West Indies thrash New Zealand in first T20

Lauderhill: Chris Gayle slammed an unbeaten 85 and Kieron Pollard lashed 63 not out off 29 balls on Saturday to set up a 56-run victory for the West Indies over New Zealand in the first Twenty20 cricket international in Florida.

Gayle smashed seven fours and five sixes off 52 balls to anchor a record-breaking West Indian total of 209 for 2 off 20 overs. The equally powerful Pollard lofted five fours and five sixes as the pair shared a partnership of 108 off 47 balls.

New Zealand was briefly up with the demanding required rate but eventually was bowled out for 153 off 18.3 overs at Central Broward Regiona Park. West Indies spinner Sunil Narine claimed 3 for 34 while there was a wicket apiece for captain Darren Sammy, Fidel Edwards and Dwayne Bravo.

Earlier, Dwayne Smith started the six-hitting frenzy after New Zealand had sent in the West Indies, smashing two in scoring 17 off 13 deliveries before he was bowled by paceman Doug Bracewell to make it 27 for 1.

Gayle and Johnson Charles (24) put on a stand of 74 before Charles top-edged Kane Williamson to backward point.

Pollard launched his first ball for six and was in devastating mood throughout.

Gayle reached his half-century in 42 balls in the 16th over, while Pollard was even more rapid, his milestone taking just 24 deliveries.

Gayle lashed Bracewell for four sixes in one over toward the end as West Indies reached their highest Twenty20 total.

New Zealand`s reply was led by opener Rob Nicol, who struck five fours in 32 off 33 balls.

He and Martin Guptill shared an opening stand of 38 in four overs before Narine broke through with his first delivery, having Guptill stumped down the leg side off a wide.

New Zealand had a bad day with injuries, losing Ronnie Hira to a dislocated left middle finger after he tried to catch a thunderbolt shot from Gayle, and captain Ross Taylor had to retire hurt with a sore left shoulder, an injury picked up while fielding and exacerbated when he batted.

Kane Williamson (10) scooped a return catch to Sammy to make it 72 for 2 and once Nicol sliced Bravo to backward point at 84 for 3, the innings folded swiftly.

There were two direct hit run outs, from Sammy and new cap Samuel Badree, and brief flurries from Tim Southee (23) and Jacob Oram (27), but West Indies coasted home in the end.

The second Twenty20 international at the same venue on Sunday.