New Zealand’s tour of the West Indies ended with a whimper on Sunday as they lost the second T20 International at Windsor Park by 39 runs.
Following their 2-1 victory in the Test series between the nations last month, New Zealand claimed a 12-run win courtesy of the Duckworth Lewis method in Saturday’s opening T20 but could not complete a clean sweep as the West Indies found some consolation in drawing the two-match series.
Sheldon Cottrell (3-28) took wickets at crucial junctures for the West Indies while off-spinner Sunil Narine (2-19) restricted the New Zealand response, after Andre Fletcher smashed his second half-century in as many days to put the hosts in pole position with a total of 165-6.
New Zealand, clearly forging plans for the post-Brendon McCullum era, were led into the field by 23-year-old Kane Williamson after he won the toss and elected to bowl.
Cottrell had the Black Caps on the back foot from the off in their run chase, dismissing opener Jimmy Neesham for just seven with his third ball of the match, bringing McCullum to join skipper-for-the-day Williamson at the crease.
After relinquishing the captaincy in a bid to offer experience to his junior, McCullum struck two boundaries and a six on his way to 21 but it was Williamson who led from the front with a 48-ball 37, including five fours.
Ross Taylor also added 21 to the New Zealand cause before being bowled through the gate by Narine and when Corey Anderson (14) holed out to Darren Sammy at long-on off the bowling of Cottrell, the tourists were on the brink of defeat.
BJ Watling was run out seeking a single which was never on offer, then Tom Latham and Tim Southee both holed out in desperation before Darren Bravo ran Trent Boult out to put the Black Caps out of their misery.
Earlier in the day, Fletcher wasted little time in chalking up his second T20 international half-century in as many days as the West Indies posted a teasing score from their allotted overs.
Fletcher, who made his T20 international bow some six years ago, smashed three sixes and three fours en route to 62, before being cleaned up by seamer Trent Boult, who was the pick of the Kiwi attack with figures of 2-22.
Lendl Simmons (36) had provided ample support to Fletcher, hitting three boundaries and two sixes of his own before being caught looking for one big shot too many off leg-spinner Ish Sodhi.
Bravo (14), Sammy (10) and Kieron Pollard (13) all chipped in with middle-order contributions, though, the latter could consider himself unfortunate after falling to a show-stopping display of athletic fielding from Boult.
It was a catch that left many reeling but controversy followed as Law 32.3E of the revised rulebook states the a player must make contact with the ground in the field of play before taking the catch. Boult did not do so, diving back from beyond the rope to take the rebound.