The West Indian captain Brian Lara must be thanking his stars for having won the toss against New Zealand in a group "B" match of the World Cup 1999 on Monday at Southampton. His pacemen obliged in a manner born to restrict Zealand to 156 in 48.1 overs. The New Zealand bowlers too were as imaginative as their counterpart and despite defending such a weak total, they made their opponents struggle.
In fact , the West Indies were forced to adopt a 'brick by brick' fashion to make this a profitable outing. Today's seven-wicket triumph took the West Indies to a brighter spot in the race for the top honours in this pool. It was their second win in three matches.
New Zealand too enjoyed an identical record while Pakistan were sitting pretty at the top of the points table with an unbeaten record of three played three wins. New Zealand , who had beaten Australia in their earlier match, were a real threat and so Lara might have wanted his men to play at their brilliant best today.
His bowlers did just that.Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh , the two battle- scarred veterans , came up with some inspiring opening spell and the younger paceman Reon King did his role earnestly . Phil Simmons , supposed to be the fifth bowler, was made to enter as the fourth bowler today. He did no mistake during his two-spell performance. So by the end of the 25th over New Zealand were precariously placed at 59 for five. Considering the intelligent methods of the West Indian bowlers , New Zealand's chances of recovering to an impressive total looked bleak.
However those batsmen who were on view after that pathetic score must be commended for their bold approach and 97 runs came in the next 23 overs. Adam Parore (23) , Gavin Larsen (23) and Chris Harris (30) gave some respectability to the innings. The West Indian paceman Mervyn Dillon, who came on to be the fifth bowler--- a good thinking on the part of Lara--- performed to a plan and reaped a rich harvest ( four for 48).
The New Zealand bowlers did not lose heart. They kept the West Indian batsmen quiet for long . Only 49 runs came off 19 overs . In the next over first ball Geoff Allott got rid of Jimmy Adams. Lara joined Ridley Jacobs at that juncture. Lara took little or no time to prove that when a classy batsman of his clibre was around, things were bound to be different. Soon the run-rate improved considrebly and in the next 15 overs 71 runs were added ( 120 for two) with Lara being the chief contributor.