The West Indies hammered their highest-ever limited-overs total to crush New Zealand by 203 runs in the fifth and final one-day international yesterday, drawing the series 2-2.
Skipper Dwayne Bravo and Kirk Edwards both scored centuries as the visitors flayed New Zealand’s attack to reach 363-4, before Nikita Miller dominated with the ball to skittle the Black Caps for 160.
The mammoth total was the highest ever posted by the West Indies in a 50-over match, surpassing the 360 against Sri Lanka in 1987.
Bravo, whose team has been hit by injuries and poor form while on tour, said the stunning victory showed anything is possible.
“We came into this game with our backs against the wall and needed a big win,” Bravo said.
Bravo and Edwards came together at 143-3 and put on 211 runs, with Edwards finishing unbeaten on 123, his maiden one-day century. The captain was dismissed shortly before the end of the innings for 106.
Opener Kieran Powell had launched a blistering assault at the start of the innings, smashing 73 runs off just 44 balls, with 12 fours and two sixes.
He plundered 18 off a single Mitchell McClenaghan over, with one lucky spectator winning NZ$100,000 (US$83,000) from a beer sponsor by catching one of his sixes one-handed.
Brewer Tui pledged to make the payout to any spectator who made a one-handed catch while wearing one of its distinctive orange T-shirts and Michael Morton snared the prize when he latched onto Powell’s six on the grassy embankment at Seddon Park.
“It’s pretty unbelievable,” he told Sky News. “I was sitting there next to my dad and he yelled out, so I jumped up, put my hand out and somehow it stuck. I’m pretty happy.”
Asked if he was a cricketer because of the comfortable way he took the catch, Morton replied: “Not any more, but maybe I should be.”
Following the onslaught, New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum brought on his brother, Nathan, to try to stem the runs and the tactic paid off almost immediately when Powell was out leg before wicket for 73, trying to sweep.
Fellow opener Johnson Charles was run out for 31 when Nathan McCullum sent the stumps flying with a direct hit as the batsman attempted a quick single. Lendl Simmons followed soon after, caught by Kane Williamson off Corey Anderson.
Bravo came to the crease and steadied the innings with Edwards, who smashed a six to notch his half-century.
The West Indies bludgeoned 117 off the final 10 overs, with Bravo dismissed trying to smash Williamson out of the ground.
New Zealand made a disastrous start, slumping to 65-5 after just 15 overs through a combination of rash shots and a much-improved West Indies attack.
The Black Caps openers went cheaply, with Martin Guptill out leg before for 6 and danger man Jesse Ryder (17) scooping the ball skyward going for a slog.
Brendon McCullum failed to stop the rot coming in the middle order, offering Johnson Charles a simple catch when he charged down the wicket to a seemingly innocuous delivery from Miller, who finished with figures of four for 45.
A luckless Luke Ronchi dismissed himself for 15 when he dislodged the bails with his foot as he squared up for a shot, in a sign nothing was going the Black Caps’ way.
“It was a terrible day for us,” Brendon McCullum said. “The West Indies boys certainly came out today and put in a performance we knew they were capable of. We weren’t able to get there today and were comprehensively beaten.”