Darren Sammy made an unbeaten 43 from 27 balls to help the West Indies to a two-wicket win over New Zealand in the series-opening limited-overs international on Thursday,helping the tourists rebound from their 2-0 test series defeat.
The win,completed in only 27.3 overs when the West Indies reached 157-8 in reply to 156,overshadowed the return to international cricket after two years of New Zealand opener Jesse Ryder,who made a five-ball duck and dropped a catch.
Sammy held together the lower part of the West Indies innings,battering three sixes and five fours to guide his team home after Mitchell McClenaghan had taken 5-58 for New Zealand.
The Eden Park match was notable for the performances of captains and brothers. New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum top-scored for his team with 51 while brother Nathan McCullum made 47,helping add 52 for the last two wickets before New Zealand’s innings ended in the 43rd over.
West Indies captain Dwayne Bravo took 4-44,while his brother Darren Bravo held three catches as the tourists dismissed New Zealand in 41.2 overs after winning the toss and bowling.
Sammy then took the reins of a disordered West Indies reply to lift his team to an important victory.
The allrounder set out to assert himself at the expense of the New Zealand bowlers,particularly the aggressive McClenaghan,and did so with a series of forceful,if improvised scoring shots.
McClenaghan took the first four wickets to fall and finished with 5-58 from 9.3 overs to help New Zealand make a deficient total seem competitive,though the erratic fast bowler embarrassed himself and his team by bowling head-high full tosses,jostling and abusing batsmen and scattering six wides.
Few bowlers in international cricket have taken a five-wicket haul from a more unfitting display. McClenaghan started strongly,bowling openers Kieran Powell and Johnson Charles with excellent deliveries which nipped back off a length. After having the West Indies reeling at 60-4,he returned to claim the important wicket of Denesh Ramdin.
Sammy gets last laugh
But his antics,inappropriate to a bowler of limited pace and control,detracted from his career-best bowling effort. He specifically targeted Sammy,who had the last laugh when he hit McClenaghan for a six and a four to clinch the West Indies’ victory.
I think the team needed a victory,we needed to start well as a wounded team,” Dwayne Bravo said. We are missing some key players but it’s important that the players who come in grab the opportunity.
Lendl Simmons made 34,lifting the tourists from 60-4 to 94-5 before Sammy steered them home from a tenuous 96-6.
I don’t think we played very well right throughout the game, Brendon McCullum said. Credit to Darren Sammy at the end there,holding his nerve and coming out and wresting the game back their way.
The match started on a low note when Ryder’s eagerly-anticipated return to international cricket lasted five balls before he was out without scoring.
Ryder’s was the first wicket to fall in a top-order collapse which saw New Zealand tumble from 10-3 to 6-66 on a briskly-paced pitch.
The 29-year-old left-armer’s previous match for New Zealand was an ODI against South Africa in February,2012. He was censured after the match for drinking alcohol while injured and immediately withdrew from the New Zealand team,refusing an international contract,while he tackled fitness and personal issues,including problems with alcohol.
What many supporters had hoped would be a stirring comeback story ended in anti-climax when Ryder chased a wide delivery in the second over and was caught at cover by Darren Bravo off Ravi Rampaul.
His dismissal set in motion the progressive collapse of New Zealand’s top order. Martin Guptill (2),returning to the New Zealand lineup after a lengthy absence through injury,was trapped lbw by Rampaul in the 4th over.
And Ross Taylor (3),the star of New Zealand’s test series win,was wastefully run out in the seventh over.
Brendon McCullum rallied New Zealand before he was out in the 31st over,trapped lbw by his counterpart Bravo who had his fourth wicket of the innings.
Brief scores: NZ 156 all out in 42.1 overs (B McCullum 51,N McCullum 47,D Bravo 4/44,J Holder 2/21); WI 157/8 in 27.3 overs (D Sammy 43 n.o, M McClenaghan 5/58)