The West Indian players and the officials of the Local Organizing Committee pleaded with residents to turn out and they did. They actually sold out the stadium. From all reports the stadium ran out of tickets and the full capacity was met.
But what went wrong? The West Indies team delivered their worst performance so far in the series and suffered a humiliating defeat, in front of over 8,000 disappointed fans; with many leaving the stadium before the end, complaining about the “lack of effort”.
It was billed to be the day when West Indies would comfortably clinch the series, having already won the first two matches in Jamaica and the two T20s in Florida.
Instead West Indies was trounced by New Zealand in the 3rd Digicel One Day International at Warner Park, St. Kitts, on Wednesday 11th July, 2012.
In pre-match interviews, New Zealand had revealed that part of their plan and strategy was to get rid of Gayle early, before he could do too much damage. They made a plan. They strategized and they executed accordingly. This essentially is what has been beating our Caribbean side for years; poor strategy. West Indies must be regretting now that they decided to take a rest day on Monday, after they and New Zealand arrived in St. Kitts on Sunday, 8th July. New Zealand however, went straight to practice on Monday, while West Indies had a day of relaxation.
The day started out with West Indies captain winning the toss and to the surprise of many spectators in the crowd, he opted to bowl first, instead of taking advantage of a very nice batting surface. Everyone knows that Warner Park is a batter’s paradise and a bowler’s nightmare. Except Sammy it seems.
The New Zealand batsmen got off to a fast start but lost some wickets in the middle overs, setting them back somewhat; but with some quick runs at the end, they pushed up to 249-9 off their allotted 50 overs. Not a big score, but yes, challenging. It is runs already on the board, as is said in cricket.
For New Zealand Rob Nicol stroked 59 while Nathan McCullum added 50.
Bowling for West Indies saw Andre Russell picking up 4 wickets for 57 runs while Sunil Narine got 2 wickets for 28 runs.
In response, the West Indian innings never gathered momentum and it looked at one point that they would not have made 100 runs, but with some late big hitting, the boys in maroon, limped to 161 all out.
Andre Russell stroked 42 not out, from 24 balls and was the only West Indian batsman to make 20.
For New Zealand, Trent Boult, Jacob Oram and Nathan McCullum got two wickets each.
Speaking after the match Captain Darren Sammy said his team came up short with the bat, but promised a better show on Saturday as they look to clinch the five-match rubber.
“We came here today looking for our third win, which would have secured the series, but that was not to be. They played really well today … their fielding was brilliant,” Sammy said of the New Zealanders. “We felt that 250 (to win) was a par score and we backed ourselves to get that target, considering the way we batted in the T20s in Florida and the first two matches in Jamaica. Today we just kept losing wickets at crucial stages and that’s where we lost it.”
Sammy added: “There is no panic in the camp; this is not a panic situation. We have been playing well since the start of this series, but we didn’t get it right today. We won’t let this defeat dampen our spirits. We wanted to win for Runako and the people today … so we will come back on Saturday and look to get it right and do it for them.”
Many fans left the Park disappointed but stated the result today will only make Saturday’s game very competitive and exciting.
The game was attended by approximately 8,000 spectators who were very responsive and lively and cheered the team even though they never looked like winning the game.