Windies out to clinch it
BASSETERRE – For the second time in four days, West Indies will try to steady their nerves as they seek a series-clinching lead in the fourth game of the five-match One-Day International cricket series against New Zealand here 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 here yesterday.
Raring to go
“We had a good chat, so everybody understands the importance of winning tomorrow and wrapping up the series, so everybody’s raring to go.”
Gibson admitted it was a disappointing performance on the back of the solid work the team had done before and coming out of a tough series in England.
“It’s not doom and gloom. We lost a game . . . . We look back at where we went wrong and then we aim to correct those mistakes in the next game.
“We just didn’t occupy the crease the way we talked about. There were no significant partnerships. All the standards we set ourselves as a batting group, we didn’t hit any of those and it cost us the game,” he noted.
The defeat was the first of the series for the Windies coming on the heels of their clean sweep of the Florida Twenty20 double-header and dominant victories in the first two ODIs in Jamaica last week.
It also coincided with opener Chris Gayle’s first failure of the series, after he had pummelled 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 No. 8 in the world and they are No. 7 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.
“The difference should be that we’re playing in our home conditions with our home crowd, and that should help us to able to go out and put in good strong performances in front of our own people all the time.”
He continued: “We tried to win every game but the reality is that we’re not going to win every game, but the attitude that we have should suggest that we’re trying to.
“If one man dominates the stats and we win the game, it doesn’t mean we’re a one-man team because that one man still needed the other ten guys around him to help him to be as good as he can be.”
Antiguan wicketkeeper Devon Thomas, who has averaged a mere 11.66 in his previous nine ODIs with a highest score of 29 not out, 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 win again to carry the series down to the fifth game.
“Not only did we win but we won convincingly, which has actually helped individuals in their approach to the next game,” Oram said.
“We’re well aware that it’s two games left and we’re still 1-2 down, so we’re trying to not get too far off the ground because if we don’t win the fourth game then the fifth one doesn’t really matter.”
New Zealand have also been boosted by the inclusion of the experienced Brendon McCullum. He will have his first game of the series after he arrived in the Caribbean on Wednesday and will take over the captaincy from Kane Williamson.
Pacer Doug Bracewell and fast-bowling all-rounder Andrew Ellis have also recovered from injury and are available for selection.
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 – Brendon McCullum (captain), Kane Williamson, Rob Nicol, Martin Guptill, Daniel Flynn, Dean Brownlie, Tom Latham, Jacob Oram, Nathan McCullum, Andrew Ellis, Kyle Mills, Doug Bracewell, Tim Southee, Tarun Nethula, Trent Boult. (CMC)