Windies warning

Shai Hope struck another classy hundred, while Andre Russell and Evin Lewis lashed half-centuries as West Indies flexed their muscles to brush aside New Zealand by 91 runs in their final official warm-up match, and find precious momentum ahead of their World Cup opener against Pakistan on Friday.

Sent in at Bristol County Ground on Tuesday, West Indies amassed a mammoth 421 off 49.2 overs, with Hope stroking a better-than-run-a-ball 101, Russell blasting a 25-ball 54 and Lewis gathering exactly 50 off 54, balls at the top of the order.

There were several cameos along the way as captain Jason Holder smashed 47 from 32 balls, veteran Chris Gayle carved out 36 from 22 deliveries, while rookie Shimron Hetmyer gathered 27 from 24 balls.

For West Indies the performance was much needed, especially after their batsmen never quite got going in an unofficial warm-up against Australia in Southampton last week, and rain then allowed just 76 balls in their first official warm-up against South Africa last Sunday.

Though the warm-up matches are not accorded ODI status by the ICC, the total surpassed the Windies ODI best of 389 made against England earlier this year in the Caribbean.

In reply, New Zealand perished for 330 in the 48th over but got a magnificent counter-attacking 106 off 89 balls from wicketkeeper Tom Blundell. Captain Kane Williamson stroked 85 from 64 deliveries but the target was always well beyond the Black Caps, especially after they found themselves stumbling at 33 for three in the 10th over.

Seamer Carlos Brathwaite proved expensive but was the best bowler with three for 75 from his nine overs, while left-arm spinner Fabian Allen supported with two for 47.

West Indies were propelled early by Gayle who inspired a 59-run opening stand off 44 balls with Lewis.

The veteran left-hander looked imperious in belting four fours and three sixes in his first innings since arriving in England, before chipping left-arm seamer Trent Boult (4-50) to mid-off in the eighth over.

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