T20: Ferguson, Neesham hand New Zealand 1-0 series lead

SUMMARY: West Indies 180-7 from 16 overs (Pollard 75*, Fletcher 34, Allen 30, Ferguson 5-21, Southee 2-22) vs New Zealand 179-5 from 15.2 overs (Neesham 48*, Conway 41, Santner 31*, Thomas 2-23, Pollard 1-16, Cottrell 1-30)

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Lockie Ferguson and Jimmy Neesham played huge roles to lead New Zealand to a five-wicket win over West Indies in the first T20 International in Auckland on Friday.

West Indies recovered to post 180-7 from a reduced 16 overs, and New Zealand responded well, overhauling a revised target of 176 with four balls remaining.

West Indies started at a brisk pace with Andre Fletcher and Brandon King racing to 58 in 3.2 overs, but New Zealand rebounded spectacularly to claim five wickets for just one run as the Caribbean side slipped to 59-5 by the start of the sixth over.

Fletcher was the first to go for 34 off 14 (3x4s, 3x6s), followed Shimron Hetmyer (0), King (13), Rovman Powell (0) and Nicholas Pooran (1) as Ferguson and Tim Southee ripped through the top and middle order.

Kieron Pollard of the West Indies bats during game one of the International T20 series between New Zealand and the West Indies at Eden Park on November 27, 2020 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

It took an 84-run, sixth-wicket partnership between Kieron Pollard and Fabian Allen to revive the innings, before an unbroken eight-wicket partnership of 34 between the skipper and Sheldon Cottrell provided the late flourish.

Pollard ended with 75* off 37 balls (4x4s, 8x6s), Allen made 30 (26 balls; 4x4s, 1×6), while Cottrell’s contribution was just one.

Ferguson picked up 5-21 and Southee 2-22.

James Neesham of New Zealand bats during game one of the International T20 series between New Zealand and the West Indies at Eden Park on November 27, 2020 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

New Zealand then slipped to 62-3 inside the Powerplay and then lost the experienced Ross Taylor in the seventh over at 63-4, before Neesham and debutant Devon Conway added 77 to put the Kiwis back on track.

Conway made 41 off 29 (5x4s, 1×6). Mitchell Santner and Neesham then closed out the contest with an unbroken 39-run stand.

Neesham ended on 48* off 24 (5x4s, 3x6s) and Santner 31* off 18 (3x6s). Oshane Thomas took 2-23, Pollard 1-16 and Cottrell 1-30.

The second T20 will be played on November 28 at 21:00h (Caribbean time).

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