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New Zealand win toss, bat first as Gayle returns

Published by Business Insider on Sat, 21 Mar 2015

Wellington (AFP) - New Zealand won the toss and elected to bat first against the West Indies in their World Cup quarter-final at Westpac Stadium on Saturday as Chris Gayle was named in the starting line-up for the Caribbean side.The winner will play South Africa in the first semi-final at Eden Park in Auckland on Tuesday. Australia and defending champions India meet in the second semi-final at the Sydney Cricket Ground next Thursday."We know the challenge the West Indies present but the boys are in a good space," New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum said, saying conditions were ripe for batting first."Runs on the board will be valuable in these situations and the wicket looks pretty good."The heavily favoured New Zealand have declared they will continue with the all-out attack philosophy that carried them through the pool stages unbeaten.They have made one change for the sudden-death match with Adam Milne returning from injury to replace Mitchell McClenaghan.West Indies, who only scraped into the final eight on a superior run-rate over Ireland, have made two changes.Chris Gayle, who had been doubtful because of a back injury, has been cleared to return with left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn in for Kemar Roach.Johnson Charles kept his place after hitting a half century against the UAE last weekend while opener Dwayne Smith was dropped.Lendl Simmons has been moved up the order to number three as a potential anchor if big hitting Gayle can produce his fireworks."Chris comes back in," said West Indies captain Jason Holder.Gayle, 35, scored the only double century in World Cup history with 215 against Zimbabwe in Canberra and is seen as crucial to the West Indies' chances of progressing into the last four.He missed the West Indies final pool match against the United Arab Emirates on Sunday and only resumed training on Friday, two days after receiving an injection in his troublesome back.While Gayle's double ton was a standout, his form has been mixed throughout the tournament, with returns of three, four, 21 and 36 in his other innings.He certainly had no problems with his power on Friday when, during a gentle pre-match training session at Wellington's Basin Reserve, he demolished a section of a white picket fence."I'm hitting it sweet, man," the big, left-handed Jamaican told a New Zealand TV crew.TeamsNew Zealand: Brendon McCullum (captain), Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Grant Elliott, Corey Anderson, Luke Ronchi (wkt), Daniel Vettori, Adam Milne, Tim Southee, Trent BoultWest Indies: Jason Holder (capt), Chris Gayle, Johnson Charles, Marlon Samuels, Jonathan Carter, Lendl Simmons, Denesh Ramdin, Darren Sammy, Andre Russell, Jerome Taylor, Sulieman BennUmpires: Richard Kettleborough (ENG), Bruce Oxenford (AUS)TV Umpire: Rod Tucker (AUS)Match referee: Chris Broad (ENG)Weather: Fine with northerly breezes, becoming cloudy late in the day. Maximum temperature of 19 Celsius.Pitch: Westpac Stadium's drop-in pitch supports swing, as Tim Southee's 7-33 against England showed. New Zealand coach Mike Hesson says it has "unusual" bounce, which might disconcert the West Indies. There have only ever been eight 300-plus ODI scores at the venue, two at this tournament.Join the conversation about this story
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