WICKET! Munro b Cottrell 0 (New Zealand 7-2)
That’s both openers out first ball! A perfect yorker from Cottrell bursts through Munro’s defences and dismantles the stumps, and Cottrell’s saluting again!
WICKET! Guptill lbw v Cottrell 0 (New Zealand 0-1)
And they’ve got him! Cottrell’s full delivery swings into Guptill back pad on its way towards leg stump, and what a start that is for West Indies!
REVIEW! Have West Indies got a first-ball wicket?
There’s a loud lbw shout, but the umpire shakes his head. They go upstairs!
Anthems sung, preamble complete, the batsmen head to the middle. Lovely little fluffy clouds decorate a blue sky. It’s on.
New Zealand have played the same team in every game; West Indies haven’t played the same team in any two games. That just about sums the two teams’ competitions so far. Anyway, they’re out and ready for some anthems!
The teams in full, then:
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (wk), James Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Matt Henry, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult.
West Indies: Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope (wk), Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder (c), Carlos Brathwaite, Ashley Nurse, Kemar Roach, Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas.
Andre Russell is out, one of three changes for West Indies. Darren Bravo and Shannon Gabriel are also out, Kemar Roach, Ashley Nurse and Carlos Brathwaite are in.
“It’s important with the bat in hand we do the job first up,” says Kane Williamson. “We know the threat the West Indies pose. They can beat anyone and they’ve got world-class players.” His team is unchanged.
West Indies win the toss and will bowl first
“It looks a pretty good wicket,” says Jason Holder. “Everybody’s up for the game and we’ve just got to bring our best game. We just haven’t been consistent. We’ve got to tighten up our game, and I’m sure we can come up with the goods today.”
Having won only the first of their five matches so far, West Indies find themselves probably having to win every remaining game if they are to make the semi-finals. Given that India are next up for them, at Old Trafford on Thursday, it seems a tough ask. But where there’s life there’s hope, and all that. We certainly haven’t seen the best of this team yet, and they were pretty close to beating Australia despite several misfiring batsmen. If Chris Gayle (who is averaging 26.75 at this tournament), Evin Lewis (24.33) and Andre Russell (just 12) can turn up this time, there is no reason why they can’t win this, and any, one. The Gayle/Lewis opening partnership is averaging a miserable 5.66 across three innings, by a very considerable margin the worst of any pair to have played more than one game together. By contrast New Zealand’s Guptill/Munro are contributing 61.33 to the average innings, and scored the 137 runs needed to beat Sri Lanka on their own. West Indies scored 421 when they played New Zealand in a warm-up last month, and need to return to that kind of form, sharpish.
If they do, or even close, this could be a belter.