A 25-year-old Trent Boult inflicted serious problems to some of the best batsmen in the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2015, as he had finished joint top wicket-taker with Australia’s Mitchell Starc with 22 scalps. He troubled the batsmen with pace, line, length, accuracy and some maddening swing in that tournament and two years later, today, all of it were once again evident at Christchurch’s Hagley Oval. Boult reckoned that he is not far away from reclaiming that form of his when he missed out on registering New Zealand’s best ODI bowling figures by a whisker.
During the second ODI against West Indies, Boult finished with figures of 7 for 34 and became only the second BlackCaps bowler to take seven wickets in an ODI match. Tim Southee’s 7 for 33, which he achieved against England in the World Cup 2015, still remains the best spell from a New Zealander in an ODI. Although the Christchurch ODI featured several heroic moments like Henry Nicholls’s career-best 83 off 62, Todd Astle and Nicholls’ partnership that lifted the BlackCaps from 186 for 5 to 325 for 6 in 50 overs and George Worker’s brilliant half-century that gave the side the required start, Boult’s performance by far dominated the rest.
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The day only bettered for the 28-year-old pacer when he claimed his 100th ODI wicket. He became the fifth fastest bowler and second fastest Kiwi behind Shane Bond to get to the 100-wicket mark in the ODIs.The moment arrived when Boult removed tailender Ashley Nurse, who was caught by Worker at deep mid-wicket. Eventually, Boult by the end of the day had 101 ODI victims to his name and that led to the 204-run loss, which was West Indies’ biggest loss to New Zealand in the limited-overs in terms of the number of runs.
The Hagley Oval being the kingdom of swing and seam movement aided Boult’s style of play. The wicket seemed slower than usual but there was more lift than anticipated and that made the difference at the end. Boult launched himself at the very moment he got the ball on his hand. Had Worker held the difficult catch of Evin Lewis, Boult could have had his first wicket on his very second delivery of the day. However, the celebrations happened soon when he dismissed Kyle Hope on the final delivery of the over.
All that Lewis’ drop catch cost New Zealand was just nine runs because Boult had him in the next over. Lewis miscued a pull that landed in the hands of the fine fielder, leaving West Indies at 15 for 2. Every time Boult bowled, a wicket seemed around the corner, that was the extent of his dominance against the Windies. Boult made two more breakthroughs before his first spell ended. He got Shimron Hetmyer caught at slip for a mere two runs and then later, Shai Hope edged the ball high in the air to be caught by the keeper and that finished his combative knock of 23 off 19 balls.
By first 10 overs, Windies had exhausted their top four batsmen and the architect of the collapse, Boult, admitted to have his confidence pumped up following those early dismissals he had made.
“I was getting it clicking and swinging the ball well. The World Cup is still probably one of my fondest memories where I really felt like I was bowling quick and keeping quick in a way. Very happy with where it is at the moment,” Boult said after New Zealand’s win on Saturday.
He certainly would have played through the West Indies’ mind too; the Windies would have thoughts like the hosts maybe were 100-150 runs ahead and suddenly, their explosive man Chris Gayle was immensely being missed.
While seven wickets went to Boult, the other three were taken by 26-year-old Lockie Ferguson, who was playing only his ninth ODI. Had Ferguson not create the impact with the pace from the other end, there were possibilities of Windies to have replied in a more decent manner than what they actually did. He was clearly the fastest bowler in the New Zealand camp and he thoroughly deserved the result at the end. In the four overs he bowled, he managed to restrict the economy under five and the three wickets were like the cherry on the cake.
The Hagley wicket is usually two-pace but in the absence of Boult’s regular new-ball partner Tim Southee, he had the support from Ferguson. However, Boult did not forget to mention Southee, with whom he has bowled for New Zealand in 43 ODIs. “I haven’t checked my phone yet, but I’m sure he’ll be one of the first to text through. Nice to be in the club with him and grab seven wickets,” Boult said. The final ODI is a dead rubber but Boult will try and better his figures, while, the Windies will play for the pride and aim to register their maiden victory on this tour.