New Zealand relied on their two most experienced batsmen to defeat the West Indies by 12 runs on the Duckworth/Lewis scoring method in the rain-affected first T20 International at Windsor Park to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.
Replying to the home side’s total of 132 for eight off 18 overs in the rain-affected match, the tourists were cruising at 117 for four after 15 overs when the cumulative effect of a persistent drizzle and fading light forced the umpires to call a halt to the match yesterday.
The final match is scheduled for Sunday at the same venue.
Brendon McCullum spearheaded the run-chase for the Black Caps, the captain underlining his reputation as one of the most prolific scorers in the shortest form of the international game with an innings of 40 off 35 balls to wrest the initiative for his team despite a three-wicket burst by his West Indies counterpart, Darren Sammy.
He came to the crease when Krishmar Santokie had Jimmy Neesham bowled off the inside-edge and found an able partner in Kane Williamson.
The man of the series from the Tests helped his captain put on 53 for the second wicket before he became Sammy’s first wicket.
McCullum’s knock, and the support of Ross Taylor (28 not out), overshadowed the pulverizing innings of 52 off 39 balls by Andre Fletcher that paced the West Indies to what seemed a competitive total after they were in early trouble at 10 for two.
Taylor smashed two sixes and a four off an over from all-rounder Russell that shot New Zealand so far ahead of the required rate that victory was a formality from that point.
Fletcher and Darren Bravo (30) put on 88 for the third wicket, but the excellent bowling of seamer Tim Southee (2 for 20) restricted the home side in the critical final overs of the innings.
Debutant leg-spinner Ish Sodhi was the only New Zealand bowler to suffer against the West Indies batsmen, conceding 35 runs off three overs.
He did have the consolation however of claiming the wicket of Fletcher just at the point where the attacking right-hander was set to accelerate even further.