Sunil Narine and Kieron Pollard have skipped the tour citing personal reasons, Marlon Samuels has been sidelined with an injury on his right hand and Alzarri Joseph is out with a back strain – it is not expected to be easy for the world champion in this format.
Having suffered heavy defeats at the hands of New Zealand in both the Test (2-0) and the One-Day International series (3-0), Windies was desperately looking to make it count in the first of three Twenty20 Internationals in Nelson on Friday (December 29) but fail to do so.
It was a comprehensive victory in the end for the Blackcaps. After a slow start by the home side Munro (53) and Philips (55) were able to get going and helped their side post a challenging, but certainly not an impossible target of 187 for the West Indies to chase.
After losing a couple of early wickets the visitor’s innings never got going. Losing their danger man Gayle so early on took the impetus out of the run chase and they lost wickets at regular intervals, which kept suppressing any momentum that was being built. Seth Rance on debut bowled well for his 3/30, Captain Southee finished with 3/36 and spinners Sodhi and Santner were both impressive.
In the end it was a comfortable win for the home side who take a 1-0 lead in this 3 match series. It will take the New Year’s Day match to find out if the Windies can bounce back or be white washed.