Trent Boult, fast, furious and virtually unplayable under overcast skies on a seaming track, ripped through West Indies’ top order to clinch New Zealand’s 66-run win via DLS method along with a 3-0 series whitewash at Hagley Oval.
Two nights prior, Boult had returned the second-best ODI figures by a New Zealand bowler at this venue. On Boxing Day, he picked three wickets across his first two overs to leave West Indies tottering at 9 for 5 in their pursuit of the revised target of 166 off 23 overs. That, there, was the game ripped out as West Indies remained winless on tour. More importantly, they weren’t any closer to determining their squad balance ahead of the 2019 World Cup qualifiers in March.
Given West Indies’ prowess in the shortest format, a target of 166 – set up for New Zealand largely by Ross Taylor (47 not out) and Tom Latham (37) – should have been right down their alley. But the loss of Chris Gayle in the first over, after he sliced a catch to point, didn’t help matters. Things only became worse
Shai Hope hit a full in swinging delivery to midwicket, Kyle Hope was pinned in front by a full delivery that angled in although that was a debatable lbw call, Jason Mohammed’s defence was breached by a full delivery that tailed in late to beat the inside edge and Chadwick Walton, replacing the injured Evin Lewis, was snuffed out by Boult’s toe-crusher. West Indies captain Holder briefly triggered a surge as he picked off 15 off Todd Astle’s first over, but the wickets of Rovman Powell and Ashley Nurse in successive overs left him high and dry.
New Zealand’s spinners got into the act too. Mitchell Santner slowed the ball down and deceived Powell in flight, while Astle came back from a costly first over to dismiss Nurse with a ripping googly that left West Indies at 58 for 7. Santner went on to pick two more wickets for returns of 3 for 15.
The pace at which the house came down for West Indies was in sharp contrast to earlier in the day, when their faster men had New Zealand hopping and jumping. With every passing minute early on, it became increasingly evident that this was a very good toss to lose on a juicy surface under overcast skies.
Summarized scores: 23 overs a side New Zealand 131 for 4 (Taylor 47*, Latham 37) beat West Indies 99 for 9 (Holder 34, Santner 3-15, Boult 3-18) by 66 runs (Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method)