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'Bowl-off' gives Kiwis 3-0 win over WI

With scores tied at 126, NZ bowlers hit the stumps thrice in bowl-off - cricket's equivalent of football's penalty shootout - to win the Twenty20 match.

india Updated: Feb 16, 2006 17:40 IST

New Zealand beat the West Indies 3-0 in international cricket's first ever bowl-off after their series opener Twenty20 match ended with the scores tied at 126 eachon Thursday.

In a match which never lived up to the big-hitting spectacular that cricket's latest innovation is supposed to produce, New Zealand were in control for three-quarters of regulation play before a dramatic batting collapse led to the bizarre finish.

After losing the toss and being sent into bat, the West Indies had struggled in their debut Twenty20 international, losing wickets regularly as they tried to increase their scoring rate, and their 126 looked an easy target.

With Lou Vincent striking boundaries at will, New Zealand raced to 73 for two in the 10th over when Dwayne Bravo ignited the Calypso Kings' purple patch which saw five wickets fall in eight overs for 28 runs.

Bravo, hailed as cricket's rising star, watched Scott Styris hit his first ball for six and then clean bowled the New Zealand batsman and added insult to injury by ruining the farewell appearance of champion all-rounder Chris Cairns.

While the home crowed urged Cairns to produce his trade mark sixes for one final time, Bravo used a touch of Cairns himself with a deft change of pace that sent the New Zealander back to the pavillion for two.

In the end, New Zealand needed 16 off the last over and it came down to a four by Shane Bond off the last ball to save the day for the home side and bring about a bowl-off, cricket's equivalent of football's penalty shootout.

Bowling two balls each, the first three of five bowlers from both sides all missed the stumps before Bond hit twice.

Ian Bradshaw followed for the West Indies and failed to connect leaving a wicket from Styris on his first ball to give New Zealand an unbeatable 3-0 lead.

Cairns was unable to take a wicket in his cricket finale but he pulled off a sensational runout of Dwayne Smith with a backhand flick when following through a delivery in his first over, and took a running catch off Bond in the last over of the New Zealand innings.

Apart from the bowling domination in the final 10 overs, the West Indies seemed to struggle with the Twenty20 format.

Daren Ganga and captain Shivnarine Chanderpaul top scored with 26 each, but the team score of 126 for seven seemed to be too small to be competitive.

Apart from Vincent's 42 off 37 balls, including five fours and a six, and 19 off 16 from Styris, New Zealand's batting performance showed little solidity, leaving neither side confident going into Saturday's first of five one-day internationals.

First Published: Feb 16, 2006 17:40 IST