Gayle, Narine star as WI sweep series

West Indies completed their second big win over New Zealand to take the Florida and Twenty20 leg of the series 2-0. Already weakened by injuries to key players, including captain Ross Taylor, New Zealand had no answer to West Indies’ combination of power, explosiveness and intrigue.

Gayle threatened to cause as much damage as he had on Saturday before Nathan McCullum restricted him to 53, but Bravo’s burst ensured West Indies had another substantial total to defend. Narine, who had gone for some runs on Saturday, made a return to his miserly and productive ways from the IPL, picking up 4 for 12.

New Zealand were much more disciplined with the ball today than they had been in the first T20, but Doug Bracewell proved the weak link once again. In the absence of Kieron Pollard – rested after hurting his shoulder in the field on Saturday – it was Gayle who delivered again, after another slow start.

Gayle didn’t face his first delivery till the third over, and when he did, he went on to play out a maiden to Kyle Mills. With Gayle intent on taking his time, Dwayne Smith falling early and Johnson Charles easing off, West Indies went through a period of only one boundary in 24 balls.

Even that four was a thick edge off Gayle’s bat to the third man rope. Bracewell had removed Smith with his first delivery, but West Indies were to regain momentum in his second over, the eighth of the innings. Charles swatted a full delivery over long-on, Gayle pulled a slow bouncer over deep square leg and turned one for four past short fine leg.

New Zealand managed to pull things back again, conceding only 26 in the next four overs and dismissing Charles. But Bracewell came back into the attack, and Gayle took toll again, powering consecutive sixes over long-on and reaching his fifty with a slice over extra cover for four.

The momentum was to change sides once again. McCullum bowled Gayle after a missed heave and had Lendl Simmons caught at deep square leg to leave West Indies on 124 for 4 after 16 overs. Enter Bravo, after Darren Sammy and before Marlon Samuels. Bravo swung his first ball, from Tim Southee, over wide long-off for six, and hit three more in the next three overs as West Indies took 53 off the last four overs.

In hindsight, Bravo needn’t have bothered, given the way New Zealand crumbled against Narine. Struggling to pick him in the face of a tall asking-rate, Martin Guptill skied Narine to extra cover in his first over. Next ball, Rob Nicol walked past a flighted carrom ball to be stumped.

New Zealand continued to dig a deeper hole for themselves. Kane Williamson, leading the side in place of Taylor, managed to run himself out in the next over. Southee, promoted to No. 3, holed out off his fifth ball to give Samuel Badree his maiden international wicket.

Narine signed off his first spell of three overs with his third wicket, bowling Dean Brownlie after the batsmen backed away and missed. New Zealand had limped to 43 for 5 after nine overs, and the game was as good as over.

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