Solid knocks by captain Kane Williamson and wicketkeeper-batter Devon Conway and brilliant bowling by Mitchell Santner powered New Zealand to a 13-run win over West Indies in the first T20I of the three-match series at Sabina Park in Jamaica on Wednesday.
In the first innings, New Zealand posted 185/5 on the board in their 20 overs. Kane Williamson (47 off 33 balls), Devon Conway (43 off 29 balls) and all-rounder James Neesham (33* off 15 balls) made some valuable contributions for the Kiwis. Except for a 62-run stand between openers Martin Guptill (16) and Conway, Kiwis could not put up big partnerships. Medium pacer Odean Smith was the leading bowler for West Indies, taking 3/32.
Chasing 186 runs, West Indies lost wickets at regular intervals and at one point were 5/79. Shamarh Brooks (42) was the top scorer for the Windies. When Windies were 7/114, Romario Shepherd (31*) and Odean Smith (27*) joined forces for a 58-run stand. They tried to take their side across the finishing line but fell short by 13 runs.
Santner was the best bowler for New Zealand with 3/19.
Put to bat by the hosts, Martin Guptill and Devon Conway were off to a good start. Conway was looking extremely dangerous in particular, smashing bowlers left and right. Smith delivered a breakthrough for Windies, taking the wicket of Guptill for 16 off 17 with Shimron Hetmyer taking a catch at deep point. The 62-run opening stand was broken. Conway was out on the very next ball for 43 off 29 balls, caught by wicketkeeper Devon Thomas while attempting to pull.
Skipper Kane Williamson and Glenn Phillips tried to take innings forward after these two hiccups, but the latter was caught for 17 on Jason Holder delivery at short fine leg by Kyle Mayers, leaving NZ at 3/98.
Williamson and Daryl Mitchell then put on a stand of 46 runs, which ended with Mitchell being dismissed by McCoy for 16 runs. Five runs later, Williamson was dismissed by Smith for 47 off 33 caught by Hayden Walsh at deep square leg.
Then, Jimmy Neesham's late innings blitz (33* off 15 balls) and Mitchell Santner (4*) took Kiwis to 185/5 at the end of their innings.
Odean Smith was the star for West Indies, taking crucial wickets at crucial stages and ending with figures of 3/32. Jason Holder and Obed McCoy took one wicket each.
West Indies had to chase 186 runs. A mixture of quality spin and pace unleashed by Santner, Trent Boult and Tim Southee ripped apart their top order, leaving Windies struggling at 4/49. Brooks was trying to resist, but was caught by Daryl Mitchell at long on for 42 off 43. At this point, WI was 5/79.
Jason Holder and Rovman Powell tried to bring back their side into the game, kept the scoreboard moving for a while. Powell was the sixth batter to go, dismissed for 18 off 12 by Sodhi after Neesham took a stunning catch. Holder departed soon for 25 off 19 balls, dismissed by Boult. Windies starred at another defeat with scoreboard reading 114/7.
Then, Shepherd and Smith joined forces and started to hit some big shots. It appeared that the fortunes would swing in Windies' favour. But the duo failed to make 26 off the last over, falling 13 runs short.
Santner ended with the best bowling figures of 3/19 for NZ. Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson and Ish Sodhi took one wicket each.
Santner got 'Man of the Match' award for his performance.