Daniel Richardson is a Wellington-based sports journalist for NZME. News Service.

Cricket: Ronchi proves he's a keeper

Luke Ronchi scored 51 not out off 28 balls to seal New Zealand's win last night. Photo / Getty
Luke Ronchi scored 51 not out off 28 balls to seal New Zealand's win last night. Photo / Getty

Feeling relaxed in the New Zealand environment is starting to reap rewards for wicketkeeper-batsman Luke Ronchi.

The adopted Wellingtonian has smashed two match-winning knocks in as many games as New Zealand beat the West Indies 2-0 in their Twenty20 series.

Playing at the Cake Tin last night, Ronchi's unbeaten 51 from only 28 balls proved the difference in game two as New Zealand claimed a four-wicket win as they chased down the West Indies' total of 159-5 with an over to spare.

Ronchi wasn't a one man band though as Ross Taylor's patient 39 was important, while a rapid 23 from Jesse Ryder set the tone at the top before a couple of lusty blows at the end from Jimmy Neesham helped the home side along the way.

After a convincing 81-run win in the first 20-over encounter in Auckland on Saturday _ where Ronchi made 48 not out - New Zealand were desperate to close out the series and the result will have given them huge confidence with India on the horizon.

One man who is full of confidence is the 32-year-old Ronchi, who has started to deliver on the hype that surrounded his well-documented move to Wellington from Perth in 2012.

Having previously represented Australia in a handful of one-dayers and Twenty20s, he qualified to play for New Zealand given he was born in Dannevirke and after serving a four-year stand-down he made his debut for the Black Caps last year.

The early results were mixed but given Brendon McCullum no longer keeps wicket at international level, the chance for Ronchi to be New Zealand's first-choice gloveman in the coloured clothing is there for the taking.

He said he felt pressure when he first made the national side, given the nature of his arrival to New Zealand.

"It was just me thinking too much about stuff and that's where I always get myself in trouble, pretty much,'' he said after tonight's game.

But his past two innings have been exceptional as he transferred his dynamic domestic form to the top level.

"I'm thinking less about stuff I don't need to worry about and just being nice and relaxed. For me, being relaxed is a massive key.''

As New Zealand eye a five-match one-day series against the incoming Indians, Black Caps skipper Brendon McCullum will be hoping Ronchi can continue not to be overwhelmed when he plays for his country of birth.

Earlier tonight, New Zealand looked like they may roll over the West Indies in quick fashion when they had the tourists on the ropes at 67-4 in the 11th over after they had won the toss and chose to bat first.

But Denesh Ramdin made a vital 55 not out as the West Indies pushed towards a respectable total.

Nathan McCullum was the best of the New Zealand bowlers as he took 1-17 from four overs with his off-spin, while tearaway fast bowler Adam Milne notched career-best numbers of 2-22 as he got through his work at a rapid clip.

Despite setting New Zealand a target requiring them to score at eight runs an over, the home side always looked in control, despite a few bumps in the middle of their chase.

Then when Ronchi combined with Taylor the runs began to flow and eventually it was the relaxed Ronchi who was at the crease when Neesham struck the winning runs as the Kiwis claimed victory.



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