Fort Lauderdale, Florida – Sunil Narine shone brighter than the Sunday sun in south Florida as he produced a magical bowling spell to pilot West Indies to a huge win in the second Digicel T20 International.
The off-spinner dismissed New Zealand with four wickets in four overs as Windies won the match by 62 runs and the series 2-0 as the home side enjoyed a successful weekend at the Central Broward Regional Park.
Narine earned the Man-of-the-Match award with an impressive spell of 4-12 – the third best figures by a West Indian in a T20 International. He ended the series with seven wickets for 46 runs. Sunday’s heroics bettered the 3-34 he took in the opening match on Saturday and gave the more than 15,000 West Indies supporters lots to cheer about.
The merriment started earlier in the day when Chris Gayle smashed 53 off 39 balls to follow up his 85 not out on Saturday. The 32-year-old was named Man-of-the-Series. Late in the innings, Dwayne Bravo brought the fans to their feet with four sixes off 11 balls as he ended 35 not out as the Windies posted 177-5. Narine’s magic gave New Zealand little chance and they folded for 116 off 18.4 overs.
“I have to say it was a great effort by everyone in the team and I really enjoyed bowling today. It was a very good weekend for us in the team and the fans in the stands as well. In both matches the batsmen put up good scores and gave me runs to bowl at, so I knew the onus was on me to get the ball in the right areas and once I did that the ball would work for me,” Narine said after collecting his award.
“Coming out of England I knew I had to do something special for the team. It’s good to be back home. The wicket suited my style of bowling. My strategy was to go out and do what I’m accustomed – that is to go out and get wickets for the West Indies. I felt I did my job quite well today and everyone is happy with the outcome.”
After Saturday, Narine felt he did not bowl as well as he could, even though he got three wickets. He spoke to several team-mates and decided the best strategy was to slow down his pace a bit on Sunday and “let the ball work”.
“I was happy with my three wickets but I felt I went for too many runs – I went at over eight runs an over. Having said that, it was a good pitch for batting and they were chasing over ten runs an over, so I knew they would come hard at me. Ideally, I would look to go at under seven per over in those circumstances, so I made sure I got it right today (Sunday),” he said.
“We are on the right track with these two wins here in America. We set a good tone with these two wins and the batsmen batted really well. The way Gayle and (Kieron) Pollard batted on Saturday was really good and made it a bit easy for the bowlers yesterday. Today we played well again with the bat and the bowlers followed up again,” the 24-year-old added.
“We were hyped coming over here. We won by pretty big margins, but whether we win by 60 runs or 10 runs it doesn’t make much of a difference – a win is a win and we got the results we wanted.”
The two teams will travelled to Jamaica on Monday for the start of the Digicel One-Day Series. The opening ODI is on Thursday at Sabina Park.