If you had not seen any other matches this series and arrived to watch this one, you would think that New Zealand were such a superior side that there was little chance of West Indies being able to take a game off them.
This was a dominant performance. New Zealand batted better, bowled better and fielded better.
It started with a great innings from Rob Nicol. Daniel Flynn looked like a world class batsman before chopping one on. However West Indies managed to pick up wickets at regular intervals throughout the innings, but most of them were from short balls that the New Zealand batsmen mistimed. Sammy, Narine and Sammy managed to create some pressure on the New Zealand batsmen. Sammy in particular looked outstanding.
He gave some clues as to how he thought the pitch was playing by moving Chris Gayle into a short straight mid on during the powerplay, banking on New Zealand struggling to time the ball. After the game Williamson noted that the pitch was slower than they had expected, but he felt that it was a good cricket wicket, that gave a chance for both batsmen and bowlers.
New Zealand's innings stalled after the 22nd over, and it took until the 33rd before they managed to get some momentum, but they rode the tempo change well and recovered from 141/5 off 34 to get to what looked like a modest total of 249/9. However sometimes it is difficult to know how good a score is until both teams have batted.
The first over from Kyle Mills went for two boundaries, but the big story was the next over. Trent Boult was given the ball ahead of Tim Southee, with the wind coming over his left shoulder. Normally this end would be given to the senior bowler in the team, but Williamson got the decision completely correct in this match. Southee generally bowls outswing, and while having the wind at his back would help his pace, Boult looked quicker in practice in Jamaica. Mills is the ideal bowler to bowl into that sort of wind. It assists his shape away from the right-hander and also helps the ball sit up a bit more.
Boult's first over got Gayle to defend 4 balls, avoid a quick bouncer and then edge one just between first slip (who was probably too wide) and the keeper. It was a promising start. More was to come in his next over as he picked up the dangerous Johnson Charles; lbw to a perfect inswinging yorker.
Gayle seemed to be struggling with the pace of Boult, so Williamson brought on Southee to give him some quick bowling at the body from both ends. The plan worked. Gayle edged Southee to Nicol, and all of a sudden 250 looked a long way away for the West Indies.
4 overs later it was 52/4 and the game was firmly in New Zealand's favour. 2 more overs and Guptill produced some brilliance to run out Samuels, and West Indies were staggering at 62/5. New Zealand immediately took the bowling powerplay. The 5 overs with the field up cost a total of 9 runs. New Zealand had rediscovered their fielding prowess.
Darren Sammy showed that it was a good pitch to be a tall medium pacer on. Jacob Oram is also a tall medium pacer and it was equally good for him, taking 2/22.
Some rearguard tail-end hitting from Andre Russell almost provided some respectability for the West Indies, but they still lost by 88 runs. Russell's 43* off 24 balls was the only score over 20.
The man of the match was a difficult decision for this match. Nicol top-scored with 59, Nathan McCullum lead the recovery with 50 as well as taking 2 wickets, 2 catches and being involved in a run out, and Andre Russell took 4 wickets to go with his runs. The award went to Nicol, but it was a game with at least 3 outstanding performances. (Southee and Boult both bowled sensationally, without getting the same reward)
West Indies have now lost 4 of the 5 matches they have played at this ground. They will need a significant improvement to improve that record in matches 4 or 5.