The T20 series between West Indies and New Zealand concludes on Sunday evening when the two nations meet for the third time, with this match coming from Sabina Park in Jamaica just like the first two were.
New Zealand won both of those opening two matches and did so pretty emphatically so they will be looking to complete a clean sweep ahead of the ODIs here. West Indies will look to find some sort of form to take into those games with them.
There is just a naivety about the West Indies in this format of the game which is a surprise when you consider how dominant they have been in it over the last decade or so. They know longer have a team full of superstars who can smash the ball out of the park but that isn’t stopping them from trying to play that way. You sense they are going to struggle until they learn to rotate the strike and then belt the bad balls that come out of the park.
The other issue they have got is they bowl for batter errors now and they are just not getting enough of them to be competitive. The longer the innings goes on the more they seem to run out of ideas and if they are to be anything like competitive at the T20 World Cup, which is now just two months away, then they have to rectify that as well. I’m not sure the bowlers are captained great but the amount of balls they bowl in the slot sometimes beggars belief.
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After using recent series to get their squad players up to speed should they be needed during the T20 World Cup later in the year, New Zealand have brought their strongest side to the party for this one and have been far too good so far. They will be delighted with the way they have gone in the series to date and now need to decide whether to keep their foot on the throat or whether to bring some of the fringe players back to keep them active.
If there is one area that New Zealand will be looking at as a place they can find some improvement it might be with the seamers. We should acknowledge that these tracks are becoming spin havens rather than seam paradises so it is being a little harsh to pin any blame on the seamers but in this format of the game adjusting to conditions can sometimes be key. The rest of it all looks good as they head towards the T20 World Cup.
Given the way these pitches have been getting drier and drier and turning sharply I think the performance line of Mitchell Santner looks a little on the low side here at 28.5. There is a chance he will bat in this match having only faced three balls in the series so far and with an ODI series to come but even if he doesn’t I still think he can cover this line with the ball. West Indies look an absolute mess against spin and that isn’t something I expect to change.
Santner has taken three wickets in each of the first two matches and with the same square being used for this final match of the series I don’t see why he won’t take more wickets here. The only way West Indies might see him out is if New Zealand bat first and make a hash of things but there appears to be no signs of that happening right now. We only need two wickets if he doesn’t bat and if he takes a catch we’ll only need one wicket. However he does it I expect Santner to get to 29 points.
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