New Zealand's inability to put together a complete batting performance has continued to haunt them as the West Indies wrapped up the one-day series with a 24-run win over the Kiwis in St Kitts this morning.
The Black Caps were set 265 to win at Warner Park in game four of the 50-over component of their tour to the West Indies and United States and despite a century from returning skipper Ross Taylor, the visitors couldn't support their No 4.
Kane Williamson, who has led the side in Taylor's absence, said after the game three victory on Thursday (NZT) that the team needed to turn their starts into big scores but their failure to do so cost them again.
The result gave the West Indies an unassailable 3-1 lead in the series with the final one-dayer to be played at the same venue on Tuesday (NZT) before a three-day tour match and the test matches get under way in Antigua.
Only Rob Nicol (35) and Tom Latham (32) made more than 11 today, which wasn't enough to support Taylor's brilliant 110 that included six fours and five sixes.
With Taylor at the crease New Zealand always looked a chance for the victory but when he was dismissed in the 48th over the game was as good as over and it limped to a tame end when Tim Southee was run out in the final over.
"We talked about partnerships and we didn't get that today," Taylor said after the game.
"There was a couple of soft dismissals and it's just about dragging it out, I think. The way Tom and I batted we were just blocking it and getting the odd single every now and then and we did come very close, so we just need to give ourselves a bit more time and when we do give ourselves time our players are good enough to catch up later on but we've still got another game to do that and hopefully we can."
Only Taylor and Latham's fifth-wicket stand of 71 was a partnership of substance, but even that was a rebuilding job as the pair came together with the score at 75-4 after 14 overs.
New Zealand's inability to get on top of creative spin bowler Sunil Narine will also be a worry for coach John Wright.
Narine claimed 2-20 from 10 overs and tied the Kiwi batsmen up in knots, but Taylor said it was tough to be aggressive against the right-armer because they had lost so many early wickets.
"He was able to bowl at us and we weren't able to put as much pressure on as we would've liked ... I guess, once again, it's keeping wickets in hand and we'll put pressure on their bowlers."
Taylor, who was playing his first game since suffering a shoulder injury in the first Twenty20 match on June 30, conceded that the series hadn't gone to plan.
"We've been outplayed. I think we've improved in areas as we've gone along but I'm not sure what else to say. We haven't batted as well as we would've liked. We've bowled well in periods and I thought we fielded okay [today], not as well as we did the other day."
The home side's total of 264 was more than reachable after Southee and Jacob Oram each picked up three wickets and only late cameos from Darren Sammy (26 from 22 balls) and Andre Russell (29 from 16 balls) pushed the West Indies past the 250-run mark.
Earlier, Kieron Pollard had top-scored with 56 as he and Marlon Samuels (46) had to rebuild their innings after the West Indies were reeling at 59-4.
Pollard provided the backbone of his side's total as the other players swung around him and it proved to be enough in the end.
New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman BJ Watling, who has a quadriceps strain, won't be considered for the fifth one-dayer or the tour match in Antigua but could be fit for the first test, which is due to start on July 25.