Manchester: Skipper Kane Williamson rescued New Zealand with a career-best 148, his second consecutive century, steering his side to a competitive 291 for eight against West Indies after first-over setbacks in a World Cup match, here Saturday.
Williamson, who anchored his side's chase with an unbeaten 106 against South Africa in their previous match, yet again excelled under pressure as New Zealand were off to a disastrous start.
Negating a sluggish track and some testing initial fast bowling spells from the Caribbeans, Williamson batted with aplomb and in the process raised his 13th ODI hundred which came off 154 balls with the help of 14 fours and a six.
Asked to bat, New Zealand were in for a shock when left-arm pacer Sheldon Cottrell (4/56) sent back both the openers, Martin Guptill (0) and Colin Munro (0) in the first over of the match. Cottrell's swinging yorkers consumed both the batsmen, who were out for golden ducks.
The joy for the Caribbeans did not last long as Williamson and Ross Taylor (69 off 95 balls) dug their heels to raise a 160-run partnership, which steadied the Kiwi ship. Playing with extreme caution, Williamson and Taylor - the two seasoned Kiwi campaigners, built the innings bit by bit.
Mostly playing in the 'V' region, the first signs of aggression came when Williamson cut Oshane Thomas for a four. Team's fifty came in the 15th over with Taylor smashing a short one from Jason Holder. He later straight drove Thomas for a delicate boundary. Pacing the innings nicely, both the batsmen completed half-centuries in the 24th over, bowled by Kemar Roach.
- Press Trust of India