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NZ vs WI 2020: The host’s defeat Windies in a high scoring nail-biting thriller to go 1-0

After the COVID-19 pandemic brought the entire world to its knees and an eventual standstill, many wouldn’t have envisioned that a day will come when there will be multiple International matches being played one after another on the bounce. New Zealand’s immediate neighbour Australia are hosting India in a limited-overs and a Test match series whereas all the way across the globe, South Africa are hosting England at home.

In the first T20 International which was played between New Zealand and West Indies. The host’s after winning the toss elected to field first. The match was entertaining as well as one of the nail-biting thriller contest between both the two. Both the teams were up for the task but Blackcaps came out to be the winners in the end.

New Zealand batsman
(Images Source: Blackcaps Twitter)

A Dramatic first half for West Indies with the bat:

Andre Fletcher (34 off 14) and his partner Brandon King (13 off 10) the West Indies openers provided a flying start to their side. They belted Kyle Jamieson and Hamish Bennett for 18 and 24 runs respectively and were 50/0 at the end of the 3rd over. Later on for the Kiwi’s Lockie Ferguson who had been magnificent in the recently concluded Indian Premier League provided the much-needed breakthrough for his side as he sent both these Windies openers back into the hut.

The West Indies face a sort of a collapse as they lost Shimron Hetmyer, Rovman Powell, and Nicholas Pooran at the fifth over mark. All of a sudden the scoreline read 59/5 and the West Indies looked in big big trouble.

Kieron Pollard leads the way as he plays a Captains knock at Auckland:

Kieron Pollard and Fabian Allen came to the rescue as they started to stitch the innings back together. At the halfway mark WI were 96/5 and the match was interrupted by rain.

Kieron Pollard 1st T20.jpg
(Images Source: windiescricket.com) West Indies skipper Kieron Pollard in action (75* off 37)

The match was reduced to a 16 over per side game and it meant that WI had just 6 overs left in their innings. Kieron Pollard post the break really went all guns blazing and scored a magnificent unbeaten 75 runs in just 37 balls. Fabian anchored the innings quite wonderfully alongside Pollard and this helped them to post 180/7 in 16 overs.

New Zealand with an emphatic reply and a nail-biting finish:

Coming in to chase 181 runs in 16 overs, the hosts had quite an uphill task as they needed almost 11 runs per over to win this match. Martin Guptill failed to provide the start as he departed after scoring a boundary. The intent from New Zealand batsmen was clear that they going for it. Tim Seifert (17 off 13) tried to keep up with the creeping run rate but perished soon.

Later on, Glenn Phillips and Devon Conway kept the run rate in check as they kept hammering the Windies bowlers all around. Phillips cameo came to end as he was cleaned up by Oshane Thomas. NZ were 63/4 in the sixth over and needed huge contributions. Jimmy Neesham took up the onus alongside Devon.

Jimmy Neesham
(Images source: Twitter) Jimmy Neesham playing a match-winning knock for New Zealand

Devon departed after scoring 41 runs in 29 balls and in came Mitchell Santner who complemented Neesham quite well and batted till the end as he scored an unbeaten 31 runs off 18 balls. His partner Jimmy Neesham on the other hand also remained unbeaten and ensured that his side crosses the finish line. He scored 48 runs off 24 balls at the Strike Rate of 200.

The hosts went 1-0 in the 3 match T20 series against Windies as they won this one by 5 wickets and 4 balls to spare!

The following is how people reacted to the match as they celebrated the return of International Cricket:

The following is both the Captians had to say in the post-match presentation:

Southee, the winning captain says, it was a strange game, but it’s good to come on the winning side. They knew after that first wicket, if they can get another one or two, they can definitely get into their middle order and the fight that Lockie showed was great. Devon did well, then Neesham and then Santner at the end. Lots of fall off from that position but this side didn’t. It’s been a long time coming and we hope the fans have enjoyed it.

Pollard at the presentation says, he hopes the crowd enjoyed it. It was fantastic cricket, It was a topsy turvy game. A bit of indiscipline from us from the bowling a losing 5 wickets in that space of the game. Having said that, we thought we put up a challenging total, but no-balls, full tosses, in international cricket, that’s definitely not good. Also says, they have to come back stronger, come back mentally stronger as well, and says hope the crowd enjoyed it and their come back after a long gap, it’s great.

Lockie Ferguson has been adjudged the Man of the Match for his Five-for tonight!

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