Santner stars as Black Caps beat West Indies
August 11 2022 11:28 PM
Mitchell Santner (left) of New Zealand celebrates after the dismissal of Shimron Hetmyer (second right) of West Indies during the first T20I match at Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica, on Wednesday. (AFP)

AFP/Kingston, Jamaica

West Indies’ season of white ball woe continued on Wednesday when New Zealand completed a 13-run win in the first T20 International of a three-match series at Sabina Park in Jamaica.
Fresh from a successful European sojourn, the Black Caps posted a formidable 185 for five batting first in a rain-interrupted innings before their premier bowlers combined to limit the Caribbean side to 172 for seven in reply.
Since getting the better of Bangladesh 2-0 in a T20I duel, the West Indies have been swept 3-0 by the Bangladeshis and India in successive One-Day International series before going down 4-1 to the Indians in another T20I campaign immediately preceding this assignment.
New Zealand almost paid for a period of complacency towards the end of the match as an explosive unbroken 58-run eighth-wicket partnership between Romario Shepherd (31 not out) and Odean Smith (27 not out) gave the hosts a glimmer of hope after they had crashed to 114 for seven in the 16th over.
But they were left with too much to do as “Man of the Match” Mitchell Santner’s haul of three for 19 ripped the heart of the West Indies batting as he claimed the wickets of captain Nicholas Pooran first ball before adding Shimron Hetmyer and top-scorer Shamarh Brooks (42) to his list of victims.
Santner said: “There was a bit of spin that was surprising. The lengths are key against these guys, they can hit you pretty far. Back of a length worked well. (CPL experience helped?) I’ve played for Trinidad, and you find out what lengths work against these guys.”
He added: “I was surprised to see it spinning. Throughout our bowling innings we were able to take wickets, very handy since they bat so deep. We saw their fireworks even though they were seven down.”
When asked about Skipper Kane Williamson returning to the squad, he said: “It is massive. He is an outstanding player and captain. The way he controlled the innings was outstanding, along with Neesham who finished it off. We’ve had a few big guys come back, which is nice.”
New Zealand were set on their way after being put in to bat with an opening stand of 62 between Devon Conway and Martin Guptill. 
Williamson’s 47 off 33 balls kept the innings rolling along either side of the rain interruption but it was the late impetus from Jimmy Neesham, who belted an unbeaten 33 off just 15 balls with three fours and two sixes, which pushed the tourists to a target which ultimately proved to be just beyond the reach of the bludgeoning Shepherd and Smith. For Smith the match was a personal triumph as his batting effort followed career-best T20I figures of three for 32.
“Winning or losing can be contagious and the problem is we are losing at the moment,” said a downbeat Pooran in reflecting on yet another setback in the countdown to the World T20 in October in Australia, where the two-time champions will have to get through a qualifying round first.
“We were happy to chase 175 but we conceded a few more. We were excellent in the last five, just a little extra at the end,” he said after the match.

New Zealand 185-5 (K. Williamson 47, D. Conway 43, J. Neesham 33 n.o.; O. Smith 3-32, O. McCoy 1-39, J. Holder 1-42) beat West Indies 172-7 (S. Brooks 42, R. Shepherd 31 n.o., O. Smith 27 n.o.; M. Santner 3-19, L. Ferguson 1-33, I. Sodhi 1-34) by 13 runs
Series status: New Zealand lead series 1-0

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