented with the trophy. Against such a powerful opponent, “bowling the appropriate lengths is crucial.”
After being sent to bat, New Zealand got off to a great start thanks to a 62-run partnership between openers Devon Conway and Martin Guptill. Jimmy Neesham’s late impetus, in which he smashed an unbeaten 33 off just 15 balls with three fours and two sixes, propelled the tourists to a target that was ultimately just beyond the reach of the bludgeoning Shepherd and Smith. Kane Williamson batted 47 not out off 33 balls to keep the innings moving on either side of the rain interruption.
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With his three for 32 in the T20I encounter, Smith felt like he had accomplished something special.
Pooran, contemplating yet another defeat in the lead-up to the World T20 in October in Australia, where the two-time defending champions will have to first make it through a qualifying round, said, “Winning or losing can be contagious and the problem is we are losing at the moment.”
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