Opener Martin Guptill struck early for New Zealand scoring 81 to lead the hosts to victory over the West Indies by 58 runs on the Duckworth/Lewis Method in the fourth one-day cricket international on Saturday.
New Zealand made 285—6 in 50 overs and the West Indies were 134—5 after 33.4 overs when rain prevented further play.
New Zealand now leads the series 2—1. The final match is at Hamilton on Wednesday.
Guptill came into the match out of form, having made only six runs in the two completed matches of the series to date. He took 41 balls to hit his first boundary, but then shared partnerships of 56 with Jesse Ryder (47), 88 with Kane Williamson (47) and 59 with Ross Taylor (49) to give the hosts a hefty lead.
The West Indies’ reply was undone by two early run outs. Chadwick Walton was run out without scoring from only the fourth ball of the innings and his fellow opener, Johnson Charles, fell for a duck in the fourth over.
The run out of Kirk Edwards (24) in the 15th over, which broke a 60-run partnership with Dwayne Bravo, all but ended the West Indies’ chances of challenging New Zealand’s total.
As clouds gathered over the ground, New Zealand quickly worked its way through 18 overs from spinners Nathan McCullum and Kyle Williamson to leave the tourists well behind under the Duckworth-Lewis calculation when the rain started.
Despite its score, New Zealand didn’t have the easiest time earning runs at Saxton Oval, which was hosting a one-day international for the first time and will be the venue for three matches in the 2015 World Cup.
“I think today the wicket was a bit two-paced and it was probably a 250 wicket,” New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum said. “I thought the way we played through Martin’s innings and the way guys batted around him allowed us to get 30 runs over par which we were very confident with.”
The West Indies bowlers performed well early on, particularly the opener Jason Holder, and the New Zealanders who had battered 283 runs from 21 overs in the third match at Queenstown were forced to scratch for runs.
Ryder, who scored a century from 46 balls in the previous match, tried to be aggressive and took his 47 runs from 49 balls with seven sixes. But even he found run scoring to be difficult on a pitch that was slower than the one in Queenstown.
The West Indies could have contained New Zealand to a much greater extent, but dropped catches and poor fielding undermined a solid bowling effort. Ryder was dropped twice in four balls, on 12 and 14, and McCullum (14) was dropped with the first ball.
Guptill set the tone of the New Zealand innings by taking the majority of his runs down the ground. He had been out of the New Zealand team for several months before the series because of injuries and the lack of match play hurt him in his innings at Auckland (5) and Queenstown (1).
“It did take a bit of time but it was nice to spend a bit of time in the middle and get some runs under the belt,” Guptill said.
New Zealand Innings
Martin Guptill c Bravo b Holder 81
Jesse Ryder c Ramdin b Bravo 47
Kane Williamson c Ramdin b Best 47
Ross Taylor run out 49
Brendon McCullum c Bravo b Narine 14
Corey Anderson not out 17
Luke Ronchi b Bravo 9
Nathan McCullum not out 9
Extras (5lb,6w,1nb) 12
TOTAL (for 6 wickets) 285
Overs- 50. Batting time- 213 minutes.
Fall of wicket- 1—56, 2—144, 3—203, 4—232, 5—253, 6—267.
Did not bat- Mitchell McClenaghan, Kyle Mills, Tim Southee.
Bowling- Jason Holder 10—2—58—1 (2w), Tino Best 9—0—70—1 (1nb), Dwayne Bravo 7—0—35—2 (3w), Nikita Miller 10—0—47—0, Sunil Narine 10—0—47—1 (1w), Narsingh Deonarine 4—0—23—0.
West Indies Innings
Chadwick Walton run out 0
Johnson Charles c Southee b McClenaghan 0
Kirk Edwards run out 24
Lendl Simmons c Guptill b Williamson 43
Dwayne Bravo not out 43
Narsingh Deonarine c Mills b N.McCullum 3
Denesh Ramdin not out 17
Extras (3lb,1w) 4
TOTAL (for 5 wickets) 134
Overs- 33.4. Batting time- 118 minutes.
Fall of wickets- 1—0, 2—2, 3—62, 4—83, 5—92.
Did not bat- Nikita Miller, Jason Holder, Sunil Narine, Tino Best.
Bowling- Tim Southee 5—1—21—0, Mitchell McClenaghan 6.4—1—30—1, Kyle Mills 2—0—10—0, Corey Anderson 2—0—10—0, Nathan McCullum 10—0—30—1, Kyle Williamson 8—0—30—0 (1w).
Toss- New Zealand.
Result- New Zealand won by 58 runs under the Duckworth-Lewis system.
Series- New Zealand leads the five-match series 2-1.