Cricket: McClenaghan ODI marvel

By David Leggat

Five-wicket haul by fast bowler not enough to get New Zealand over the line as Sammy has final say

Mitchell McClenaghan captured five wickets at Eden Park yesterday. Photo / Greg Bowker
Mitchell McClenaghan captured five wickets at Eden Park yesterday. Photo / Greg Bowker

The West Indies spent Christmas morning watching Invictus, the celebrated film of the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

Suitably inspired, they bowled and fielded with spirit and skill and took the initiative with a two-wicket win in the opening ODI at Eden Park last night.

It was a bowlers' benefit, with a mix of top-class seam bowling and some ropey batting combining to make a game of 313 runs and 18 wickets with the West Indies getting over the line with just two wickets to spare.

But at halftime, the question being asked, slightly tongue in cheek, was whether New Zealand's test success was messing up their ODI game.

At that point it seemed a sensible batting effort from the West Indies would have the smiles back after the disappointment of their 2-0 test beating.

Instead, the tourists needed a breezy unbeaten 43 off 27 balls from allrounder Darren Sammy to make sure they got the win, as they, too, struggled with the bat.

New Zealand had reached 156, a distinctly ordinary effort, but which was actually pretty good considering they were listing hard at 112 for nine.

However, New Zealand's (one-day) left-arm hero Mitchell McClenaghan shot through the West Indies top order, who looked hopeless against the ball moving sideways and at one point were 96 for six.

McClenaghan got four wickets in 27 deliveries with classy, sharp swing bowling. What Trent Boult produced at the Basin Reserve in the second test, McClenaghan mirrored last night.

Kyle Mills played his part and it seemed the West Indies would run out of steam well short of the target, before the ebullient Sammy took charge.

McClenaghan is an ODI marvel. His record is outstanding - 40 wickets in 15 matches at just 19 runs apiece.

Only Lendl Simmons of the specialist batsmen, with exotic strokeplay and crisp striking, seemed to have a dose of stickability about him.

Until, that is, he was adjudged caught at slip by Ross Taylor, after an interminable delay for third umpire checking. Taylor indicated he wasn't certain.

One angle showed Simmons slightly more out than the other, but it was hardly conclusive.

However Sammy, who endured considerable angst as test skipper, had the final say.

However, 14 no balls in a tight contest is unacceptable from New Zealand. Earlier New Zealand's batting display was ordinary, and at times careless.

Certainly the ball was nibbling about off the seam. Ravi Rampaul was top class early on, the long-limbed Jason Holder clearly an interesting prospect while captain Dwayne Bravo was energetic, bowled good lines and his players appeared to respond to his call for them to play with a smile on their faces.

The enthusiasm levels were good and with wickets falling regularly they had plenty to grin about.

Jesse Ryder's return lasted five balls, slapping Rampaul hard to cover point; Ross Taylor had a yes, no, oops muddle with Kane Williamson and was run out; while Sunil Narine's deceptive spin meant some batsmen looked as if they were trying to play him with a toothpick.

The batsmen who, by different methods, stood tallest were called McCullum. Captain Brendon strove hard in making his 26th ODI 50, going past 5000 runs in the process.

But he was shot down by a poor umpiring call, given lbw when well down the pitch. A referral could not save him. McCullum was unimpressed.

At 112 for nine New Zealand were in quicksand, but Nathan McCullum orchestrated a 44-run stand for the last wicket with McClenaghan.

The series continues at Napier on Sunday.

- NZ Herald

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