T20 series preview: New Zealand v West Indies
The Black Caps head into the final part of their series against the West Indies knowing that it is going to take a lot more than showing-up to beat a side that has managed to show some backbone when it mattered.
<b>The Black Caps head into the final part of their series against the West Indies knowing that it is going to take a lot more than showing-up to beat a side that, although depleted, has managed to show some backbone when nobody gave them a fighting chance.</b>
Should the visitors managed to pull it off without the likes of Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Kieran Pollard, Ravi Rampaul and Darren Sammy – who are all recovering from injury – it would do their confidence a world of good ahead of the T20 World Cup where they should be at full strength.
On the other side of the coin, a T20 series loss to the Windies may just be the wake-up call New Zealand need as they make final preparations for the ICC event which gets underway in Bangladesh in less than two months.
Inconsistency has become synonymous with New Zealand cricket and is something they need to address if they are to live up to their full potential.
The Windies should approach this with that nothing-to-lose attitude that often makes them a far more dangerous outfit than those who have tried to emulate great sides of years gone by.
Obviously they would have loved a fully fit Gayle at the top of the order – the New Zeland public will also regret not seeing his fireworks – and the absence of the experienced Sammy will always have an impact on the side, but as they showed in Hamilton earlier this week, they are capable of dominating New Zealand's attack that often lacks penetration and accuracy when it matters most.
From a psychological point of view, the 363 runs they conceded in the final ODI would have hurt. The question is just how much?
Prior to the Hamilton humiliation Brendon McCullum would have fancied his team's chances of overtaking the West Indies on the T20 world rankings and although that is still possible, he would need individuals like Jesse Ryder and Tim Southee to step up to the plate.
This two-match hit out between the seventh and eighth rank sides on the T20 circuit should provide great entertainment as picking a winner is about as easy as predicting the weather in Wellington where the final match of the tour will be played.
His world record century in the ODI series highlighted the value <b>Corey Anderson</b> brings to the Blacks Caps and there is no doubt the New Zealanders will again look to the all-rounder to play a central role in the shortest format of the game. If he delivers they win. Simple really.
Solid with both bat and ball <b>Dwayne Bravo</b> holds the key to this depleted West Indies side's success. He is in good nick at the moment and will be eager to see his side finish their tour on a high note.
<b>Last Five Head-To-Head Results</b>
2012: Third T20: Match tied in Pallekele
2012: Second T20 West Indies won by 61 rung in Lauderhill
2012: First T20: West Indies won by 56 runs in Lauderhill
2008: Third T20: New Zealand won by 36 runs in Hamilton
2008: Second T20: Match tied in Auckland
In theory, New Zealand should be the stronger of the two sides and go on to record a 2-0 win. But this West Indies side is almost like the French rugby team – you never know which side will show up on the day so don't be surprised if this section of the tour also finishes with a <b>draw</b>.
<b>New Zealand:</b> Brendon McCullum (capt), Corey Anderson, Martin Guptill, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nathan McCullum, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, James Neesham, Luke Ronchi, Jesse Ryder, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor
<b>West Indies:</b> Dwayne Bravo (capt), Samuel Badree, Tino Best, Johnson Charles, Narsingh Deonarine, Andre Fletcher, Jason Holder, Nikita Miller, Sunil Narine, Kieran Powell, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Lendl Simmons, Chadwick Walton
First T20: 11 January, Auckland
Second T20: 15 January, Wellington
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