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Another exciting contest between the West Indies and New Zealand in the fifth and final ODI of the series went the way of the hosts as mystery spinner Sunil Narine continued to be the difference between the two sides with the youngster taking a career best 5-27 to give the Windies a 20 run win. Batting first on winning the toss, the West Indies struggled to 241-9 in their 50 overs on the back of two contrasting half-centuries from Dwayne Bravo (53 from 93 balls) and Andre Russell (59* from 40 balls). The Kiwis looked dead and buried at 109-5 at the half-way stage of their chase, but a battling 69 from Kane Williamson kept them in the game before Sunil Narine came into his own in the death overs to bowl his side to yet another victory.
Another dreadful start from the West Indies openers, their third in successive games saw the hosts slide to 37-3 inside the 9th over. Johnson Charles once again made his way into his teens before falling to Tim Southee, after the Windies had already lost charismatic opener Chris Gayle to the returning Kyle Mills for 5. Dwayne Smith continued his poor run in his unaccustomed no.3 position and became Southee's second victim.
A 60-run partnership featuring Marlon Samuels and Dwayne Bravo rescued the innings with the former the unlikely aggressor. Samuels made 43 before Southee nabbed him in his second spell, brilliantly caught by Martin Guptill in the covers. Kieron Pollard (7) had yet another failure, giving Devon Thomas a chance to impress once again. The new keeper made 20 before he and skipper Darren Sammy (2) fell in quick succession to leave the hosts in trouble at 160-7 in the 39th over.
Five overs later, Bravo too was back in the hutch, shortly after completing his half century, taking a massive 89 balls to get there, but crucially holding the innings together. Fortunately for the Windies, Andre Russell came to their rescue once again, smashing 3 sixes and twice as many fours to pummel his way to an ubeaten 59 from just 40 balls to take his side to a respectable 241-9 in their 50 overs. The West Indies had made a run more than the Kiwis had managed in the last ODI, and thus had the slight psychological edge going into the second half of the contest.
That advantage grew significantly when Tino Best removed the in-form Rob Nicol second ball. New Zealand found a pair of saviours of their own as Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum each made 33 before falling in succession to the exceptional talents of Sunil Narine. McCullum smashed 7 boundaries in his 34-ball effort, while Guptill hit 2 fours and an equal number of sixes, but taking 56 balls to make his way to 33. With the West Indies having bowled Narine for 7 overs inside the first 20, it was a very even contest with the visitors 80-3 in their chase.
Ross Taylor took on the bowling as soon as Narine was withdrawn from the attack, and made a brisk 28 before he was stumped off Marlon Samuels. In the very next over Tino Best removed Taylor's replacement Daniel Flynn for naught to reduce their visitors to 109-5. At the 30 over mark, New Zealand continued to maintain their 4 runs an over scoring rate to be 120-5, needing to do marginally better than doubling their output in the last 20 overs to win the game.
Kane Williamson, relieved from the duty of captaining the side by Taylor's return, showed the kind of cricket he was capable of producing, forming the backbone of the New Zealand chase. Williamson (69) shared useful partnerships worth 31 with Tod Latham (11) and 68 with Andrew Ellis (28) to keep the Kiwis in the hunt. However, his dismissal at the hands of the returning Sunil Narine with the score at 208 spelt doom for New Zealand.
Narine went on a rampage, picking up an 3 wickets in 8 balls to sound the death knell for the Kiwi chase. Ellis was bowled for 28, and that marked the end of the New Zealand resistance as they visitors fell 20 runs shy of the West Indies score once again in another entertaining contest.
The hosts have followed up their 2-0 win in the T20s with a 4-1 triumph in the ODI series, and one would expect the Test series, which gets underway in a little over a week's time to go the same way. However, New Zealand are arguably a better test side and if they can figure out a way to combat Sunil Narine, who is sure to get a call-up now for the series, they should be able to compete with the hosts in the longest format of the game.
West Indies: C Gayle, J Charles, D Smith, M Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, K Pollard, A Russell, D Thomas (wk), D Sammy (c), T Best, S Narine
New Zealand: R Nicol, M Guptill, K Williamson, R Taylor (c), T Latham (wk), B McCullum, D Flynn, A Ellis, K Mills, T Boult, T Southee
West Indies 241-9 (50 overs, 4.82 rpo)
D Bravo 53 (93) T Southee 3-37
A Russell 59* (40) K Mills 3-40
New Zealand 221 all out (50 overs, 4.42 rpo)
K Williamson 69 (84) T Best 2-58
M Guptill 33 (56) S Narine 5-27
West Indies win by 20 runs
Photograph Courtesy DigicelCricket.com/Brooks LaTouche
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