World Cup 2019: Brathwaite denied at the end as New Zealand survives scare to go top

Carlos Brathwaite's determined effort took West Indies to within six runs of victory, but James Neesham and Trent Boult held their nerve to take New Zealand to the win eventually.

So near, yet so far: Carlos Brathwaite goes down on his knees in dejection after being caught on the long-on boundary with West Indies needing six runs for a win.   -  Reuters

Skipper Kane Williamson continued his impressive run with a second successive century to guide New Zealand to a narrow five-run win over West Indies in a World Cup thriller, despite a fighting maiden ODI hundred by Carlos Brathwaite.

Sent into bat, Williamson rescued New Zealand with a career-best 148, steering his side to a competitive 291 for eight after being reduced to two for seven by West Indies in the first over.

Chasing the total, Chris Gayle (87) and Shimron Hetmyer (54) cracked fifties but the West Indies were looking down the barrel at 164 for seven in the 27th over. Brathwaite then blasted nine fours and five sixes on way to a 82-ball 101 to take his side close to victory at Old Trafford.

Brathwaite smashed three sixes and a four in the 48th over to bring the equation down to eight from 12 balls.

He took two runs to complete his hundred but then holed out to Trent Boult at long-on in the last ball of the 49th over bowled by Jimmy Neesham to sink to his knees as West Indies fell short by five runs.

The defeat left West Indies on the brink of elimination, while New Zealand’s fifth victory saw it return to the top of the table with 11 points from six games.

“A bit too close for comfort. I thought the guys did an outstanding job in the roles they were given. Some of the striking from the West Indians is unrivalled so it really does put you under pressure,” Williamson said after the match.

West Indies Jason Holder said: “Tough game at the very end but I’m proud of the guys, especially Carlos. You can probably pinpoint one or two areas where we fell down. We lost wickets at crucial stages.

As it happened

“We’ve still got a lot to play for, we’ve got our pride to play for. We can still finish the tournament on a high.”

Earlier, Williamson batted with aplomb and in the process raised his 13th ODI hundred which came off 154 balls with the help of 14 fours and a six.

Asked to bat, New Zealand was in for a shock when left-arm pacer Sheldon Cottrell (4/56) sent back both the openers -- Martin Guptill (0) and Colin Munro (0) in the first over of the match.

Cottrell’s swinging yorkers consumed both the batsmen, who were out for golden ducks.

The joy for the Caribbeans did not last long as Williamson and Ross Taylor (69 off 95 balls) dug their heels to raise a 160-run partnership, which steadied the Kiwi ship.

Playing with extreme caution, Williamson and Taylor - the two seasoned Kiwi campaigners - built the innings bit by bit.

Mostly playing in the ‘V’ region, the first signs of aggression came when Williamson cut Oshane Thomas for a four.

Team’s fifty came in the 15th over with Taylor smashing a short one from Jason Holder. He later straight drove Thomas for a delicate boundary.

Pacing the innings nicely, both the batsmen completed half-centuries in the 24th over, bowled by Kemar Roach.

Chris Gayle’s part-time off spin broke the partnership which was threatening to take the match away from the West Indies.

Taylor looked for some quick runs to accelerate but could not middle one after outstepping. The ball landed in hands of Holder, stationed at mid-off.

Williamson raised his hundred with a boundary off Roach.

Cottrell was brought back into the attack and he first got rid of Tom Latham (12) and then ended the sublime knock of Williamson.

James Neesham (28) and Colin de Grandhomme (16) added some quick runs towards the end.

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