She: But he’s a nice guy.
Me: So what? Lots of those around. He could be an axe murderer with bodies buried in the back yard for all you know.
She: Stop being so cynical.
Fans coming into the ground yesterday were looking for two things: a West Indies win and a party. And they were blessed with both, as their team completely outplayed New Zealand by 39 runs in the second Twenty20 International and promptly after they held a party in the car park of the Windsor Park Stadium in Dominica.
The win by the West Indies atoned for the defeat the previous evening and the two-match series was shared 1-1.
The men from the Caribbean turned up to meet a near full house, urging them on to success and when Darren Bravo threw down Trent Boult’s stumps to seal the win, the crowd went wild.
West Indies batting first made 165 for six off 20 overs, on the back of an excellent 62 from man of the match and series Andre Fletcher. The bowlers then produced a great combined effort to bowl out New Zealand for 126 with five balls to spare.
Chasing 166 runs to win on a two-paced pitch was always going to be difficult for the visitors and they lost the contest by virtue of losing wickets at regular intervals trying to keep up with the required rate.
Kane Williamson at the top of the order was the only player who looked the part in getting 37 off 28 balls with five fours. Also getting starts but not carrying on were Brendon McCullum (21 off 16 balls) and Ross Taylor (21 off 23 balls). Apart from the trio the rest were just not up to the battle against a resurgent West Indies team.
Jamaican Sheldon Cottrell was the pick of the West Indies bowlers with 3/28, while the best of the lot was Sunil Narine who grabbed 2/19. The man creating the early pressure was leg-spinner Samuel Badree, who finished with 1/20 off four overs.
Earlier, New Zealand, as they had done the previous day, won the toss and decided to send the West Indies in to bat. With an eye on the future, the Kiwis decided to use Williamson as leader, despite the fact that regular captain Brendon McCullum was in their ranks.
The home team got off to a flyer as 10 runs came in the opening over by Tim Southee. However, the next seven balls would fail to produce a run and Smith had his timbers rattled by Southee.
In walked Fletcher the man of the match in the first game, to join Simmons and they batted well—not afraid to throw caution to the wind. Fletcher was on fire from ball one and it took Simmons a little longer to find his range but when he did, balls started to fly into the stands. In the process of his onslaught he struck his 100th six in all T20 cricket.
The duo brought up the 50 in 7.3 overs and runs were flowing like the adjoining Roseau River. At the halfway stage, the score was 74 for one and the foundation was laid for an onslaught in the final 10 overs.
Simmons then fell for 36 off 33 balls to the leg-spinner Ish Sodhi at 76. He faced just 34 balls and struck three fours and two sixes. The West Indies, learning from the error of the previous day, decided to play calypso cricket and the fans loved it. Bravo came and gave them a seven-ball 14 which had them on their feet. Kieron Pollard entering the arena to massive applause saw Fletcher register his second successive 50. The Grenadian got to the milestone off 42 balls with two sixes and two fours. Pollard slugged 13 runs off 12 balls when the big man from Diego Martin got a taste of his own medicine.
He pulled one from Anderson and Boult running backwards from deep mid-wicket took a one-hander, threw it in the air as he was going over the boundary and dived back into the playing area to claim the catch. It was almost a carbon copy of the catch Pollard took to dismiss Kevon Cooper in the IPL this past season.
It was hectic hitting in the end as Fletcher left for 62 off 49 balls with three sixes and three fours and Darren Sammy scored 10 off three. Andre Russell finished strongly with 14 not out off seven balls and the home team closed on 165 for six.
Sammy in his victory speech applauded the large crowd in attendance saying: “Dominica is setting the tone for the rest of the Caribbean (with crowd support). Today (yesterday), it was an equal playing field. We batted well, congrats to (Andre) Fletcher and when we bowled, we did what we have been doing in T20 cricket. If you notice, we won the World Cup in Sri Lanka where the pitches were similar to here. We do well in these conditions. We have the two best spinners in the world in this format.”
Williamson said, “It wasn’t a strong performance from us and West Indies played really well. At the halfway stage, we thought we did reasonably well but we lost our way with the bat. They took wickets at key times and made it difficult in the late overs. It was a nice opportunity to lead my country and I will be looking forward to it again in the future.”
WI vs N Zealand
West Indies Inns
D Smith b Southee 10
L Simmons c Anderson b Sodhi 36
D Bravo b Williamson 14
A Fletcher b Boult 62
K Pollard c Boult b Anderson 13
D Sammy c Anderson b Boult 10
A Russell not out 14
D Ramdin not out 2
Extras w5 5
Total for 6 wkts 165
Fall of wkts: 10, 76, 98, 126, 147, 148.
Bowling: T Southee 4-0-34-1 (1w), T Boult 4-1-22-2 (2w), J Neesham 4-0-31-0, C Anderson 4-0-51-1, I Sodhi 2-0-16-1, K Williamson 2-0-11-1 (1w).
New Zealand Inns
K Williamson b Pollard 37
J Neesham c Bravo b Cottrell 7
B McCullum c Simmons b Badree 21
R Taylor b Narine 21
C Anderson c Sammy b Cottrell 14
L Ronchi c Russell b Narine 12
BJ Watling run out 1
T Latham c Bravo b Cottrell 3
T Southee c Cottrell b Russell 2
T Boult run out Bravo 5
I Sodhi not out 0
Extras lb1, w2 3
Total all out (19.1ovs) 126
Fall of wkts: 8, 40, 82, 88, 113, 116, 116, 120, 126, 126.
Bowling: S Badree 4-1-20-1, S Cottrell 3.1-0-28-3, S Narine 4-0-19-2 (1w), D Sammy 3-0-22-0, A Russell 2-0-17-1, K Pollard 3-0-19-1.
Result: West Indies won by 39 runs.
Man of the match: Andre Fletcher.
Player of the series: Andre Fletcher.
Series drawn 1-1.