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|Smith, Gayle give Windies winning start amidst rain|
|Thursday, 05 July 2012 21:40|
KINGSTON, Jamaica (CMC) – West Indies defied rain to make a winning start to their One-Day International series against New Zealand yesterday, cruising to an easy nine-wicket win on the backs of explosive unbeaten half-centuries from Dwayne Smith and Chris Gayle.
Set a revised target of 136 off 33 overs following a two-hour rain break during their innings at Sabina Park, West Indies posted victory off 24.2 overs to earn their third victory in succession.
Smith smashed 65 from 77 balls while Gayle carved out 63 from 57 balls, in an unbroken 130-run second-wicket stand that crushed New Zealand’s attack which had struck early by removing opener Lendl Simmons without scoring.
For Gayle, the half-century was his third consecutive following on from last weekend’s Twenty20 double-header in Florida, and his fourth in five innings since his return to West Indies colours.
All-rounder Andre Russell had earlier made a successful return to the side with a four-wicket haul to help limit the Black Caps to 190 for nine, after they were sent in.
The right-arm seamer, who missed the two Twenty20 Internationals in Florida last weekend, finished with four for 45 to underline a clinical bowling effort by the hosts that has left their batsmen chasing a paltry total at Sabina Park.
Russell was supported by mystery off-spinner Sunil Narine (2-26) and seamer Ravi Rampaul (2-42).
BJ Watlin top-scored with 60 from 98 balls while Jacob Oram got a breezy 32 from 39 balls but New Zealand’s batting failed to come to terms with the Windies bowling.
The tourists were in trouble from as early as the second over when the experienced Martin Guptill edged Rampaul to captain Darren Sammy at second slip with just three runs on the board.
Daniel Flynn struck two fours in 12 before playing on to Russell in the eighth over at 30 for two and the next three wickets fell for 41 runs to leave the Kiwis struggling on 71 for five in the 24th over.
Watling then anchored two solid partnerships to pull New Zealand out of trouble, adding 46 for the sixth wicket with Oram then put on a further 44 for the seventh wicket with Andrew Ellis.
Overall, Watling struck five fours before he was ninth out in the 48th over, lbw to Narine.
New Zealand were in with a shout when Simmons tickled a leg-side catch through to wicketkeeper Watling in the third over with the score on six.
But Gayle and Smith combined to snatch the advantage back for West Indies in a highly entertaining century stand that was marred only by thunderstorms which roared across the ground with West Indies on 93 for one off 18 overs.
While Smith counted six fours and three sixes, Gayle matched him with four fours and five massive sixes, as both batsmen tore into the gentle Black Caps attack.
The right-handed Smith started in high gear, swinging fast bowler Tim Southee the fine-leg boundary for his second scoring shot and took a liking to slow bowler Rob Nicol, cracking the right-armer for a four and a six off successive balls in the bowler's second over.
Smith reached his half-century in style, lofting leg-spinner Tarun Nethula over long-on for six.
Playing before his home crowd in Windies colours for the first time in three years, Gayle was also in a savage mood and four of his five sixes were struck with immense power and easily cleared the straight boundaries.
His fifth six – off Nethula – sailed over mid-wicket and put him on the brink of his half-century and following the rain-break, he allowed Smith to dominate as West Indies cantered home.
NEW ZEALAND innings
R. Nicol c Simmons b Russell 14
M. Guptill c Sammy b Russell 1
D. Flynn b Russell 12
K. Williamson c wkp. Ramdin b Sammy 24
D. Brownlie lbw b Narine 1
BJ Watling lbw b Rampaul 60
J. Oram b Rampaul 32
A. Ellis b Narine 14
K. Mills c Samuels b Russell 1
T. Southee not out 9
T. Nethula not out 9
Extras: (b-1, lb-1, w-10, nb-1) 13
Total: (for 9 wickets off 50 overs) 190
Fall of wickets: 1-3, 2-30, 3-33, 4-48, 5-71, 6-117, 7-161, 8-164, 9-173.
Bowling: Rampaul 10-0-42-2 (w-1), Russell 10-045-4 (w-6), Narine 10-2-26-2 (w-1, nb-1), Bravo 7-0-32-0 (w-1), Samuels 7-1-20-0 (w-1), Sammy 6-0-23-1.
WEST INDIES (target: 136 runs from 33 overs)
L. Simmons c wkp. Watling b Mills 0
C. Gayle not out 63
D. Smith not out 65
Extras: (lb-6, w-2) 8
Total: (for 1 wicket off 24.2 overs) 136
Fall of wickets: 1-6.
Bowling: Mills 5-1-7-1, Southee 7-1-37-0 (w-1), Oram 5-0-37-0 (w-1), Nicol 3-0-20-0, Nethula 4-1-27-0, Guptill 0.2-0-2-0.
Result: West Indies won by nine wickets (D/L method).
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