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Oram swings it for New Zealand

March 30, 2007
All-rounder Jacob Oram, who joked about amputating a finger on his left hand if it meant playing in the World Cup, paved the way for New Zealandís convincing seven-wicket victory in the Super Eights match against West Indies on Thursday.

He claimed three top-order wickets in the space of six overs with his deceptive bounce and late movement off the seam to have the West Indies reeling. The tournament hosts did not recover and eventually succumbed for 177 from 44.4 overs.

After Stephen Fleming had asked West Indies to bat following a morning shower, Shane Bond made the new ball swing extravagantly away from left-handed openers Chris Gayle and Shivnarine Chanderpaul. He was soon rewarded when the latter was caught by Styris at second slip for four.

But Gayle and Ramnaresh Sarwan steadied the innings. Gayle, on seven, smashed a ball through Peter Fulton's fingertips diving to his right at square-leg and then took three fours in a row off James Franklin's straight-forward left-arm medium pace to spark a revival.

The introduction of Oram, who said he would have the ring finger he broke taking a catch against Australia this year cut off if necessary to play in the tournament, was the turning point.

Oram had Ramnaresh Sarwan (19) brilliantly caught by the diving McCullum, who took an inside edge in his left glove. Then he forced Marlon Samuels (9) glove a catch to the wicketkeeper and the dangerous Gayle, who had scored 44 from 56 balls with eight fours, drag a ball on to his stumps.

The West Indies never recovered after those blows.

Oram finished with figures of 3 for 23 from eight overs. He got good support from Daniel Vettori, who chipped in with 3 for 39 in his nine overs.

Scott Styris steered New Zealand home with a fine innings of 80 not out as New Zealand cruised to 179 for 3 in 39.2 overs.

Photograph: Getty Images

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