Williamson leads New Zealand recovery with second successive century
The West Indies struck twice in the opening over.
Kane Williamson’s second successive World Cup century shepherded New Zealand to 291 for eight after they had lost both of their openers for golden ducks against the West Indies.
Sheldon Cottrell’s customary salute was unleashed after he removed Martin Guptill and Colin Munro in an eventful first over but Williamson once again came to the Kiwis’ rescue with 148 off 154 balls on a challenging surface.
Fresh from his match-winning ton against South Africa, the Black Caps captain had a rebuilding job to do and a 160-run partnership with Ross Taylor, who made 69 from 95 balls, was the cornerstone of their innings at Old Trafford.
It's been a #KaneWilliamson masterclass today! He's finally dismissed for 148 - his highest ODI score 🙌🏽 A top edge skied and caught by a back-peddling Shai Hope with the gloves 🏏— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) June 22, 2019
🇳🇿 253/5 | 47 overs #BACKTHEBLACKCAPS #CWC19 #WIvNZ
LIVE 📱| https://t.co/aU5ayqheAz pic.twitter.com/cTn0EI3uxn
The double act led the recovery efficiently but were very rarely able to get on top of the bowling before Taylor, looking to cast off the shackles, found mid-off off Gayle, who seemed to hurt his shoulder in his celebration.
Williamson, whose score today means he has registered 50 or more in 10 of his last 11 one-day international innings in England and Wales, kept going and his ODI best looks to have lifted New Zealand to at least a competitive total.
That seemed unlikely early on after they were asked to bat first under blue skies, Guptill getting a beauty first up when a fuller ball from Cottrell swung back into his pads, Windies captain Jason Holder vindicated when he reviewed the original not out decision.
Williamson got underway with a punch through the covers, with Carlos Brathwaite diving too early in a farcical piece of fielding, but Cottrell had his second of the over when he castled Munro first-ball.
In the midst of a chaotic start, Windies opener Evin Lewis exited after injuring his hamstring and did not reappear for the rest of New Zealand’s innings.
Williamson and Taylor, New Zealand’s old hands, led the salvo, settling to their job manfully and interspersed the odd boundary with regularly rotating the strike in an understandably low-risk approach.
The pitch seemed to be giving both batsmen pause for thought, with timing a particular issue, but neither offered any chances while their running between the wickets – sometimes an Achilles heel – was not an issue here.
Williamson was the first to a half-century off 75 balls while Taylor followed immediately afterwards, but the latter became bogged down thereafter before perishing as he looked to relieve the pressure.
Gayle therefore had his first ODI wicket since March 2018 and he punched the air in celebration, only to then clutch his right shoulder, which led him to leave the field for a brief period.
New Zealand manage to post 291/8, despite Sheldon Cottrell being in unstoppable form and returning 56/4.— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) June 22, 2019
Will that be enough against a power-packed West Indies line-up? #MenInMaroon | #CWC19 | #BackTheBlackCaps pic.twitter.com/rDD5QsLxGs
Williamson, though, had started to push the tempo and went to three figures off 124 balls, pulling a rank legside delivery from the otherwise miserly Kemar Roach for his eighth four.
Williamson continued to accelerate, dismissively pulling Cottrell over deep midwicket for the first six of the innings in the 44th over, but a superb knock ended when he pulled the left-armer high into the air, with wicketkeeper Shai Hope taking a steepler.
Cottrell ended with figures of four for 56 and added two catches off the final two balls, but New Zealand, courtesy of some late innings swinging, added 104 in the final 10 overs.