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New Zealand win World Cup thriller by five runs

New Zealand win World Cup thriller by five runs

New Zealand won one of the most thrilling World Cup matches ever seen at Emirates Old Trafford  by just five runs after West Indies’ Carlos Brathwaite had come within inches of pulling off a sensational victory.

With six runs required from seven balls Brathwaite, who had already hit five sixes, sent the last ball of the 49th over from Lockie Ferguson soaring towards the long-on boundary. Momentarily it looked possible that Brathwaite had pulled off an incredible victory but the Kiwis’ Trent Boult coolly took the catch a matter of inches inside the boundary rope to seal a famous victory.  

It was a tough finale for Brathwaite who had dragged the West Indies from a position of 211-8 in the 39th over, and seemingly out of contention 81 runs away from their target, to the brink of victory with a magnificent century.

At the start of this day/night affair it was Kane Williamson who came to New Zealand’s rescue with a superb career-best ODI century to steer his side ever closer to a World Cup semi-final spot.

The West Indies’ hopes are now hanging by a thread after this defeat with the Boult doing the bulk of the damage having returned 4-30 from ten overs as the West Indies finished just short on 286 in pursuit of New Zealand’s 291-8.

With Chris Gayle in full flow, the Windies were well in the game and the tall left-handed batsman thrilled with an innings of 87 that included 6 sixes.

Gayle hit the first of his sixes off Matt Henry in the sixth over as West Indies replied strongly after losing Shai Hope bowled, via an inside edge, by Boult for 1 and Nicholas Pooran caught behind from a top edge off Boult for 1.

It made little difference to Gayle who hit consecutive sixes off Henry in the following over having been dropped from a difficult chance on 15 by Boult, and he forged a great alliance with Shimron Hetmyer to heap the pressure back on to New Zealand.

Gayle was dropped twice more in quick succession, on 58 by Henry from a straightforward catch at deep square leg and then on 59 when Munro missed a difficult half-chance, both off left-arm spinner Mitch Santner in the 18th over.  

Ever the entertainer, Gayle smashed consecutive sixes off Santner over long-on in the 20th over with the first bringing up the 100 partnership off 78 balls as West Indies reached 130-2 after 20 overs and well ahead of the required rate.

But the West Indies run chase stumbled when Hetmyer, who had provided great attacking support in making 54 with 8 fours and one six, swung wildly at his 45th delivery faced and was bowled leg stump by Lockie Ferguson.

When Jason Holder edged the next delivery from Ferguson to wicketkeeper Tom Latham, the West Indies were suddenly 142-4 and still needing 150 more runs.

With opener Evin Lewis struggling with a hamstring injury picked up while fielding, a lot depended on Gayle who next smacked a lofted drive off Colin de Grandhomme into the extra cover fence.

But three balls later it was New Zealand celebrating a pivotal moment when Gayle hit high but not far enough to be caught just inside the long-on boundary by Boult off de Grandhomme for a hugely entertaining 87.

Two quick wickets by Boult, who accounted for Ashley Nurse, caught behind for 1, and the struggling Lewis to a catch at deep square leg for a duck, put New Zealand back on top with West Indies 164-7 after 27 overs.

But Carlos Brathwaite and Kemar Roach fought back, both hitting sixes in the same Mitch Santner over as they desperately tried to drag the West Indies back into contention.  Roach lent good support with an innings of 14 in a partnership worth 49 in 11 overs before edging behind off Roach with 81 required off 71 balls.

Brathwaite went on to reach his half century from 52 balls and add 34 in partnership with Sheldon Cotterell to bring the target down to 47 off 30 balls before Cotterell was bowled by Ferguson for 15.

Brathwaite reduced that to 33 off 18 after smashing Ferguson for a straight six in the 47th over.

And with the majority of the crowd roaring him on Brathwaite thumped three successive sixes off Henry in the 48th over and then top edged a four over the wicketkeeper as 24 came off the over leaving 8 required from 12 balls.

Brathwaite went to his hundred off 80 balls (9 fours, 5 sixes) when scoring two to midwicket in the 49th over leaving 6 to win.

It was just one hit away and Brathwaite went for it, only to fail by a matter of inches.

If the ending of the match ended in thrilling fashion, the first over of the day also brought the crowd to their feet.

And New Zealand were indebted to skipper Williamson who came to the crease during a dramatic start after West Indies had won the toss and chose to bowl.

Cottrell was parading his trademark march and salute following the very first ball after trapping Martin Guptill lbw with a yorker, given out on review. Williamson then hit a four and a three before Colin Munro was comprehensively bowled from the fifth ball by an inswinging yorker, and Ross Taylor stroked a three off the final delivery to leave New Zealand 10-2.

It was only the second time in World Cup history that both openers had been dismissed from their first ball faced.

Williamson and Taylor dug in to reach 30-2 after the first powerplay of 10 overs and the pair steadily rebuilt the innings, reaching 100 in the 24th over with Williamson going to his fifty off 75 balls, with only four boundaries, and from the following delivery Taylor reached his half century off 68 balls when on-driving for his 7th four.

Batting proved far from easy on a much slower and different wicket to that used earlier in the week for the England-Afghanistan run-fest. Williamson and Taylor settled for a mixture of clever placement and good running while despatching any delivery that was off line or too short.

Those type of deliveries were in scarce supply as West Indies’ attack proved hard to get away, the century partnership taking 140 balls with the duo taking New Zealand to 150-2 after 31 overs.

Taylor’s attempts to up the scoring rate ended shortly afterwards when he came down the track to Chris Gayle but failed to loft his drive over Jason Holder at mid-off to make the score 167-3 after 34.3 overs. Undeterred, Williamson expertly pressed the accelerator, reaching his century from 124 balls when pulling Kemar Roach to fine leg for his eighth boundary in the 38th over.

Williamson then whipped Holder to the backward square leg boundary from the first ball of the 40th over and followed with four more from the next ball with a graceful drive through mid-off. With a scoring rate still just under five runs per over, the blows signalled the start of some well-needed intent with the two hundred posted in the 41st over.

Tom Latham top edged a pull to be caught and bowled by Cottrell for 12 in the 42nd over, but Williamson thumped three more fours and a six before falling for 148 off 154 balls (14 fours, 1 six) after top edging a high catch off Cottrell (4-56) to wicketkeeper Shai Hope.

Jimmy Neesham smashed Brathwaite for another for six and combined with Colin de Grandhomme to take 17 runs from Brathwaite’s following over, the 48th, before de Grandhomme was run out by Cottrell for 16 off 6 balls.

The innings finished with Mitch Santner slog-sweeping Brathwaite for six before he and Neesham were both caught by Cottrell off the same bowler, who conceded a total of 38 off the 46th, 48th and 50th overs, from the final two balls of the innings with New Zealand finishing on 291-8 having added 92 in the final ten overs.

Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson was named Man of the Match, but Carlos Brathwaite ran him very close.


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