Sunil Narine saved his best for last as he and his West Indies team-mates finished off the Digicel One-Day International Series with another impressive display.
The slow bowler produced a magical spell which bamboozled New Zealand as West Indies won the fifth and final Digicel ODI by 20 runs. It handed the home team a comprehensive 4-1 result in the five-match series, much to the delight of the colourful and supportive Monday crowd.
Narine took a career-best five wickets for 27 runs off 10 overs – all-time best figures by a West Indian against New Zealand and the best ever at Warner Park. He almost single-handedly bowled out New Zealand for 221 and deservedly won the Digicel Man-of-the-Match trophy. He ended the five-match series with 13 wickets at a superb average of just 11.23 runs per wicket at an economy rate of a mere 2.92 runs per over and was the winner of the Digicel Man-of-the-Series award.
“This is my first ODI series win for the West Indies and I’m happy it came at home in front the home supporters ... It felt really good that they could celebrate with us. Today, I felt calm and relaxed running in to bowl. The ball came out nicely and I felt in control. Again today, the batsmen did a fantastic job to provide us with a score to bowl at. Bravo held the innings together and at the end Russell played the big shots,” the Windies Number 74 said.
“I always set out to look for wickets and today I got five so that’s very pleasing for me. It sort of put the icing on the cake. We went into the match leading the series 3-1 and we didn’t want to give anything away. As I said before, 4-1 looks much better that 3-2 and today we proved that.”
Narine said he had a discussion with Head Coach Ottis Gibson and it proved fruitful. He decided to change his line of attack by bowling from around the wicket and that put more doubt in the minds of the New Zealand batsmen.
“I spoke to the coach and we looked at a few new ideas about how to attack the batsmen. He suggested that I could look at some more variety and I went into the nets and worked hard at how I could come from around the wicket and look to get the ball to ‘pitch on’. As you saw today, it worked wonders as I got wickets from around the wicket ... that’s something I will definitely work on in the coming weeks,” the 24-year-old said.
In just a short period on the international stage, Narine has developed a reputation as a match-winner. He made his ODI debut for West Indies late last year in India and has so far taken 28 wickets in 15 matches at 18.82 runs apiece.
“I love playing cricket. I want to come out every day and look to get better than I was the day before. I look forward to putting on my clothes and facing the challenge. It feels good when you have that confidence and can face each day, each challenge with a positive frame of mind,” he said.
“All I basically think about is how I can get better and what more I can do to help the team win. You have to set yourself goals and you have to set a certain standard. You have to look at the team goals and the team plans and play to suit. That’s my aim in cricket, to get better and to contribute to more victories for the team.”