Gayle And Pollard Blast West Indies To Victory
West Indies 209-2 (Gayle 85no) beat
New Zealand 153 (Narine 3-34) by 56 runs
First Twenty20 International, Lauderhill
Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard dismissed any concerns about the nature of the pitch at Lauderhill as they blasted New Zealand's bowlers to all parts to help the West Indies to a comfortable 56-run win in the opening Twenty20 International.
Gayle started relatively sedately, by his standards at least, and it wasn’t until Pollard joined him at the crease following his first and second-wickets stands with Dwayne Smith (17 from 13 balls) and Johnson Charles (24 from 29) respectively, that he began to find his range.
The pair added an unbroken 108 from only 41 balls for the third-wicket, with Pollard ending on 63 not out from just 29 balls and Gayle on 85 from 52 as West Indies posted 209 for two. New Zealand were not helped by an injury to Ronnie Hira – who was struck on the finger by a straight drive from Chris Gayle - although all of their bowlers looked rusty, with Nathan McCullum (none for 30) the pick of them.
The Black Caps began promisingly in pursuit of their challenging target, reaching 56 for the loss of just Martin Guptill inside the powerplay. However, skipper Ross Taylor was forced to retire hurt with an injured shoulder and the wheels rather fell off after that.
Despite some poor bowling and fielding initially from the West Indies, they improved considerably throughout their innings, and, perhaps inspired by Dwayne Smith's typical excellence in the latter department, managed to effect two run-outs. Sunil Narine ended as the pick of their attack, and looked a much better bowler than the one who appeared so innocuous in England earlier this month, as the pitch offered just enough spin to allow him to run through his full repertoire of variations to maximum effect.
Jacob Oram struck a couple of sixes towards the end of New Zealand’s innings - despite hobbling around due to a knee injury suffered while attempting to field a ball earlier in the day - but he was eighth and last man out with the score on 153, with Taylor and Hira unable to bat.
The second and final match in the series is tomorrow and both sides will have to make changes, with the Black Caps likely to have to make at least three, and the West Indies looking for a replacement for Kieron Pollard, who fell awkwardly on his troublesome right shoulder whilst fielding.
© Cricket World 2012
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