Lift needed
Windies seek to salvage pride after series loss to N'Zealand
Jason Holder of West Indies walks off the field after being dismissed by Michael Bracewell of New Zealand during the secondnd T20i match at Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica, on Friday. With New Zealand taking an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series, West Indies will seek to salvage pride with a win in the final match today at the same venue. (Photo: AFP)

With another series defeat already confirmed, West Indies will be hoping to salvage some pride and, by extension, get their act together with victory over New Zealand in the final game of their three-match Twenty20 International series at Sabina Park today.

First ball is 1:30 pm.

After the 1-4 series loss to number one ranked India, West Indies were aiming for a quick turn around in form, but have instead found the going tough against New Zealand, surrendering to 13 and 90 run defeats in the first two contests — the latter being their heaviest against the "Black Caps".

In both games, West Indies struggled with both bat and ball, particularly, in Friday's second encounter where they were completely outclassed.

The 215-5 posted by New Zealand in that contest was the highest total at Sabina Park and the highest total by a visiting team in the Caribbean, while West Indies managed only 125-9 in their run chase which lacked the partnerships that underpinned the mammoth target.

Left-arm seamer Obed McCoy highlighted the West Indies effort with 3-40, followed by an unbeaten 15-ball 23.

While this was unacceptable for West Indies Captain Nicholas Pooran, he continues to back his number-seven ranked team to eventually get things right, stem their current five-match losing skid and find some semblance of form ahead of the ICC T20 World Cup later this year.

"At the moment things are not going our way; it is getting more and more difficult and this is just something we need to accept, stay in it, and fight," Pooran said.

"We are a young group, a new group as well so we are learning as a group and trying to understand how to play the game the right way and trying to get that momentum. As a group, we are happy with the progress we have been making but it is still difficult and frustrating, but we are trusting in our process and being patient," he added.

In fact, only Shamarh Brooks with a 43, Romario Shepherd with an unbeaten 31, Odean Smith with career best figures of 3-32 and an unbeaten 27, and McCoy, have produced any noteworthy performance so far this series — their last at home before travelling to Australia for another series right before the big show.

This Pooran said has not been lost on them, as they try to figure out their batting order, among other things in time to at least prove competitive on both occasions.

"We have had four series this summer and obviously we have an idea of who we want to go into the World Cup as well. We had a pool of 16 guys and everyone got an opportunity to showcase their talent and cement their spot.

"So we are trying to get it right, we don't know our batting line up as yet so we are trying to get guys in positions to play a role," Pooran explained.

"Again, it's a new group so we are trying to get guys to understand their role. So it's just believing in our process and having faith, we believe in all our players and we back them 100 percent to get the job done for us, as we look forward to the next T20 and three ODIs [One-day Internationals] against New Zealand," the skipper said.

New Zealand for their part, enjoyed been in superb form coming into this series and have not missed a beat with two clinical performances so far with both bat and ball.

Though left-arm spinner Micthell Santner has stood out with ball, taking 3-19 and 3-15, a number of players have contributed with bat none more so that wicketkeeper/batsman Devon Conway, who had so far scored 43 and 42.

Glenn Phillips was brutal during his 41-ball 76 in the previous game, alongside Daryl Mitchell, who smashed a 20-ball 48.

Captain Kane Williamson, who also scored 47 in the opening contest, pointed out that there are a number of factors behind the fifth-ranked team's success.

"We know that T20 cricket can be very fickle in its nature. We are just trying to improve and bring guys into the side and give them clear roles. It's not trying too hard just to try and make contributions to your team and the style of cricket that we are trying to play. Just trying to keep things nice and simple," Williamson shared.

"The personnel keeps changing, so for a side like us, we are sort of just working towards it, but it is nice to see a couple of good performances. It is just about taking the small steps forward," he noted.

West Indies players celebrate a New Zealand wicket during their second Twenty20 International at Sabina Park on Friday.
New Zealand's Daryl Mitchell completes a run as West Indies wicketkeeper Devon Thomas (partly hidden) reacts during their second Twenty20 International at Sabina Park on Friday.
New Zealand's James Neesham plays a shot during the second Twenty20 International against West Indies at Sabina Park on Friday.Photos: Joseph Wellington
West Indies lower-order batsman Romario Shepherd plays a shot as New Zealand wicketkeeper Devon Conway looks on during their second Twenty20 International at Sabina Park on Friday.
New Zealand's wicketkeeper Devon Conway makes an unsuccessful leg-before-wicket appeal on West Indies batsman Devon Thomas during their second Twenty20 International at Sabina Park on Friday.
West Indies opening batsman Shamarh Brooks plays a shot as New Zealand's Ish Sodhi looks on during their second Twenty20 International at Sabina Park on Friday.
Sherdon Cowan

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