THE Black Caps sense a possible swing in momentum with their comprehensive victory in the third one-day international over a previously dominant West Indies side.
After heavy defeats in two Twenty20 fixtures in Florida and the first two one-dayers in Jamaica, the under-strength New Zealanders turned the tables with an 88-run win in Basseterre on the island of St Kitts.
The result keeps the ODI series alive, the home side leading 2-1 ahead of the last two matches at the same venue on Sunday and Tuesday (NZT).
“It’s a great shift in momentum, hopefully,” stand-in skipper Kane Williamson said.
“We put a few things into practice in terms of lessons from the other games so it’s nice to get a win in such a crucial game.”
Sent in to bat at Warner Park and restricted to 9-249 on a flat track and at a ground with short boundaries, the Black Caps struck back in the field to bowl the West Indies out for 161 in the 35th over.
For the first time on tour, they knocked over the opposition top order cheaply and Williamson, captain in place of the injured Ross Taylor, said danger man Chris Gayle’s dismissal was a big moment.
“He’s put us away in every game this series, so for us to get him out early boosted the lads in the field and that’s probably where things started,” he said.
Gayle, who had smacked a century and three half-centuries in the four previous matches, was on 11 when he edged a Tim Southee delivery to first slip.
In New Zealand’s innings, opener Rob Nicol top-scored with 59, but it took a 66-run sixth-wicket partnership by Nathan McCullum (50) and keeper BJ Watling (40) to steady the ship during the middle stages.
Watling’s knock came at a price, a strained thigh muscle preventing him from fielding and leaving Tom Latham to take over the gloves.
Watling will be assessed over the next 24 hours to determine his availability for the rest of the series.