Cricket: Williamson takes reins in T20 defeat

By David Leggat

Sunil Narine took two wickets as the West Indies beat the Black Caps by 39 runs. Photo / Getty
Sunil Narine took two wickets as the West Indies beat the Black Caps by 39 runs. Photo / Getty

New Zealand ticked a World Cup box on the final day of their West Indian tour. Key batsman Kane Williamson captained the New Zealand side in their second and final T20 against the West Indies in Dominica.

The result didn't go his way, the West Indies winning by 39 runs to square the two-game rubber, but the decision to give Williamson the leadership was made at least partly with next February's World Cup in mind. Should regular captain Brendon McCullum be injured, Williamson is the logical person to step in.

"It's something if we get to the World Cup and have an incident we need to make sure Kane is up to speed," coach Mike Hesson said.

"Today was an opportunity in a slightly less pressured situation, although there was a big crowd and atmosphere, to give him that."

McCullum played the game today, indeed New Zealand fielded an unchanged XI from that which won the first T20 by 12 runs under the Duckworth Lewis method 24 hours earlier.

"Kane will learn a lot from it. It's another of those areas we need to make sure we have cover come World Cup time," Hesson said.

Hesson admitted the West Indies were well worth the win today, having made 165 for six, then bowling impressively to restrict New Zealand to 126, the final wicket falling with five balls left.

Andre Fletcher's 62 off 49 balls put down a foundation for the hosts and others chipped in. New Zealand's bowling wasn't good enough through the middle stages, although Trent Boult pulled off another spectacular one-handed catch in the deep to dismiss big-hitting Kieron Pollard.

Apart from Williamson's 37 off 28 balls, none of the other batsmen were around long enough to anchor the chase.

They were reminded of the skills of finger spinner Sunil Narine, who once again flummoxed the batsmen, and might have had them wondering how much he might have affected the test series outcome, had he not been a victim of West Indies cricket politics and left out of the squad.

"We didn't want to finish on a loss but overall it's been a great tour for us. We came over a couple of years ago and got turned over. The fact we won a series away from home is a big achievement for us," Hesson added.

New Zealand have a break from international cricket until South Africa come out for three ODIs in late October, followed by a test and limited-overs series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates in November.


- NZ Herald

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