New Zealand will be seeing a lot of Narine in the Tests, and their repeated struggles to read him will remain a worry. He’s been economical and picked up wickets, and should he play the final ODI, it presents another opportunity for New Zealand’s batsmen to find some form against him. Overall, there has been significant improvement from New Zealand in the last two ODIs; they didn’t look like beating West Indies before then, and a consolation win ahead of the Tests will ensure that improvement continues.
As far as international series are concerned, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe have been a saving grace for West Indies and New Zealand. The only series wins for each in both Tests and ODIs for more than two years, have come against the world’s two bottom-ranked sides. The last time either team won an ODI series against a Test-playing nation other than Bangladesh or Zimbabwe was in 2009; apply the same criteria for Test series, West Indies had their previous success in 2008-09 and New Zealand in 2005-06. So the win in the current ODI series is at least a step in the right direction for the home team.
(completed games, most recent first)
West Indies: WLWWL
New Zealand: LWLLL
Watch out for…
It’s still early days for Johnson Charles but in his brief career so far at the top of the order for West Indies, he’s managed to get starts before losing his wicket. A cursory glance at his figures in international cricket shows 20s and 30s but no half-century. This series has been no different, and a half-century continues to elude him.
For someone who led the national side before the arrival of Ross Taylor on this tour, Kane Williamson has had a below-par series, with just one half-century and a run of poor scores. He will be relied upon heavily in the middle order in Tests and needs to hit form.
Tim Southee lifted his performance in the previous ODI, and being among the quicker of New Zealand’s bowlers with the ability to move the ball around, he’ll be one of their bowling hopes for the Test series.
It remains to be seen if West Indies rest a few of their players, given the ODI is a dead rubber.
West Indies (possible): 1 Johnson Charles, 2 Chris Gayle/Lendl Simmons, 3 Dwayne Smith, 4 Marlon Samuels, 5 Dwayne Bravo, 6 Kieron Pollard, 7 Devon Thomas (wk), 8 Darren Sammy (capt), 9 Andre Russell, 10 Sunil Narine, 11 Tino Best.
BJ Watling was ruled out of the fourth ODI due to a leg injury.
New Zealand (possible): 1 Rob Nicol, 2 Martin Guptill, 3 Brendon McCullum, 4 Ross Taylor (capt), 5 Kane Williamson, 6 Tom Latham, 7 Nathan McCullum, 8 Jacob Oram, 9 Doug Bracewell, 10 Tim Southee, 11 Trent Boult.
Stats and trivia
- Darren Sammy is 24 short of reaching 1000 runs in ODIs; in Tests, he is 16 short. His averages are also similar in both formats – 21.68 in ODIs and 21.39 in Tests.
- Sunil Narine’s figures of 2 for 20 in the previous ODI are the ninth-most economical figures for a West Indies spinner in ODI cricket.
“Wickets at the wrong time hurt us, [so] we have to think of ways [of not losing] those key moments in games.”
“Normally, when I go onto the field I look at the scoreboard and see what is required of me. Sometimes it requires me to be attacking, other times I just have to keep the pressure on.”