After sharing the honours in the one-day international series, New Zealand and West Indies will switch the gears to shortest format of the sport with the first T20 in Auckland on Saturday.
The two sides tied the five-match ODI series 2-2, with second game at Napier washing out. West Indies, who secured a thrilling two-wicket victory in series-opener at Auckland, slumped to 159-run and 58-run defeats in third and fourth one-dayers at Queensland and Nelson but bounced back strongly in fifth game to register a record-breaking 203-run victory at Hamilton.
For T20 series, both teams have summoned promising T20 campaigners. However, T20 champions West Indies are appears stronger in the presence of explosive-hitters Chris Gayle, Marlon Bravo, Kieran Powell and Andre Russell. The visitors will be led by Dwayne Bravo as regular skipper Darren Sammy was ruled out of the series with a hamstring injury.
Brendon McCullum-led Blackcaps also features gifted hard-hitters including Jesse Rider, Martin Guptill, Corey Anderson, who hit fastest ODI century off 36 deliveries in the rain-curtailed third ODI, Adam Milne and Colin Munro.
Considering the presence of swashbuckling batsmen in both sides, the sport’s pundits are predicting the 1st T20 to be yet another nail-biting encounter.