14th over: New Zealand 48-2 (Williamson 23, Taylor 22) Oshane Thomas has a bowl, and Williamson, given a bit of width, cuts nicely for four. Then, off the last, a leading edge that floats to mid-off, where there’s nobody around the take the catch.
13th over: New Zealand 43-2 (Williamson 19, Taylor 21) There’s a lovely clip which is replayed before the over starts of Williamson working the ball to a fielder and calling “no!”, before dropping his head in frustration and exasperation. Taylor works out a bit of his with a lofted bosh over midwicket for four, the first boundary for nine overs.
12th over: New Zealand 36-2 (Williamson 18, Taylor 15) That’s Roach’s sixth over, which have cost a combined 15 runs. There are absolutely no freebies being handed out here. Williamson works one to fine leg, where a fielder reaches it just before the rope and nicely sidefoots it to a team-mate.
11th over: New Zealand 32-2 (Williamson 16, Taylor 15) After two dots Holder bowls a no-ball (just), but makes amends with a wide bouncer, which Taylor swings at and misses. Three more dots follow, as does this announcement from the West Indies: “West Indies opener Evin Lewis is being assessed by physio due to a pain in his right hamstring received while fielding,” they say. “Fabian Allen is on as substitute. Stay tuned for for further updates.”
10th over: New Zealand 30-2 (Williamson 15, Taylor 15) Roach however continues, and it’s another fine over. I can only recall one genuinely sub-par delivery from him, which Taylor smashed away for four. Two off this over, which makes this the lowest post-PP1 score of the competition so far.
9th over: New Zealand 28-2 (Williamson 15, Taylor 13) A first bowling change sees Holder replace Cottrell. After three runs from three overs and with both openers already out, West Indies could perhaps have gone for the jugular, rather than for run-restriction. Three off the over.
8th over: New Zealand 25-2 (Williamson 14, Taylor 11) Roach bowls shortish and slowish to Williamson, who has absolutely no idea where the ball’s going and just freezes. It hits his glove and drops safely. It’s the day’s third maiden. “Great atmosphere here at Old Trafford, which is just as well after the funereal mood I was in last night,” writes Guy Hornsby. “The Windies look absolutely up for this, particularly Cotterell, and there’s few things in sport that are more essential than that. We’ve got a game on here.”
7th over: New Zealand 25-2 (Williamson 14, Taylor 11) Williamson hits the last to Brathwaite at mid-off, who dives to get a hand on the ball. Williamson’s feet then slide out from under him as he turns for a second, forcing hi to settle for the one.
6th over: New Zealand 22-2 (Williamson 12, Taylor 10) Roach gets his line to Taylor absolutely perfect, the ball just nipping past the edge. Then he does edge one, but it doesn’t quite carry to Gayle! Another maiden, and West Indies are bowling excellently from both ends right now. India, meanwhile, have finished their innings on 224-8.
5th over: New Zealand 22-2 (Williamson 12, Taylor 10) Taylor takes a risky single to midwicket, and just about makes his ground before the fielder scores a direct hit, and that’s the only scoring this over. Meanwhile in today’s other game, India are on 222 with three balls to go, against Afghanistan. Now that would be an upset.
4th over: New Zealand 21-2 (Williamson 12, Taylor 9) With the openers gone, this pair are the only Kiwi batsmen to have scored more than 75 runs in this World Cup so far. If West Indies can break this partnership fairly quickly, a whole world of opportunity opens up. Williamson edges just wide of Gayle at slip, whose lusty rightward flop is to no avail, and gets four for it.
3rd over: New Zealand 14-2 (Williamson 7, Taylor 7) Oooh! A couple of snorters here from Cottrell whistle across Williamson and just past the edge. Lovely, lively stuff, and a maiden over.
2nd over: New Zealand 14-2 (Williamson 7, Taylor 7) Kemar Roach bowls too wide to Taylor, who flays it away for four. There’s movement here for both bowlers, who have bowled much fuller than in previous World Cup matches and exploited it excellently. Taylor chips the last in the air towards cover, but it doesn’t quite make it.
1st over: New Zealand 10-2 (Williamson 7, Taylor 3) Well, well. As well as two wickets, the first over features a classic bit of fielding from Carlos Brathwaite, chasing down a clip through the covers, who dives a little too early and, at full stretch, completely misses the ball, which continues unmolested towards the rope. It’s stopped by Shai Hope just before it gets there, but the batsmen run four anyway. That was pure slapstick. Also, Evin Lewis has limped off, back towards the dressing room.
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.