Kyle Mayers’s second One-Day International hundred and West Indies’ highest total against New Zealand in eight years were not enough as the Black Caps ended their 37-year wait for an ODI series win on Caribbean soil with a clinical five-wicket victory here Sunday.
Under lights at picturesque Kensington Oval, the visitors produced a superb run chase to overhaul a target of 302 in the decisive third ODI and complete the third highest successful run chase at the venue with 17 balls to spare.
Man-of-the-match and stand-in skipper Tom Latham led the effort with 69 off 75 deliveries, scoring one of four half-centuries as Daryl Mitchell (63), Martin Guptill (57) and Devon Conway (56) all weighed in with critical contributions.
When Latham was dismissed in the 44th over leaving two new batsmen at the crease, Jimmy Neesham exploded with an 11-ball unbeaten 34 – in a 48-run, unbroken sixth wicket stand with Michael Bracewell (14 not out) – to erase any lingering threat from the hosts.
“For us, when you know the target of 300 and you put partnerships together, we certainly had the belief in the camp [we could do it],” said Latham.
“It’s something that we talked about but something we probably didn’t do over those first two games [and that] was try to build those partnerships. Obviously [starting with] Devon and Gup (Guptill) at the top and then partnerships all the way throughout, which is ideal.”
The left-handed Mayers had earlier top-scored with 105 from 110 deliveries as West Indies marched to 301 for eight off their 50 overs, after being sent in.
Captain Nicholas Pooran blasted a breathtaking 91 from just 55 deliveries while prolific opener Shai Hope chipped in with an ultra patient 51, the Caribbean side laying down the gauntlet in the series finale.
The defeat extended West Indies’ ten-year wait for a series win over New Zealand, who with the result, tasted series success for the first time in the Caribbean.
“[This is a] tough one. Scoring 300-plus on that wicket I felt was really good. At the half-way stage we felt like we were in the game,” Pooran said afterwards.
“But in saying that, I can’t ask the bowlers to do anymore to be honest. One or two more wickets in the power-play would’ve been ideal for us but New Zealand batted well. They put a couple partnerships together and it was tough for us.”
Mayers emerged from a watchful start to get after New Zealand’s attack. He smashed a dozen fours and three sixes, posting 173 for the first wicket with Hope whose knock lasted 100 deliveries and included three fours and a six.
After scraping ten runs from his first 26 balls, Mayers upped the tempo to reach his half-century off 58 balls in the 20th over before racing to triple figures off 99 balls in the 35th over, becoming only the second Barbadian to notch an ODI hundred at the venue.
“Kyle didn’t score runs for the last couple of games but he was determined,” Pooran said.
“Today he came out and in front of his home crowd, and obviously executed his game plan. I’m really happy for him.”
Mayers and Hope fell in the space of three deliveries – two of four wickets to tumble for 18 runs – which left West Indies stumbling on 191 for four in the 39th over.
However, Pooran counter-attacked in a whirlwind knock which included four fours and nine sixes, adding 52 for the fifth wicket with Keacy Carty (4) before eventually falling in the penultimate over to left-arm seamer Trent Boult who finished with three for 53.
West Indies then struck early when New Zealand batted, seamer Jason Holder (2-37) hitting Finn Allen in front for three in the fourth over with 20 runs on the board.
Any hopes of further immediate inroads were erased, however. Guptill, who faced 64 balls and counted five fours and a six, posted 82 for the second wicket with Conway who struck half-dozen fours in a breezy 63-ball innings.
When both perished in the space of 30 deliveries at 128 for three in the 25th over, Latham and Mitchell combined in an excellent 120-run, fourth wicket stand to all but put the contest beyond West Indies.
Latham lashed half-dozen fours and Mitchell, half-dozen fours and a six, before Neesham clobbered a four and four sixes at the end as New Zealand produced an emphatic finish.