Best, Narine usher WI to series win
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – Purposeful bowling from Tino Best and Sunil Narine upstaged Ross Taylor’s sixth One-day International hundred of 110 to earn West Indies a series-clinching, 24-run victory over New Zealand in a tense finish to the fourth Digicel ODI on Saturday here.
Livewire fast bowler Best snared four wickets for 46 runs from his allotment of 10 overs and off-spinner Narine supported with two for 20 from 10 overs to earn the Man-of-the-Match award, as the New Zealanders, chasing 265 for victory from their allocation of 50 overs, failed to cross the finish line on a docile Warner Park pitch under partly cloudy skies.
Best recovered from a shaky start to produce some superb “death bowling” and Narine continued to bamboozle the Black Caps batsmen, although Taylor, the New Zealand captain, propped up his side’s batting with an innings that contained six fours and five sixes from 115 balls.
The result was formalised with three deliveries remaining, when West Indies wicketkeeper Devon Thomas ran out Tim Southee for three, after a mix-up with tail-ender Trent Boult.
This meant West Indies took an unbeatable 3-1 lead in the five-match Digicel Series, which concludes on Monday at this same venue. It was their first ODI series victory over a Test-playing side other than Bangladesh and Zimbabwe in four years.
West Indies had a nine-wicket victory under the Duckworth-Lewis Method in the first Digicel ODI two Thursdays ago at Sabina Park in Jamaica, where they also won the second Digicel ODI by 55 runs last Saturday before losing the third Digicel ODI by 88 runs three days ago here.
Kieron Pollard had led a West Indies batting revival, enhancing their bid for victory, when they slumped to 105 for five in the 27th over, after choosing to bat.
The beefy Pollard collected five fours and one six in 56 from 70 balls in a controlled innings, as West Indies were dismissed for 264 in 49.5 overs.
Pollard reached his 50 from 63 balls, when he drilled an over-pitched delivery from Tim Southee through extra cover for his final boundary in the 40th over.
He shared 46 for the fifth wicket with Marlon Samuels, but he crucially added 85 for the sixth wicket with Thomas that resurrected West Indies from their mid-innings crisis.
Samuels continued his rich vein of form with 46, wicketkeeper/batsman Thomas made 37, Andre Russell got 29 and West Indies captain Darren Sammy added 26.
Best then struck with the final delivery of the first over, when he beat Martin Guptill for pace and had him lbw for a duck, playing back and across.
West Indies were put on the back-foot however, when opener Rob Nicol played with enterprise to score 35 before three wickets in the space of 45 deliveries undermined the New Zealand top order.
Andre Russell had Brendan McCullum caught at short mid-wicket for 10 in the eighth over, Sammy had Nicol caught at deep mid-wicket in the 11th over, and Narine trapped Kane Williamson lbw for three in the 14th over, leaving New Zealand 75 for four.
West Indies ran into a defiant stand of 71 for the fifth wicket between Taylor, playing his first match of the ODI series after recovering a shoulder injury he sustained in the first Twenty20 International between the two sides three weekends ago in the United States, and Tom Latham.
Marlon Samuels changed the course of the match, when he had Latham caught behind for 32, delaying the Blacks Caps use of the Batting Power Play, as New Zealand sunk to 146 for five in the 34th over.
Best produced two decisive strikes in the closing overs to tighten West Indies grip, when he had Nathan McCullum caught at backward point for 11 in the 39th over and bowled Oram for six in the 45th over, following his stand of 49 for the seventh wicket with Taylor.
A delivery from Narine was cut to short third man to carry Taylor to his milestone from 108 balls, but Best ensured he would not script his version of the great escape, when the New Zealand captain skied a full toss and was caught at backward point in the penultimate over.
Earlier, West Indies ran into early trouble after rain delayed the start by 15 minutes, when opener Johnson Charles was caught at mid-off for one, driving on the up in the fifth over, before two wickets to Southee in the space of six balls in the seventh over, left West Indies wobbling on 20 for three.
Chris Gayle was lbw to Southee for 16, playing across a good delivery, and Dwayne Smith was caught at first slip for a five-ball duck, playing defensively forward to the same bowler.
Dwayne Bravo came to the crease and was fortunate on 14, when he played defensively forward to Oram and edged to Taylor, who put down a straightforward chance.
