BASSETERRE—For the second time in four days, West Indies will try to steady their nerves as they chase a series-clinching lead in the fourth game of the five-match One-Day International series against New Zealand in Skitts today. Their first attempt on Wednesday ended in disappointment when they went down by 88 runs at Warner Park, on the backs of a miserable batting performance as they chased a moderate total. The defeat allowed the Black Caps to fight their way back into the series and claim precious momentum.
Another loss for the Windies would leave Monday’s final ODI as the decisive game but coach Ottis Gibson said his side had done the necessary reflection and he expected them to make amends. “We had obviously a disappointing game on Wednesday. Looking to wrap up the series, the importance of the game, dedicating the game to Runako Morton and then the performance we put in was certainly not what we expected,” he said yesterday. The defeat was the first of the series for the Windies coming on the heels of their clean sweep of the Florida Twenty20 doubleheader and dominant victories in the two opening ODIs in Jamaica last week. It also coincided with opener Chris Gayle’s first failure of the series, after he had pummeled three half-centuries and a century in the first four games.
As expected, the development has played into the narrative of the Windies being heavily dependent on Gayle in order to win but Gibson was quick to brush aside these suggestions. “No one-man team has ever won many things in any sport so we need all hands on deck,” he pointed out. “We know we’re number eight in the world and they are number seven and winning the two games in Jamaica just took us ahead of them but it’s two teams at the bottom of the table that in my opinion are evenly matched and we’ve got to show we’re better than them.” Gloveman Devon Thomas is the only change to the Windies 13-man squad, replacing Denesh Ramdin who is getting married at the weekend. Meanwhile, New Zealand have been invigorated by Wednesday’s victory and all-rounder Jacob Oram said it was important the visitors won again on Saturday to carry the series down to the fifth game. (CMC)
WEST INDIES—Darren Sammy (captain), Dwayne Smith, Chris Gayle, Johnson Charles, Lendl Simmons, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Devon Thomas (wicketkeeper), Andre Russell, Tino Best, Sunil Narine, Ravi Rampaul.
NEW ZEALAND—Kane Williamson (captain), Rob Nicol, Martin Guptill, Daniel Flynn, Dean Brownlie, Brendon McCullum, Tom Latham, Jacob Oram, Nathan McCullum, Andrew Ellis, Kyle Mills, Doug Bracewell, Tim Southee, Tarun Nethula, Trent Boult.