'The wickets in hand paid off' - Sarwan
West Indies batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan has said he was confident of the team's chances in the second ODI against New Zealand in Christchurch, even after coming under severe pressure towards the end of the chase.
"We felt one big over could bring us back into the game and would do it for us," he said. "That's what we were counting on. That was part of our target and we got that big over to bring us back into the game."
West Indies took a 1-0 lead in the five-match series with a five-wicket win - the first was abandoned due to rain - with Sarwan adjudged the Man of the Match for his unbeaten 67 off 65 balls. He was supported by the captain, Chris Gayle, and Denesh Ramdin during West Indies' reply in the match, which was reduced to 28 overs a side due to rain.
"I was not getting frustrated. In the middle overs I was just trying to score as many singles as possible and rotate the strike," he said. "I thought all along that the key would be to have wickets in hand and that gave us the chance to launch. As you saw there at the end, the wickets in hand paid off."
Sarwan hit the winning run off the penultimate ball of the innings, after Denesh Ramdin's breezy 28 had taken the visitors to the brink. Ramdin kept a cool head under pressure and put on a crucial 48-run partnership for the sixth wicket with Sarwan that helped seal the win.
Ramdin was singled out for praise by Sarwan, who had earlier rallied the team ahead of the game and had called on the young guns to fire. "This innings is really going to give him a lot of confidence," said Sarwan. "He was under a bit of pressure but tonight he really played well. He took control, played freely and took the pressure off of me. He was the right man at the right time."
Earlier, the West Indies bowlers did well with new-ball operator Fidel Edwards and Jerome Taylor keeping New Zealand in check. Left-arm spinner Nikita Miller, who had his first bowl on tour, also impressed, picking up 2 for 26.
"The bowlers did the job for us up front. They were aggressive when they needed to be and worked well as a bowling unit to put the New Zealand batsmen under pressure. This will give us momentum for the rest of the series," Sarwan said.
The third match will be played at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Wednesday.