West Indies Win Takes Edge Off Odds for First ODI Against New Zealand
Over the past ten weeks, New Zealand have been virtually unbeatable in white ball cricket.
A dominant tour of Europe saw New Zealand rack up a tally of 11 wins with zero defeats, white washing Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands in a handful of T20I and ODI series against the European minnows.
Traveling south to the West Indies produced more of the same, with the Black Caps winning the first two T20Is and the series comfortably, by margins of 17 and 70 runs, where the result never looked in doubt.
However, the West Indies have turned that form on its head this week, putting together a comprehensive eight wicket win over the Black Caps on Sunday, which saw a much improved batting and bowling side by the home team, and a few cracks in the New Zealand effort.
Heading into the upcoming ODI series between the two, here’s how the odds have been affected by this result.
Cause for Concern, or Inevitable Hiccup for New Zealand?
The first question is: How did New Zealand manage to go from stringing together 13 dominant victories, to losing quite badly over the weekend?
Notably, none of New Zealand’s players really fired for the first time in months. Even in the closest of their recent matches, where some aspects of their game weren’t gelling, the Black Caps had an individual stand up and propel them to victory. However, on Sunday, there was no Michael Bracewell-like performance. Sure, Glenn Phillips scored a tidy 41 off 26, but he really needed to turn that into a 70 or 80 for it to make New Zealand’s score competitive.
New Zealand have got into such a rhythm of winning, and getting out of tight spots, that for the first time in months, it seemed like they had got a little complacent. Everyone was waiting for someone to step up and win the match, but no one did. If ever there was a game to drop however, it’s a dead rubber at the end of a series.
Big picture, this won’t be of too much concern for New Zealand.
Ahead of a World Cup, it’s always good to be reminded how sour defeat tastes. There were no major flaws in New Zealand’s game plan—just a lack of urgency, which will no doubt be resolved by a loss itself.
West Indies Changes a Breath of Fresh Air
The West Indies, however, will be thrilled with their performance on the weekend.
With four changes made to the side that was drubbed by New Zealand days before, a breath of fresh air was breathed into the team. Particularly, the introduction of spinner Akeal Hosein to the side was a masterstroke. Figures of 28/2 off four overs at an economy of 7.0 did an excellent job of squeezing New Zealand in the middle overs, and paired with Dominic Drake’s 19/1 off four, the West Indies were able to achieve something they’d failed to do in the previous two T20Is.
New opener Brandon King also proved a gamechanger for the West Indies. Striking 53 off 35, he provided exactly the kind of powerplay momentum that has been sorely lacking for the home side in the series so far. Paired with Sharmarh Brooks’ steady 56 off 59, for the first time all series, the West Indies openers fired and took pressure off the sides’ middle order.
Heading into the ODI series, the West Indies will be pleased to have found some form and good combinations they can rely on for results.
Odds Even Out Ahead of ODI Series
New Zealand are still favorites heading into tomorrow’s first ODI, however not by much.
Bookies have the Black Caps at -190, with the West Indies at +165.
Given how woeful the West Indies were in the first two T20Is, and how dominant New Zealand were, odds of roughly 60/40 in favor of New Zealand are a reflection of just how far the home side has come off the back of the third T20I.
Should the West Indies return to their earlier form and drop this opening game in dramatic fashion, expect these odds to blow out ahead of the second ODI. Bookies appear to be giving the West Indies the benefit of the doubt that they have found winning combinations, rather than just got lucky with a flash in the pan performance.
However, should that prove to have been the case tomorrow, chances are New Zealand will return to being heavy favorites in the odds come the second ODI.