Much like Jay Gatsby pining for the light at the other side of the dock, West Indies must be aching for the comfort of a win. On this trip to New Zealand, they have lost all seven internationals, not to mention a practice match as well. Unless West Indies win their final match of the tour in Mount Maunganui on Wednesday, they will return home empty-handed, a fate they last suffered in this country in 1999-00.
T20s may be West Indies’ favourite format but they presently have access to only six members from the title-winning squad in 2016 – Chris Gayle, Carlos Brathwaite, Andre Fletcher, Samuel Badree, Ashley Nurse, and Jerome Taylor. Along with that handicap came the challenge of bowling with a wet ball on New Year’s Day and the result just wasn’t pretty. The forecast for Wednesday isn’t promising either, with rain predicted in the afternoon. A truncated game might bridge the gulf between the two sides and possibly work in West Indies’ favour.
New Zealand, like West Indies, have missed or rotated key players, but their depth has been has been impressive. First-choice fast bowler Trent Boult will be available to play at the Bay Oval and fringe players Seth Rance, Tom Bruce and Anaru Kitchen will be keen to press for longer stints.
New Zealand: WLWLL
West Indies: LWWWW
In the spotlight
Seth Rance doesn’t have express pace but his ability to move the ball laterally should not be underestimated. After delivering a hooping inswinger to leave Michael Pollard’s stumps an utter mess in the Super Smash, the medium-pacer found himself on the brink of a hat-trick on T20I debut. Cloudy overhead conditions on Wednesday could suit his style of bowling.
West Indies’ best chance of squaring the series is through a Chris Gayle assault. After blowing hot in the Bangladesh Premier League knockouts, he has blown cold in New Zealand, managing only 38 runs in three innings so far.
The hosts are unlikely to make any changes.
New Zealand (probable): 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Colin Munro, 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Glenn Phillips (wk), 5 Tom Bruce, 6 Anaru Kitchen, 7 Mitchell Santner, 8 Tim Southee, 9 Doug Bracewell/ Seth Rance, 10 Trent Boult, 11 Ish Sodhi
West Indies, on the other hand, might consider bringing back Jerome Taylor for Kesrick Williams, who has leaked 76 runs in five overs.
West Indies (probable): 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Chadwick Walton (wk), 3 Andre Fletcher, 4 Shai Hope, 5 Shimron Hetmyer, 6 Carlos Brathwaite (capt), 7 Rovman Powell, 8 Ashley Nurse, 9 Sheldon Cottrell, 10 Kesrick Williams/Jerome Taylor, 11 Samuel Badree
Pitch and conditions
All three completed T20Is at the venue have been won by the team batting first. But the possibly of rain and early swing could tempt the captain into bowling first, as Carlos Brathwaite did on Monday.
Stats and trivia
- If New Zealand win the series 2-0, they will leapfrog Pakistan to become the top-ranked T20 team
- Martin Guptill and Colin Munro have hit 130 sixes between them in T20Is. Gayle alone has hit 103 sixes.
Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.