NZ vs WI, 2nd ODI, Preview: Windies eye comeback against the depleted hosts

Tom Latham will lead the side for the first time in absence of Kane Williamson.

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Doug Bracewell
New Zealand team (Photo by Dave Rowland/Getty Images)

New Zealand just brushed aside the visitors with ease in the first of the three-match ODI series in Whangarei courtesy a strong bowling performance to go with steady batting line-up. Windies, on the other hand, looked a bit undercooked in the limited overs format and would shrug off the rustiness in the must-win encounter. The home side will play under a new captain Tom Latham in the remainder of the series as Kane Williamson has been rested by the selectors. However, this is the best chance for Windies to make a strong comeback in the series and gain some much needed confidence.

After being inserted to bat first, the top order of the team from Caribbean nation wasted the starts apart from Evin Lewis who looked set for a big score. Chris Gayle is due for a big score in Christchurch now after setting the stage on fire in the recently concluded Bangladesh Premier League (BPL). Shimron Hetmyer too has been guilty of throwing his wicket away after getting his eye in as the batters have to deliver for Windies to pose any challenge in front of the hosts. The bowling attack though is a little bit settled which picked five wickets and also arrested the run-scoring in the middle overs.

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Jason Holder, the skipper of the side, is expected to lead from the front along with Shannon Gabriel and scalp a few quick wickets at the top. Also, the off-spinner Ashley Nurse bowled well in the non-powerplay overs in the first game and also picked a couple of wickets. The team management would want him to continue doing the similar job in Christchurch as well. In other words, Windies have to click as a unit to stand any chance of defeating the Balck Caps in their own conditions.

New Zealand looks a settled unit despite the absence of their regular skipper Williamson and their lead bowler Tim Southee. Both have been rested ahead of the long summer by the selectors. The onus will be on the experienced shoulders of Ross Taylor to carry the batting line up in case of a stutter. The opening duo of Colin Munro and George Worker complimented each other well in a tricky chase in the opening game of the series.

Todd Astle and Doug Bracewell were the shining lights for them in the first match and both would look to seal their place in the side with another strong performance. Trent Boult though will continue to lead on the bowling front which gives the hosts an edge on the visitors. Though they look strong, Latham, the new skipper, would want to guard them against the complacency as Windies is a dangerous side in the limited overs format.

Playing Combinations

New Zealand

Mostly teams don’t like to change their winning combination but given that Williamson and Southee have been rested, they have to make a couple of changes to their side. Matt Henry is the likeliest candidate to replace the latter as Adam Milne has also been out injured. His replacement Seth Rance has to wait for his chance to play in the XI. Neil Broom will take place of the regular captain. Though New Zealand might tinker with the batting order and play Latham in the top three.

Probable XI: George Worker, Colin Munro, Neil Broom, Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (capt & wk), Henry Nicholls, Todd Astle, Doug Bracewell, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Trent Boult

Windies

Chris Gayle didn’t take the field after the first innings in the first ODI and was also out of the action during the net session ahead of the game. The call on his availability will be taken on the morning ahead of the game. Kyle Hope is expected to replace him if he remains unfit. Kesrick Williams left the field after bowling only 5 overs in the opening game sustaining a hamstring injury and he will also be assessed before the match. Sheldon Cottrell will come into the side if he does not make as well

Probable XI: Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope (wk), Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Mohammed, Jason Holder (capt.), Rovman Powell, Ashley Nurse, Ronsford Beaton, Sheldon Cottrell, Shannon Gabriel.

Focus will be on

Tom Latham (NZ)

Tom Latham has taken giant strides in international cricket this year and will have to step in as the leader now to fill in the shoes of Kane Williamson who will not feature in the remainder of the series. He was exceptional during their tour to India where they almost won the ODI series. His technique against spin is brilliant and will now have an added responsibility of leading the side to go with wicketkeeping. He embraced the role behind the stumps after Luke Ronchi announced his retirement earlier this year. Latham would love to start his captaincy career with a victory on Saturday.

Shimron Hetmyer (WI)

Shimron Hetmyer has been guilty of wasting bright starts throughout the tour. He looked good in his brief stint on 22 yards during the Test series. The youngster again stitched a crucial stand with Evin Lewis in the first game and gave away his wicket after which the pressure was built on their batsmen. He would love to guard against the complacency and make it big in the must-win game to keep the series alive for his team.

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