Cricket news - When the bowlers are on top, need to try something - Pollard

"For me, when the bowlers have their tails up, you have to try something as a batter" - Pollard

"For me, when the bowlers have their tails up, you have to try something as a batter" - Pollard

"Didn't face him. Smart boy," said Kieron Pollard with a wry smile after the first T20I against New Zealand. The West Indies skipper was referring to the bowling of Lockie Ferguson, who was in the midst of his best T20I spell on Friday (November 27).

From 58 for 0, West Indies lost five wickets for the addition of a solitary run, with Ferguson having bagged three of those. But Pollard, who got to face only two deliveries from the paceman, launched a counter-offensive, one that lasted for 37 deliveries and yielded 75 runs - including eight maximums and four fours.

"For me, when the bowlers have their tails up, you have to try something as a batter," Pollard said about his knock. "Sometimes you just have to make one mistake. The rain and the nature of the pitch sort of helped us, with the ball coming through. The opening bowlers were a bit short. But he (Ferguson) changed his length and bowled a bit fuller, and that's why he was successful. Again, a daunting task, but these are the situations you train for as individuals, when your team is in trouble you try to get them out."

Even though Ferguson registered his best T20I figures of 5 for 21, Pollard's belligerence with the bat helped his side finish with a total of 180 in a game reduced to 16 overs on a stop-start day.

"When you face these guys - especially Kieron, who has been very successful - over the last few months, winning every competition there is, you're under the pump [and at] Eden Park [the margin for error] gets even smaller," said Ferguson after the game. "I thought we bowled a couple of yorkers that only missed by a little bit and they went a long way into the boundary. Once again, we have to look at our plans and execute them better going forward. That's pretty cliche in T20 cricket.

"You have good days and you have bad. If we continue to improve, we'll be better for it. But you've got to tip your hat when a guy plays an innings like that, especially after we got quick wickets but he settled himself and had a quick burst in the end," said Ferguson.

But the explosive batting from the West Indies skipper was matched by New Zealand's collective show with the bat - with Devon Conway, Glenn Phillips, James Neesham and Mitchell Santner all contributing - as they took a lead in the T20I series with a 5-wicket victory with four deliveries to spare in the opening game at Eden Park.

New Zealand too were in a spot, having lost Ross Taylor to be four down with 63 runs on the board. But Neesham forged productive partnerships with Conway and Santner as they cashed in on some wayward bowling from West Indies to get over the line. Apart from their erring line and length, West Indies were also guilty of bowling too many no-balls.

Keemo Paul bowled the most - five out of the total six no-balls in the innings. Four of those came in a single over from Paul, who overstepped once and bowled three high full-tosses in the 14th over. Before the over, New Zealand were 29 away from a revised target of 176 and the 10-ball over from Paul only made things easier for the hosts.

"In terms of our disciplines, in the bowling aspect, I thought we were a bit erratic. And in international cricket, if you bowl so many no-balls and if you're so inconsistent, you are definitely going to end up on the losing side. But it was an entertaining game of cricket for the fans and the general public, something they haven't got to see in a very long time," said Pollard.

The entertainment aspect that the game produced, along with playing in front of the crowd after a long time, was something Ferguson also sounded excited about.

"The Black Caps are a pretty tight bunch of mates and when anyone does well and wins the game for us, then of course we get around them. I think that's a big part of our culture. We try to drive that. Obviously pumped that Sants (Mitchell Santner) and Neesh (Jimmy Neesham) could get some runs and bat well at the end there. Certainly, we'll celebrate tonight. It was one of the craziest games I've ever been part of. I was in the changing room for our whole batting innings not sure what to do!"