NZ v WI, Super Eights, World Twenty20, Pallekele October 1, 2012

Narine's best keeps West Indies alive


Sunil Narine had a wonderful night. He tied up New Zealand late in the innings, just as he had in a one-day series in the Caribbean a few months earlier, and along with his fellow spinner, Samuel Badree, bowled eight overs for 38 runs to enable West Indies - with a little help from a Super Over - to defend 139.

Narine's wickets told of his distinctive talent; his figures of 3 for 20 reflecting his best display of the tournament. Two left-hand batsmen, James Franklin and Jacob Oram, fell to carrom balls: Franklin poked at one to be caught at slip, Oram was fooled by another that came back to trap him lbw. There was a third wicket, too, as Narine held his nerve in the penultimate over to have Nathan McCullum caught on the slog sweep.

His captain, Darren Sammy, was delighted with his young spinner. "We played New Zealand at home and the last three games we won when it went down to the wire and Narine played a very important part in the latter overs. That's why I used him in that manner - overs 17 and 19 - and he got two wickets in that period for very few runs. That was a key moment for us. It was a much better bowling display for us."

All in all it was a good night then, duly recognised with the Man-of-the-Match award, but Narine should also remember one careless moment that almost cost West Indies the match. His inexplicable fumble of a trundler at short fine leg in the final over of New Zealand's innings not only gifted an extra run but it kept Ross Taylor on strike.

New Zealand needed 14, 13 to tie, off Marlon Samuels' final over and when Narine misfielded, the balance shifted. Neither West Indies spinner fielded well and such largesse cannot easily be survived.

Samuels had been charged with bowling that final over after a lengthy consultation involving five West Indies players. He was chosen over Andre Russell, who has not had a good tournament, but Sammy could have bowled Chris Gayle or Kieron Pollard, too. Samuels was to bowl in the Super Over, too, an even greater surprise considering that the entire attack was available. He seems to bowl final overs or not at all, a curious speciality act.

Super Overs are surely designed for West Indies batsmen. Gayle struck a six off the first ball, a wide half-volley that was also a no-ball; Samuels finished it off with another six with one ball unused. Tim Southee's intentions were sound - not only to bowl yorkers but, to Gayle at least, to bowl them wide of off-stump to escape his preferred hitting arc, but his execution was lacking. It can't be easy to bowl yorkers in a Super Over with Gayle, muscular and threatening, stood at the other end.

Gayle had played with formidable insouciance, as is his style, in the match proper, in making 31 from 14 balls, but at Super Over time, even he looked driven, almost tense, as he jogged up the dressing room steps to pad up. With his piratical bandana, he resembles Captain Jack's more muscular brother.

"Eighteen runs with Chris batting, it is always possible," Sammy said. "We back Chris to clear the boundary. Six runs off a no ball was just a perfect start. When games get so tight the true West Indies celebrations come out. We can really dance. We have no difficulty doing that."

West Indies' victory had seemed unlikely when they made only 139, which Sammy conceded was well below the 160 he had regarded as a likely ambition. Their balance again seemed awry. They again omitted three batsmen- Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith and Dwayne Bravo - and this time experimented with Russell at No 3. It was a bit late in the day for experiments and it did not come off, as he picked out short fine leg when he had made only 6.

Not for the first time, the belief that if you silence Gayle you silence West Indies was disturbingly close to the truth. Gayle made 30 from 13 balls before he pushed cautiously at one that left him from Tim Southee and was caught at the wicket.

Southee had silenced him once, but he was unable to silence him a second time. It was easy to sympathise.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Kemmy on October 3, 2012, 20:20 GMT

    @ Tim Campbell. If the points for a tied match were shared as you suggested [1 point each] New Zealand would only have had 2 points so would not have made it to the Semis as Sri Lanka would have 5 points and West Indies 3. So no matter how you look at it Sri Lanka and West Indies would be the teams going through to the Semi Finals. Well played to Zew Zealand though as they showed once again that they are a force to reckon with.

  • Robin on October 3, 2012, 9:41 GMT

    Just wanted to elaborate on Adonijah Alleyne's comments about Ramdin. For a while now i was thinking that Lendl Simmons should focus more on his keeping because he only appears to be a fringe player as a batsman. If his keeping improved then he could push for a place in the side because i'm not convinced with Ramdin's allround performance. Don't get me wrong he's the best gloveman in the Caribbean, but his batting should be better for the ability that he has. When you make comparisions with the other keepers in world cricket, Ramdin has under-achieved the most, with the bat. Both Lendl Simmons and Andre Fletcher should take note and work more on their wicket-keeping skills, if they want to get back in favour with the selectors. The semis against Oz?..we have a shot if we're batting second, we have to play both spinners and try to get Watson, Warner and Hussey out, before they get their eye in.

  • Dummy4 on October 3, 2012, 2:26 GMT

    Lendl Simmons should replace Ramdin, Dwayne Smith for Darren Bravo and Dwayne Bravo for Russell.

  • Dummy4 on October 2, 2012, 23:58 GMT

    @Tim Campbell. Sir all teams were aware of the competition rules before the tournament started. I humbly suggest that any team unhappy with the rules should not have entered as a form of protest. You can't complain about the rules after you are eliminated.

  • Dummy4 on October 2, 2012, 11:10 GMT

    I found it peculiar that Narine wasn't chosen to bowl the SuperOver. He is our most difficult and economical bowler, when he gets it right. But maybe the pressure of the situation might've been too much for the young man, who is still relatively inexperienced at International level. Still plenty of room for improvement by the Windies and even despite the other group places haven't been completed, it looks as though the Windies could be facing Australia again in the Semis. The balance of the team is still unconvincing, but this would be my 11. Charles, Gayle, Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, Pollard, Russell, Sammy, Ramdin, Rampaul, Narine, Badree.

  • Abhi on October 2, 2012, 9:20 GMT

    i also think a tie should be awarded 1 point.. no need for superover unless its a knockout match such as semi final or final..

    but as sumone suggested couple of posts back still NZ wouldnt have gone through.. they would have ended up on 2 points and windies on 3...

  • Douglas on October 2, 2012, 2:55 GMT

    Get real people. West Indies were 1 run away from being Waste Indies.

  • sandesh on October 2, 2012, 1:55 GMT

    well done mr. narine.

    PLEASE DROP DARREN BRAVO, RAMDIN (wicket keeper) for upcomming matches if you really want to grab the trophy.

    we could not see these fellow doing any thing in T20 match. I always fear RAMDIN to score double figure. Please replace him.

  • Michael on October 2, 2012, 1:12 GMT

    Why was Darren Bravo included ? this man was DROPPED from the one day squad earlier this year due to POOR after a long lay off, and no meaningfull practice,he is back in the one day fold,...and fails AGAIN ! Russell's record in T20 cricket is poor, so is Pollards'....Dwayne Smiths' is slightly better,yet he is on the bench.It is time to get rid of Ramdin FOR GOOD after this World Cup...a dropped catch,a miss stump in the last match,..and now 1 run....I know Viv IS talking now,...and LAUGHING TOO !

  • Dummy4 on October 2, 2012, 0:41 GMT

    Super overs are dumb. They don't allow for a team effort at all, just one individual. In the SL/NZ super over Malinga (arguably best death bowler) bowled and in NZ/WI match Chris Gayle bats. Sure NZ has McCullum and Taylor but it still doesn't seem a fair contest at all. What's wrong with a draw? If both teams got half a win then NZ would be in the semis as they should be. As it is the 2 teams that NZ tied with go through to the semis and the one team that beat NZ doesn't go through. There's something wrong with the system.

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