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Windies beat NZ, avoid T20 series sweep

Brandon King and Shamarh Brooks have shared a 102-run opening partnership as West Indies struck a winning formula at last, beating New Zealand by eight wickets in the third Twenty20 international to prevent a sweep of the three-match series.

After making the bold decision to rest captain Nicholas Pooran, the hosts also played more than one spinner for the first time in the series and their bowlers flourished on a slow pitch at Sabina Park.

New Zealand made only 7-145 after winning the toss, falling well short of their 5-185 in the first match and 5-215 in the second.

The hosts reached the target with an over to spare, as stand-in captain Rovman Powell hit Jimmy Neesham for six to clinch the win and leave the series 2-1 in New Zealand’s favour.

Left-armer Akeal Hosein, playing for the first time in the series, took 2-28 while right-arm fast bowler Odean Smith took a career-best 3-29.

King, who missed the first two matches of the series with injury, provided impetus for the run chase by taking 53 runs from 35 balls.

Brooks carried his bat throughout the innings, finishing on 56 while Powell hurried the end by striking 27 from 15 balls.

“It was very special being able to do this at home in front of everybody,” King said.

“The support is incredible, my family is here and I’m happy to be able to deliver. I think consistency is the key. When you’re an opening batsman you try to give your team a good start.

“Today credit has to be given to the bowlers. They did an excellent job for us and made my job that much easier.”

New Zealand failed to replicate their performances of the first two victories when making strong starts.

On Sunday, Hosein was called upon in only the third over and immediately knocked over Martin Guptill (15) to leave New Zealand 1-18.

Devon Conway (21), Mitchell Santner (13) and Kane Williamson (24) all made starts but struggled to impart momentum to the innings. That task fell again to Phillips who made 41 from 26 balls and was Man of the Series.

Phillips needed to bat through but was out at a critical stage when the Black Caps were 5-125 in the 17th over. New Zealand put on 64 in the last five overs of the first two matches but managed only 39 this time.

“The West Indies adapted to the conditions nicely,” Williamson said.

“We knew that with 140 things would have to go well for us with the ball and they outplayed us today.”

The teams meet in the first of three one-day internationals on Wednesday.

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