Martin Guptill eager to make a mark at crease
New Zealand will look to maintain what has developed into an encouraging record in Queenstown when they eye up the West Indies today in the third match of the five match one-day international series.
In a 10-year and nine-game ODI history at the ground, stretching back to the first in 2003 against India, New Zealand have lost just once - to Pakistan in 2004.
However, in between those victories has been some poor weather, which could again stand in their way of another victory at the picturesque ground today.
The last two ODIs at the Central Otago ground haven't found a winner as rain has ruined the contest.
The forecast today is for another dicey day, with occasional showers throughout the day before clearing in the evening.
If the weather rules out play in Queenstown it will mean the Black Caps head to the final two games in the series in Nelson and Hamilton needing to win both to grab series honours.
With game two in Napier a washout there are some fidgety players desperate for action today, but opener Martin Guptill said they have to accept the weather.
"The weather hasn't been great for the last week or so but that's out of our control and we just have to prepare well where we can," Guptill said.
He is one player desperate for game time and runs.
The 27-year-old is looking to find his feet again in the Black Caps' setup after time out with injury.
In his first game back on Boxing Day he managed just two.
"It's been a while since I've played international cricket but I've shown some good form in the four-dayers [for Auckland] and if I can keep preparing well in nets hopefully I can take that out to the middle."
His opening partner Jesse Ryder is another player in a similar position to Guptill. He, too, is a class batsman and proven international but has had a relatively large break from the international arena and failed in Auckland, being caught at cover point for a duck.
Guptill has little doubts the talented left-hander is not far away from announcing himself again on the international scene.
"It's always good [batting] with Jesse. He's a seriously good player and the other day he was a bit unlucky.
"Any other day that could have gone for four."
Interestingly New Zealand have won the toss and elected to field in all but one ODI in Queenstown and the only toss they lost was against Pakistan in 2004, their only ODI loss at the ground.
Every team that has won the toss has opted to field first and there isn't likely to be any change to that formula today with the pitch expected to offer a little bit early for the bowlers.
Play is scheduled for 11am.
HOW THEY LINE UP
What: New Zealand v West Indies, third one-day international
Where: Queenstown Event Centre
When: 11am today, live on Sky Sport 1
TAB odds: NZ $1.45, WI $2.60
New Zealand (from): Martin Guptill, Jesse Ryder, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum (captain), Corey Anderson, Luke Ronchi, James Neesham, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Mitchell McClenaghan, Adam Milne, Colin Munro
West Indies (from): Johnson Charles, Kieran Powell, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Bravo (captain), Narsingh Deonarine, Denesh Ramdin, Darren Sammy, Sunil Narine, Jason Holder, Ravi Rampaul, Tino Best, Kirk Edwards, Nikita Miller, Chadwick Walton
LAST FIVE QUEENSTOWN ODIs
vs Pakistan, January 26, 2011
New Zealand won the toss and chose to bowl and after just 4.2 overs the game was abandoned with Pakistan 31 for none.
vs West Indies, December 31, 2008
New Zealand won the toss and opted to have a bowl with West Indies 129 for five after 35.4 overs when rain struck and the game was called off.
vs Bangladesh, December 31, 2007
Yet again New Zealand won the toss and had a bowl first. This game lasted just 43.5 overs but it was not a result of bad weather. First Daniel Vettori starred with the ball taking five for seven to help skittle Bangladesh for just 93. Then it was Brendon McCullum's turn to wow the crowd when he smashed an unbeaten 80 of just 28 balls. New Zealand took just six overs to pass the target without losing a wicket. Fellow opener Jamie How was seven not out.
vs West Indies, February 22, 2006
After winning the toss New Zealand had a bowl. A tight bowling display limited the West Indies to 200 for nine from their 50 overs. New Zealand were reeling at 13 for four in reply but Peter Fulton (49), Brendon McCullum (45) and Vettori steadied the ship to get their team home with eight overs and three wickets to spare.
vs Sri Lanka, December 31, 2005
No surprises New Zealand won the toss and bowled. Sri Lanka posted 224 batting first thanks mainly to Kumar Sangakkara's 89. The run chase was a tight one and came down to the last ball. Much to the delight of the home crowd, with the scores locked up, No 11 Michael Mason hit the last ball for four to win the game.
- Fairfax Media
Should Brendon McCullum open for the Black Caps?