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New Zealand have ended their Caribbean cricket tour on a losing note with West Indies levelling the series 1-1 after winning the second and final Twenty20 international match by 39 runs.
Chasing a gettable 166 to win the series 2-0, the Black Caps were dismissed for 126 with five balls remaining as none of their batsmen could top 40 at Roseau, Dominica.
On a dry, sluggish pitch, the same strip used for New Zealand’s win yesterday, stand-in skipper Kane Williamson topscored with 37, but neither he, Brendon McCullum (21) or Ross Taylor (21) could kick on to finish the job.
The two T20s didn’t have much relevance for New Zealand who persisted with their 15-man test squad. The biggest plus was the form of left-armer Trent Boult, with two excellent spells to show he can be a force with the white ball, too, with the World Cup looming.
The defeat didn’t detract from a successful five-week tour as New Zealand achieved their goal of a coveted test series win in the Caribbean.
Requiring a tick over eight runs per over, the Black Caps lost regular wickets as batsmen made promising starts then departed.
The experiment to open with Jimmy Neesham (7) didn’t bear fruit over the two days as he departed for another single figure score. This time it was a poor dismissal, nudging a low full toss to backward point.
Williamson seized the moment with a breezy 37 off 28, a mix of sweeps and lofted drives, as he looked to take charge of the pursuit. But he was fooled by Kieron Pollard, an off-cutter which glanced off his body onto the stumps.
McCullum and Taylor both cruised into the 20s; McCullum slapping a short ball to cover and Taylor beaten by a gem that turned sharply from mystery spinner Sunil Narine.
Big-hitting Corey Anderson was the last big hope as the required run rate skyrocketed past 12, and when he was smartly caught by skipper Darren Sammy for 14 it was all over at Windsor Park.
Left-armer Sheldon Cottrell (3-28) and Narine (2-19) were the main destroyers.
West Indies posted a roughly par 165-6 on a much improved day from New Zealand’s rain-soaked 12-run victory via the Duckworth-Lewis method in game one.
The tourists named an unchanged side but handed Williamson the reins as part of what was described as “future captaincy planning”.
Again, No 3 Andre Fletcher did the damage with a knock of 62 off 49 balls, including three sixes.
Boult again showed he wasn’t just a test specialist with another sharp performance with the white ball to stop the hosts pushing up past 180.
He returned the excellent figures of 2-22 after skittling Fletcher, then pulled off another stunning outfield catch to remove dangerman Pollard for 13. Roaming on the boundary, Boult took the chance just inside the rope then threw the ball up and regathered with a spectacular dive.
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