July 11, 2012
It is not often that West Indies get a chance to win a series and seldom do they get a chance to seal it in straight games. That, in short, will be enough motivation for the hosts to continue their dominance over a lacklustre New Zealand side which is finding it tough to come to terms with the conditions in the Caribbean. To make it worse, the Kiwis have been plagued by injuries to key players which has reduced them to mere participants, instead of competitors, in the tour.
West Indies: A glance at the West Indies squad will tell you that they are potential world-beaters in the shorter formats, especially in their own conditions. Chris Gayle’s return to the top of the order has only increased their fire-power and he has already unleashed himself over the Kiwis in this series. The top order – with the likes of Samuels and Dwayne Smith – is amongst the runs, which has left little job for the middle order. The team is studded with all-rounders which lends balance and variety to the bowling attack; a luxury which skipper Darren Sammy particularly enjoys in the shorter formats.
Player in form:
Chris Gayle: Gayle’s scores of 65* and 125 in the first two ODIs has already demolished New Zealand mentally. Can the visitors recover and stop the big Jamaican?
New Zealand: No Brendon McCullum, no Ross Taylor, no victory. New Zealand have played 4 matches in this tour and have lost them all. What’s more worrying for the visitors is the way in which they’ve lost – none of the matches even saw a glimpse of a fight which one would associate New Zealand with. The small shoulders of Kane Williamson has been forced to bear a huge burden and he hasn’t been able to inspire his side till now. But they can take heart from their batting in the previous ODI, where 3 batsmen including the skipper scored half centuries. The form of Watling in particular has been encouraging, and the Kiwis will hope that at least one of them stands up and makes it big in the remaining games.
New Zealand’s problems with the ball, to put in short, has been the inability to remove Chris Gayle. They will have to find a way to break through the top order and get to the West Indies middle order, which has been largely untested till now.
Player in form:
BJ Watling: Watling’s scores of 60 and 72 in the first two games has been the only positive of the tour for New Zealand so far. Can the other batsmen stand up and support him?
West Indies are likely to go in with an unchanged side for the third ODI. The bench-testing may come into play later on in the series, if it is won.
New Zealand do not seem to have any options in their squad at the moment, especially in the batting. They may drop Nathan McCullum and play uncapped pacer Trent Boult.