The second match of the three in the T20 international series between West Indies and New Zealand takes place on Friday with the two sides once again meeting at Sabina Park in Jamaica on what promises to be an entertaining match.
West Indies should have won the opening match but floundered in the middle part of their batting so they head into this encounter knowing that they have to win to keep the series alive. New Zealand will claim the spoils if they come out on top here.
West Indies were competitive in that opening match but they failed to grasp the match in the key moments. They were probably on top not long after the rain break but their death bowling left plenty to be desired, although the potential of them bowling with a wet ball might level some excuse their way, and then when they had got off to a decent enough start with the bat they were unable to keep the momentum moving through the middle of the innings.
Either side of all that there was a lot to like about West Indies. One thing they need to sort out is their batting order. While these matches are designed for preparation for the T20 World Cup, their batting order is all over the place and it is about time players were assigned to certain roles so that everyone knows where they stand and they can prepare for them accordingly. They also need to find another death bowler to pair up with Obed McCoy.
When you consider that New Zealand were playing in Caribbean conditions for the first time on this tour, they will be delighted with their showing in the opening match. They weren’t just playing in these conditions for the first time but some of their players were playing their first T20 match of the summer so would understandably have needed the game to get up to speed. We can expect those players to come on for the run so to speak.
That offers up a huge positive for New Zealand when you consider that they won that first game while those players were getting up to speed. Aside from going the distance a little at the end of their bowling innings they put in a pretty impressive display. There wasn’t exactly anything wrong with their efforts at the death, sometimes there can be no bowling at West Indies batters when they have nothing to lose.
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Akeal Hosein wasn’t included in the opening match for West Indies but given that the pitch turned sharply for Mitchell Santner you would imagine he will feature here as he offers a batting option too. Romario Shepherd could be the one to step aside.
New Zealand were with their full strength line up in the opening game and you would imagine the intention is to give that XI all three matches with the backup players having featured strongly in Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands.
There were 19 sixes in the opening match and the likes of Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer and Jason Holder hit one between them so I think there is a strong chance of there being as many in this match if not more than that, particularly as New Zealand were hampered by a 90 minute stoppage halfway through their innings which halted any rhythm they were getting into their innings. The sixes line has nudged up to 14.5 here but I’m not convinced that is high enough.
The wicket did turn in the opening match but nothing which I wouldn’t have expected and we’ve had a day off for the square to recover a little so the pitch should still play well. The one thing we’ve seen from these matches in the Caribbean all summer is that a breeze seems to be strong across the ground so players can ride that when they are hitting big. There are no key bowlers to come in for either side so I expect to see at least 15 sixes in this one.
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