Cricket: Forecast for rain over reign of sixes

By Daniel Richardson

Big-hitting batsman hoping sun will come out as they attempt to grab a series lead

Master blaster batsman Jesse Ryder hopes the weather stays fine so he can hit out again today in Nelson. Photo / Getty Images
Master blaster batsman Jesse Ryder hopes the weather stays fine so he can hit out again today in Nelson. Photo / Getty Images

Producing an encore effort to rival Wednesday's ferocious hitting display is probably out of the question so New Zealand will be hoping they can take a crucial 2-1 series lead against the West Indies in Nelson today.

Wednesday's rain-affected one-day international in Queenstown saw Corey Anderson and Jesse Ryder bludgeon centuries at a blistering pace as Anderson made the fastest century on record in 36 balls, while Ryder's seemed nearly pedestrian as he needed 46 deliveries.

Their rapid 191-run partnership meant New Zealand were never in doubt of winning the 21-over affair, which they eventually did by 159 runs, levelling the five-match series 1-1.

After a washout in Napier last Sunday, New Zealand could ensure they can't lose the series with victory today as Nelson's Saxton Oval hosts its first men's one-day international.

Anderson has gone from promising youngster to an overnight celebrity in the cricketing world following his unbeaten knock, which included 14 sixes, but he didn't forecast a repeat today.

"It was one innings and one innings doesn't make a summer," Anderson said. "I've still got to come out and do what I can to stay in the side and try and contribute to victories."

After his efforts on Wednesday it's fair to say his spot in the side is secure for the foreseeable future - a good feeling for a player who has endured his fair share of injuries in his career despite being only 23.

"I feel pretty good," Anderson said. "I've had a run where I've stayed away from niggles and that. It's a sport and you're always going to get injured at some stage but the longer I can stay on the park, I guess the better performances I can put in."

While Anderson may not be fore-casting another booming century, rain is predicted to greet the teams.

Ryder, who finished with 104 from 51 balls on Wednesday and even wheeled down four economical overs of off-spin as opposed to his usual medium-pacers, was keen to see some sun.

"Hopefully the weather stays away so we can get a proper game in but if the weather plays its part, it plays its part," he said.

As for his off-spinners, which he bowled because New Zealand needed to power through their overs to beat the rain in Queenstown, the 29-year-old said the call to do it took him by surprise. "I wasn't expecting to have to bowl spin."

After losing the opening game of the series in Auckland on Boxing Day, New Zealand now have momentum.

Their batting line-up is looking balanced and with seamer Mitchell McClenaghan in search of another eight wickets in the next two games to become the fastest man to 50 in one-day internationals, New Zealand will open as firm favourites today.

They will just be hoping the summer weather finally joins them.

Following today's game the series moves to Hamilton for the fifth and final encounter on Wednesday.

- APNZ

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