WHANGAREI, New Zealand – Head coach Stuart Law believes conditions on Wednesday had played a key role in his side’s five-wicket loss to New Zealand in the opening One-Day International of the three-match series.
Sent in, the Caribbean side mustered just 248 for nine off their 50 overs at Cobham Oval, which the hosts easily chased down with 24 balls remaining.
Law said the pitch had not been as easy for the Windies to navigate batting first, following early morning rain in the area.
“We would have liked to have bowled first as well,” the Australian told reporters.
“Whether or not the wicket got damp through the covers … it was certainly a tackiness to the surface when the game started. I looked at half-time and it was bone dry.”
He continued: “You would have liked an even contest, not taking anything away from New Zealand at all.
“We saw our opening batters – they’re pretty good strikers of a cricket ball – they were having trouble locating it, which means the wicket was doing something. We didn’t see that this afternoon [when New Zealand batted].”
Sent in, the Windies had an unusually slow start with top-scorer Evin Lewis and veteran left-hander Chris Gayle adding 40 from 61 balls for the first wicket.
The left-handed Lewis stroked an attractive 76 with seven fours and a six but was not at his fluent best, requiring 100 balls for his knock.
His dismissal in the 36th over saw the Windies slump to 201 for eight before Rovman Powell, who struck the ball cleanly for 59 off 50 balls, rallied the innings late on.
Law said while the left-hander had not been able to explode, the innings had been a crucial one for the side.
“He was circumspect with the deliveries he attacked,” Law pointed out.
“He’s a wonderful striker of a cricket ball. Today he wasn’t able to be as free as he would’ve liked but he showed some class. He showed the ability to get through some really tough times, to build an innings, and then unfortunately given out lbw when he was set, ready to continue that partnership with Rovman Powell.
“Those two can score very quickly once they get going and 15-20 an over is not out of the question with those two.”
After watching West Indies muff difficult chances to break the rollicking 108-run opening stand between top-scorer George Worker (57) and Colin Munro (49), Law said it was imperative his side begun to capitalise on these opportunities.
“We do tend to miss out on the half chances and look, a half-chance is a difficult one, but we’ve got to start taking those if we’ve got to compete and beat teams like New Zealand – teams that are above us.”
West Indies take on the Black Caps in the second ODI in Christchurch on Saturday.