Kingston: It might be a case of stating the bleeding obvious, but the New Zealand allrounder Nathan McCullum knows there is one simple way his side can get back into the series against West Indies. Get Chris Gayle out cheaply. Perhaps "simple" is the wrong word, for Gayle has demolished New Zealand in all four matches on this tour so far, scoring 85 not out and 53 in the two Twenty20s, and 63 not out and 125 in the one-day internationals.
Gayle has had support from Dwayne Smith, Marlon Samuels and Kieron Pollard, but none of them have terrorised New Zealand with the same consistency as Gayle. In the third ODI in St Kitts on Wednesday, Gayle has the chance to score his fifth consecutive fifty-plus score for West Indies across all formats, something he has never before achieved, and if he manages it West Indies will be well on the way to taking an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the one-day internationals.
"At the end of the day we've just got to get him out. We've got some plans in place that we're pretty sure are going to work," McCullum told reporters in St Kitts. "Let's hope they do, but we're determined to take his wicket and get them under pressure at the top of the order.
"We've just got to win. We've got to be determined to win and find any way possible. We've got to take more wickets, burn through their top order and see what their bottom order has got under pressure, and if we bat first we've got to score hundreds and put big partnerships and big runs on the board."
That part of the equation will become a little easier if Brendon McCullum, who was initially rested for the limited-overs games but is being flown in early due to injuries in the squad, joins the side for the third ODI. However, the New Zealand coach John Wright said it remained to be seen whether McCullum, who arrives in St Kitts less than 24 hours before the start of Wednesday's game, would be considered.
"We'll see how he feels," Wright told New Zealand reporters. "It's a long journey, but that may be a little bit tight."
The left-arm fast bowler Trent Boult could come into contention to make his ODI debut on Wednesday as New Zealand search for a way to bolster an attack that has taken only six wickets in the first two matches. The West Indies captain Darren Sammy said his focus was simply to secure the series win as soon as possible, which would end a four-year drought in which West Indies have not won an ODI series against anyone but Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and the ICC associates.
"Since we started off the series in Florida we've been playing some really good cricket," Sammy said. "It's good to see that we've been consistently good in whatever we've been doing. We're just looking to continue again. Wednesday will be a chance to clinch the series, so we're looking to do that."