LAUDERHILL (Reuters) - Chris Gayle treated the locals to a thrilling show of hitting as the West Indies defeated an injury-hit New Zealand by 56 runs in the first of two Twenty20 Internationals in Lauderhill, Florida on Saturday.
It was the perfect display of aggression for the curious crowd, reintroducing them to the shortest form of the game as opposed to the traditional one and five-day versions. New Zealand played Sri Lanka in the area in 2010 but with a strong West Indies following in the region, the crowd was noticeably larger.
Cricket Holdings America - a joint venture between the USA Cricket Association and New Zealand Cricket - is aiming to use the Central Broward Regional Park to launch an expansion team for its proposed Twenty20 league slated to start next year.
A strong level of support from cricket fans residing in the area is needed to prove it can sustain a team in such a league and organisers are hoping for an even larger turn out in Sunday's rematch. New Zealand could only manage 153 in reply with injuries hindering their cause. Left-arm spinner Ronnie Hira was unable to finish the match after dislocating a finger during his third over when he dropped a sharp return chance from Gayle.
Ross Taylor also damaged his shoulder in the outfield while dropping another catch and was forced to retire hurt later while batting and Jacob Oram battled on despite obvious knee discomfort.
Opener Rob Nicol top-scored for the Black Caps with 32 from 31 deliveries but off-spinner Sunil Narine claimed 3-34 from his four overs to dent the chase.
D Smith b Bracewell 17
C Gayle not out 85
J Charles c Oram b Williamson 24
K Pollard not out 63
EXTRAS: (b1, lb3, w13, nb3) 20
TOTAL: (2 wkts, 20 overs) 209
FOW: 1-27, 2-101
BOWLING: N McCullum 4-0-30-0, D Bracewell 4-0-47-1, T Southee 4-0-35-0, J Oram 2-0-26-0, R Hira 2.2-0-22-0, K Williamson 1.4-0-21-1, R Nicol 2-0-24-0
R Nicol c Edwards b Bravo 32
M Guptil st Ramdin b Narine 11
L Taylor retired hurt 10
K Williamson c & b Sammy 10
T Southee st Ramdin b Narine 23
T Latham run out 15
J Oram not ou 27
D Brownlie run out 0
N McCullum lbw b Narine 0
D Bracewell not out 11
R Hira absent hurt -
EXTRAS: (lb8, w6) 14
TOTAL: (8 wkts, 18.3 overs) 153
FOW: 1-38, 1-51*, 2-72, 3-84, 4-114, 5-115, 6-116, 7-124, 8-153
BOWLING: F Edwards 3.3-0-25-1, S Badree 4-0-33-0, S Narine 4-0-34-3, M Samuels 2-0-14-0, D Sammy 2-0-13-1, D Bravo 3-0-26-1