Paceman Bracewell (4/55) stars as New Zealand clinch first ODI

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WHANGAREI, New Zealand, December 20 – New Zealand cruised to a five-wicket win over Windies in the first One-Day International in Whangarei on Wednesday, taking a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
 
Put in to bat, Windies ended with a competitive 248/9, but New Zealand overhauled the target with four overs remaining, riding on solid contributions from the top order.
 
Evin Lewis was the pick of the Windies batsmen with a classy 76, while Rovman Powell staged a stirring rear-guard action while hitting 59 off 50 balls.
 
For New Zealand, George Worker and Colin Munro, the opening batsmen, laid the foundation for the home side’s chase with a 108-run partnership.
 
Doug Bracewell, the New Zealand paceman, was named Man of the Match after taking 4/55, while Todd Astle, the leg-spinner, took 3/33 on debut.
 
Windies struggled from the start of their innings, with Chris Gayle – on whose shoulders much of the visiting side’s hopes rested – failing to fire and managing just 22. 
 
Gayle – fresh from notching a record 18 sixes in the Bangladesh Premier League T20 final – was uncharacteristically subdued, failing to score until the fifth over.
 
His aggressive instincts surfaced when he charged down the wicket to dispatch Tim Southee for six, going on to score freely with Lewis for a short period. But Bracewell then made a dream return, snaring Gayle with his first ball and then Shai Hope for a duck two deliveries later.
 
Shimron Hetmyer, the debutant, came to the crease and helped steady the innings with Lewis, easing Windies past the 100-run mark in the 23rd over.
 
But a steady stream of wickets to Astle and Bracewell denied Windies any momentum and the team was limping along at 201/8 before Powell’s late heroics.
 
The loss leaves Windies yet to register a win on their New Zealand tour after a 2-0 sweep in the Test series.
 
Windies have not won an ODI series in New Zealand since 1995, and in 2017, the team has won only three of the 17 ODIs they have played.
 
The next fixture in this series is in Christchurch on Saturday. 
 
Kane Williamson, the New Zealand captain, and Southee will be rested for the second and third ODIs.
– African News Agency (ANA)