New Zealand were today wary of Chris Gayle coming into form in the second Twenty20 as they eyed a series sweep against the West Indies.
The home side have already tucked away victories in the two Tests, three one-dayers and the first of three Twenty20 matches.
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said “it would be great” to pull off a series sweep in the Twenty20 in Mount Maunganui on Monday, but the Gayle factor was lurking in the background.
The West Indies talisman was in devastating form in early December when he smashed a record 18 sixes in an unbeaten innings of 146 off 69 balls in the Bangladesh league.
But he has failed to fire so far in New Zealand, with scores of 22 and four in the two ODIs he played and 12 in the first Twenty20.
“He’s a fantastic player, probably the best T20 record in the game and can take the game away at any time,” Williamson said on his return to the New Zealand squad after sitting out the last three games.
“If he gets away on you in 10 overs or so he can change a game and that’s what it’s about.
“We know in this format the West Indies T20 side are one of the best sides in the world and we know that at any time they can turn it on.”
Williamson said New Zealand could only focus on building on their performances, with an unbeaten run in six games so far against the West Indies.
In the first Twenty20 they unearthed two new stars in rookies Glenn Phillips and Seth Rance.
Phillips, in only his fourth international, scored a half-century with the bat and pulled off two stunning catches behind the stumps, including have to turn and run nearly 30 metres to dismiss Gayle off debutant Rance.
Seamer Rance removed Chadwick Walton with his next delivery and finished with the impressive figures of three for 30 from his four overs as New Zealand cruised to a 47-run victory.