Bravo however, failed to make the most of the chance and was caught at deep mid-on for 18, when he mistimed a lofted drive off Oram in the 18th over, just when it appeared West Indies were clawing their way out of the hole.
Samuels continued the salvage operation with Pollard, taking West Indies past the 100-run threshold before he was lbw, playing back and across to off-spinner Nathan McCullum, bowling around the wicket, in the 27th over.
Thomas, playing his first match of the series, following Denesh Ramdin’s return home to Trinidad & Tobago for his wedding, stroked the ball with crisp assurance and was the perfect foil for the unusually sedate Pollard.
They put West Indies back on track before Thomas was caught at cover off Nicol’s modest, part-time off-spin, essaying an uppish drive in the 41st over.
Pollard reached his 50 before he was caught at cover, when he miscued a pull at a short ball from Oram in the 42nd over, leaving the bowlers to add more beef to the total.
Oram ended with three wickets for 42 runs from 10 overs and Southee finished with three for 53 from 9.5 overs.
West Indies made two changes, bringing Thomas and Tino Best in to Ramdin and fast bowler Ravi Rampaul respectively.
New Zealand were bolstered by the return of regular captain Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum and Doug Bracewell in place of Daniel Flynn, B.J. Watling and Kyle Mills.
West Indies lead the five-match series 2-1,
WEST INDIES (maximum 50 overs)
J. Charles c Williamson b Bracewell 1
C. Gayle lbw b Southee 16
D.R. Smith c *Taylor b Southee 0
M. Samuels lbw b N. McCullum 46
D.J. Bravo c Boult b Oram 18
K. Pollard c B. McCullum b Oram 56
+D. Thomas c Taylor b Nicol 37
*D. Sammy c Guptill b Boult 26
A. Russell c Guptill b Oram 29
S. Narine not out 6
T. Best b Southee 3
Extras (lb5, w20, nb1) 26
TOTAL (all out) 264
Fall of wickets: 1-17 (Charles, 4.5 overs); 2-19 (Gayle, 6.1); 3-20 (Smith, 6.6); 4-59 (Bravo, 17.1); 5-105 (Samuels, 26.6); 6-190 (+Thomas, 40.4); 7-202 (Pollard, 42.5); 8-234 (*Sammy, 46.4); 9-258(Russell, 48.4)
Bowling: Bracewell 10-2-58-1 (w1); Boult 10-2-47-1 (w5); Southee 9.5-1-53-3 (nb1, w1); Oram 10-1-42-3 (w3); N. McCullum 4-0-34-1 (w9); Nicol 6-1-25-1 (w1)
NEW ZEALAND (target: 265 off 50 overs)
R. Nicol c Bravo b *Sammy 35
M. Guptill lbw b Best 0
B. McCullum c *Sammy b Russell 10
*R. Taylor c *Sammy b Best 110
K. Williamson lbw b Narine 3
+T. Latham c wkpr Thomas b Samuels 32
N. McCullum c *Sammy b Best 11
J. Oram b Best 6
D. Bracewell c Pollard b Narine 5
T. Southee run out (+Thomas) 3
T. Boult not out 1
Extras (b5, lb10, w8, nb1) 24
TOTAL (all out) 240
Fall of wickets: 1-8 (Guptill, 0.6 overs); 2-50 (B. McCullum, 7.2); 3-63 (Nicol, 10.3); 4-75 (Williamson, 13.4); 5-146 (+Latham, 33.4); 6-170 (N. McCullum, 38.5); 7-219 (Oram, 44.5); 8-234 (Bracewell, 47.1); 9-237 (*Taylor, 48.2)
Bowling: Best 10-1-46-4 (w5); Russell 6-0-49-1 (w1); *Sammy 10-1-41-1 (nb1); Narine 10-1-20-2 (w1); Samuels 10-0-50-1; Bravo 3.3-0-19-1 (w1)
Result: West Indies won by 24 runs (3 balls remaining)
Series: West Indies lead five-match series 3-1
Toss: West Indies
Man-of-the-Match: S. Narine (West Indies)
Umpires: R. Illingworth (England), P. Nero (West Indies)
TV umpire: R. Kettleborough (England)
Match referee: A. Pycroft (Zimbabwe)
Reserve umpire: J. Wilson (West Indies)