Carlos Brathwaite struck a maiden international hundred but perished in the penultimate over as West Indies suffered an agonising five-run defeat to New Zealand here Saturday to all but end their hopes of progressing any further in the ICC World Cup.
Chasing 292 for victory at Old Trafford, West Indies were on the ropes at 167 for seven in the 27th over before Brathwaite arrived to pummel a quite astonishing 101 off 82 deliveries and make the Caribbean side believe again.
Crucially, he put on 47 for the eighth wicket with Kemar Roach (14), a further 34 for the ninth wicket with Sheldon Cottrell (15) and 41 for the final wicket with Oshane Thomas who failed to score.
The pivotal moment of the late stages came, however, when Brathwaite thrashed 25 runs from the 48th over from seamer Matt Henry – including three sixes – which left West Indies with just eight runs to get from the last two overs.
Seamer Jimmy Neesham then produced a superb penultimate over which saw Brathwaite manage to scrape two runs off the fourth delivery to reach three figures.
With six needed for victory, Brathwaite attempted to clear long on but found Trent Boult on the ropes instead, crushing West Indies’ hopes of a much needed win.
Opener Chris Gayle had earlier smashed 87 off 84 balls while fellow left-hander Shimron Hetmyer stroked 54 from 45 deliveries, to lead the Windies run chase.
They put on 122 for the third wicket to pull West Indies out of trouble at 20 for two in the seventh over, and put the game firmly in their side’s favour.
However, both fell in a devastating period for West Indies which saw five wickets tumble for 22 runs in the space of 29 balls.
Hetmyer was bowled by fast bowler Lockie Ferguson at the start of the 23rd over, missing a pull at slower ball, and captain Jason Holder fell to a first-ball duck caught at the wicket off the very next delivery.
Gayle then needlessly holed out in the deep off seamer Colin de Grandhomme at the end of the 24th over, as the wheels came off the innings.
Left-arm seamer Boult was the best bowler with four for 30 while Ferguson finished with three for 59.