The Black Caps can't bat, can't bowl - once again
The problems are easy to recognise, but hard to fix, says New Zealand cricketer BJ Watling.
The New Zealand side has no time to lick their wounds after yesterday's nine-wicket schellacking at the hands of a confident West Indies side in their first one-day international, instead needing to look forward to tomorrow's second match in the series, also at Kingston's Sabina Park.
Watling, who scored 60 in New Zealand's middle order, was quick to pinpoint the areas his side need to improve. Everywhere.
"We need more runs on the board and we need to figure out how to take some wickets," he said. "We've got a lot to improve on."
Watling was a rare shining light in yesterday's big loss, the Black Caps' third in three matches on tour, after the two opening Twenty20 games.
Their 190-9 total was never going to be enough without dismissing Chris Gayle quickly. They didn't and, for the third game in a row, the big opener took to the New Zealand bowlers that he clearly has a taste for. His 63 not out means he's now scored 201 runs in three matches and been dismissed just once.
The Windies target was reduced to 136 from 33 overs after a two-hour rain delay, but they reached that mark with more than eight overs to spare and with nine wickets in hand.
Dwayne Smith top-scored with 65 not out as he and Gayle put on 130no for the second wicket.
New Zealand will practise today and, when tweaking their plan, Gayle will be high on their to-do list. "There's not a lot of seam or swing as such so we need to find ways of restricting and building some pressure and taking some wickets at the top," Watling said.
But the main problem was lack of runs. Yes, the bowlers needed to do more, but the batsmen needed to give them something to bowl at, Watling said.
The top order were all guilty of playing needless out shots, but Watling said execution rather than technique was at fault.
"We do need to execute a lot better with the bat and the ball. We have to get a lot better, we can't just keep making the same mistakes."
West Indian quick Andre Russell took 4-45 on his home pitch, but again wily Trinidadian Sunil Narine was the hardest to face.
His first five-over spell cost just four runs and yielded the wicket of Dean Brownlie. A Jacob Oram (32) free-hit six didn't stop the mohawked spinner finishing with excellent figures of 2-26. No New Zealand batsman looks comfortable facing Narine, but Watling, who did it best, said limiting his damage might be all they can hope for.
"We need to learn very quickly how to attack him and take 40 off his 10 without giving away too many wickets. Then go and attack the other bowlers more."
The Black Caps are obviously underdogs for tomorrow's match but stand-in skipper Kane Williamson said that could play into their favour. After becoming New Zealand's youngest ODI captain, Williamson asked his side to embrace the tag and play with the freedom that should bring.
"[Yesterday's loss] is a setback and it's disappointing, but we know we are underdogs and hopefully that sort of breeds a fearless attitude in our camp."
It remains unclear whether or not Canterbury all-rounder Andrew Ellis is available for the tomorrow's match, or the rest of the series. He will be checked again today by medical staff and a decision made on his availability.
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