The West Indies snapped a five match losing streak in the T20 International format today, as they defeated New Zealand by eight wickets with six balls remaining in Kingston, Jamaica.
The result offered just a consolation for the hosts, as New Zealand wrapped up the three match series when they went 2-0 clear on Friday. But it certainly meant a lot to Rovman Powell who, on his home ground, deputised for captain Nicholas Pooran.
“Playing for West Indies is always a dream, so imagine captaining West Indies in your home ground,” said Powell, before the match bowled off.
Fittingly, Powell hit the winning runs as he smashed James Neesham for six runs off the final ball of the 19th over to overhaul New Zealand’s score of 145/7. The Maroon Men, incidentally, achieved the target for the loss of just two wickets.
“West Indies adapted to the conditions nicely,” said New Zealand captain Kane Williamson. “They executed their plans beautifully.”
Apart from Pooran’s absence, West Indies also rested opener Kyle Mayers, allrounder Jason Holder and pacer Obed McCoy, with their places going to Brandon King, Akeal Hosein, Dominic Drakes and Alzarri Joseph respectively.
New Zealand won the toss and elected to bat. Powell tried to unsettle his guests with regular bowling changes.
“Last night, I asked the boys for their support and they gave it,” said Powell. “[…] We know how hot it is so I don’t want our bowlers to bowl too many at a stretch—[that] keeps the New Zealand batters thinking too.”
New Zealand had two half-century partnerships on Friday, including a 71-run third wicket pairing by Devon Conway and Glenn Phillips. Today, a 47-run stance between Williamson and Phillips was as good as it got for the “Kiwis”, who were bowled out for their lowest total of the series by some distance.
Pacer Odean Smith cleaned up the middle and had Phillips caught by King (41 off 26 balls, 4×4, 2×6) to finish with bowling figures of 3/29, while Hosein’s two scalps included opener Martin Guptill who was bowled for 15.
Drakes, notably, conceded just 19 runs from his four overs.
And, with the bat, another hometown boy, King, was also determined to enjoy himself with the West Indies team at Sabina Park. In his first outing of the series, the opener scored 53 runs off 35 balls (4×4, 3×6) in a 102-run first wicket partnership that was finally broken by Tim Southee in the first ball of the 14th over.
Devon Thomas lasted just five balls before he was caught off Ish Sodhi’s bowling for five, with the score at 113/2. But Powell and opener Shamarh Brooks took West Indies safely home.
Brooks ended on 56 runs from 59 balls (3×4, 2×6), as he followed up on his knock of 42 off 43 deliveries in the first T20I.
“Brandon has been batting very well—unfortunate he couldn’t play the first two games,” said Powell. “One went aggressive, the other (Brooks) was more defensive.”
The series was decided before today’s clash, so it is anyone’s guess what spectators should read into the final outcome. The Sabina Park audience and West Indies fans would have enjoyed the reprieve though.
Powell said Pooran would have enjoyed it too.
“We’ll have a little chat and laugh about it,” said Powell.
Toss: New Zealand
New Zealand 145/7 (20 overs) (Glenn Phillips 41, Kane Williamson 24; Odean Smith 3/29, Akeal Hosein 2/28)
West Indies 150/2 (19 overs) (Shamarh Brooks 56*, Brandon King 53, Rovman Powell 27*; Ish Sodhi 1/36, Tim Southee 1/37)
Result: West Indies won by eight wickets
Series result: New Zealand won series 2-1
Man of the Match: Brandon King
Man of the Series: Glenn Phillips