1st T20 preview: New Zealand take on West Indies

Spin is expected to play a dominant role as New Zealand arrive to take on West Indies in the first of the weekend's two T20 clashes.

updated: June 30, 2012 09:24 IST
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Americans have previously claimed PG Wodehouse is American. Over the next two days, the claim they'll lay to a sport Wodehouse wrote extensively and endearingly on will be of a slightly different nature. It will mostly come from those who have moved to America from cricketing nations, and the Caribbean people have a big presence in Florida. Which is why it makes more sense to have New Zealand - a team committed to development of cricket in US - play West Indies, unlike the last time when Sri Lanka and New Zealand failed to draw big crowds in 2010.

Also, unlike the last time, the organisers will hope for more encouragement from the conditions. New Zealand Cricket did send one of their best groundsmen to inject some life into the slow and low pitches that made for dull cricket the first time around. Jacob Oram, though, is of the view the pitch hasn't changed much. It will obviously take them time to get pitch preparation right in Florida, but it is arguable how much dull contests - with stroke-making difficult and little help for bowlers - will help spread the game there.

New Zealand won't complain about the slow and low conditions, though, because they should level the playing field a little. West Indies are the clear favourites on paper, with Chris Gayle and the many allrounders in their squad. New Zealand, on the other hand, are without Brendon McCullum, Jesse Ryder and James Franklin. A slow and low pitch can help neuter the big hitters to an extent, and those saved and scampered singles will become more important if the T20s there from two years ago are any indication.

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