Fletcher, Cottrell give Windies share of series
ROSEAU, Dominica (CMC) -— Andre Fletcher's second half-century in as many days paired with Sheldon Cottrell's incisive three-wicket burst, propelled West Indies to a 39-run victory over New Zealand and a share of the two-match Twenty20 series here yesterday.
Sent in at Windsor Park, West Indies rallied to 165 for six off 20 overs, thanks mainly to Fletcher's top score of 62 off 49 deliveries, and Lendl Simmons's 36.
In reply, New Zealand crashed from a healthy position of 82 for two in the 12th over to a disappointing 126 all out with five balls left, as Cottrell snatched three for 28 from 3.1 overs.
Kane Williamson top scored with 37 from 28 balls, while captain Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor both hit 21.
The victory by the Darren Sammy-led side left Windies fans with something to celebrate following the frustration of the Test series loss last week and the defeat in the first T20 International on Saturday here.
Dwayne Smith crunched two fours off the first over from seamer Tim Southee, but had his stumps rattled in the bowler's third over for nine, with the score on 10.
It paved the way for an enterprising second wicket stand between Fletcher and Simmoms, which proved the bedrock of the innings.
Fletcher, looking in great touch, counted three fours and three sixes, while Simmons was fluent, striking the ball cleanly in gathering three fours and two sixes.
Following a quiet start, Fletcher exploded with a flicked boundary off seamer Jimmy Neesham and then a six over mid-wicket in the bowler's first over that cost 11 runs.
Simmons followed suit in the next over from left-arm pacer Trent Boult, slicing a six over backward point before depositing medium pacer Corey Anderson over the ropes at backward square and then driving him sweetly for another four in the bowler's second over which went for 11 runs.
The introduction of leg-spinner Ish Sodhi in the next over led to Simmons's downfall, as he holed out to long-on where Anderson pulled off a brilliant catch on the ropes.
Darren Bravo, surviving a skied chance to Neesham at mid-off off Sodhi on three, capitalised to smash a straight four and a six over mid-wicket in the same over, the 13th of the innings, that leaked 13 runs.
He was bowled by Williamson for 10, however, at 98 for three in the 14th over, but Fletcher kept the innings going, clearing the ropes at long-off with Southee to move into the 40s before going over long-on with Anderson for his third six a few overs later.
With help from a few lusty blows from Kieron Pollard (13) and Sammy (10), Fletcher helped West Indies gather 56 runs off the last five overs. He perished in the penultimate over, bowled by a full-length delivery from Boult (2-22).
Cottrell then struck in the second over of the Black Caps' innings, getting Neesham caught at point by Bravo off a full toss for seven with the score on eight.
Williamson then anchored two stands to lift the Black Caps, adding 32 for the second wicket with McCullum and another 42 with Taylor for the third wicket.
He struck five fours but his demise, bowled off his thigh by Pollard in the 12th over, triggered a slide which saw the last eight New Zealand wickets tumble for just 44 runs.
Narine took care of the threatening Taylor, bowled in the 13th over at 88 for four and when Luke Ronchi holed out in the deep off Narine and BJ Watling was run out for one in the same over, the 17th of the innings, the Windies were on top.
Fletcher was voted Man-of-the-Match and Man-of-the-Series.