Kingston (Jamaica), July 6: West Indies defied rain to make a winning start to their One-Day International series against New Zealand, cruising to an easy nine-wicket win thanks to explosive unbeaten half-centuries by Dwayne Smith and Chris Gayle.
Set a revised target of 136 off 33 overs following a two-hour rain break during their innings at Sabina Park here Thursday, West Indies posted victory off 24.2 overs.
Smith smashed 65 from 77 balls while Gayle carved out 63 from 57 balls in an unbroken 130-run second wicket stand that crushed New Zealand’s attack which had struck early by removing opener Lendl Simmons without scoring.
For Gayle, the half-century was his third consecutive following on from last weekend’s Twenty20 doubleheader in Florida, and his fourth in five innings since his return to the West Indies team.
All-rounder Andre Russell had earlier made a successful return to the side with a four-wicket haul to help limit the Black Caps to 190 for nine, after they were sent in.
The right-arm seamer, who missed the two Twenty20 Internationals in Florida last weekend, finished with four for 45 to underline his team’s clinical bowling effort that has left their batsmen chasing a paltry total.
Bradley-John Watling top-scored with 60 off 98 balls while Jacob Oram got a breezy 32 off 39, but New Zealand’s batting failed to come to terms with the West Indies attack.
New Zealand were in with a shout when Simmons tickled a leg-side catch through to wicketkeeper Watling in the third over with the score on six.
Thereafter Gayle and Smith combined to snatch the advantage back for West Indies in a highly entertaining century stand that was marred only thunderstorms which roared across the ground with West Indies on 93 for one off 18 overs.
New Zealand 190 for nine off 50 overs (B.J. Watling 69, Jacob Oram 32, Andre Russell 4-45, Sunil Narine 2-26, Ravi Rampaul 2-42)
West Indies 136 for one off 24.2 overs (Dwayne Smith 65 not out, Chris Gayle 63 not out).