New Zealand trounce West Indies in opening T20

An unbeaten 85-run stand between Brendon McCullum and Luke Ronchi laid the foundation for New Zealand’s 81-run win over the West Indies in their opening Twenty20 international on Saturday. The New Zealand batting was backed up by tight bowling, led by Nathan McCullum who celebrated his 50th Twenty20 international with figures of four for 24. New Zealand, who elected to bat first, appeared in trouble at 105-3 after 13 overs before McCullum and Ronchi lifted them to 189-5 which proved too big a target for the West Indies. The tourists were five for 64 after 11 overs in their reply before staggering through to be eight for 108 at the finish. Brendon McCullum had gone in to bat in the fourth over when the removal of Martin Guptill started a mini-collapse of the New Zealand top order. Guptill gave New Zealand a flying start with a six and two fours off consecutive balls from Tino Best’s first over, but was gone for 25 when he gave a soft catch to Johnson Charles in Best’s second over. He was the first of three New Zealand batsmen to reach the 20s but failed to carry on before McCullum and Ronchi gave the innings some backbone. McCullum, who faced 45 balls, hit four sixes and two fours while Ronchi hit four sixes and three fours from 25 deliveries. Best recovered from his first over hiding to finish his four overs with figures of three for 40, while Nikita Miller took two for 26. The West Indies reply was quickly in trouble when Adam Milne, a 21-year- old quick who New Zealand are slowly introducing to international cricket, removed Lendl Simmons with his fourth ball, a 150 kmh delivery. Nathan McCullum quickly ripped out Kieran Powell (12) Andre Fletcher (23) and Andre Russell (0) and after 11 overs the West Indies were 64-5 and staring at a run rate of 14. As the wickets continued to fall the target grew and the New Zealand total was never seriously threatened. Fletcher was the only West Indies batsman to get into the 20s, while Jimmy Neesham backed up Nathan McCullum with three for 16. The second Twenty20 will be held in Wellington next Wednesday.

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