South Africa v West Indies, 4th ODI, Port Elizabeth January 25, 2015

Russell delivers win worth toasting

Andre Russell played an innings to saviour for the West Indies © AFP

Andre Russell toasted his match-winning innings with his first beer for a month, deservedly so after making 64 in 40 balls to see West Indies home in a thrilling one-wicket victory that finally got his side on the board in this series after three heavy defeats.

West Indian cricketers would be sober men indeed if they waited for ODI victories before having a drink but they finally had a performance to open a bottle to in Port Elizabeth, with Russell providing the coup de grace.

Arriving at the crease with 97 needed from 83 balls, Russell smashed five fours and five sixes to chase down 263 with nine balls to spare.

"This is something special," Russell said. "I haven't had a beer in like a month now and I am going to have a beer tonight. Everyone played from ball one today. It's very important for us. Every win is something special in international cricket. And everyone was expecting us to keep losing and South Africa to turn up in all five games and win, so this is very good."

Russell's biggest obstacle appeared to be a lack of partners. Wickets fell at the other end and it appeared Russell was going to be denied the chance to deliver the win. Jason Holder chipped a catch to midwicket when looking comfortable and Carlos Brathwaite was run out trying to get Russell back on strike.

"I was always confident," Russell said. "I know that when I bring it right down to the wire I can get over the line because I back myself to get 15 even off the last over. Whoever I was batting with, I said no matter the dot balls, don't worry. Every over we were getting a boundary, so that was making up for the dot balls."

Russell would also have been denied were it not for DRS. He was given out caught behind off Wayne Parnell when on 40 but was grateful that West Indies still had their review, immediately asking for the DRS and was reprieved.

"Honestly speaking, when the umpire gave me out I got goosebumps because I was thinking about winning the game. We were just close to winning and going into the next game with some confidence. When I turned around and saw the finger, I didn't even refer it properly. I just knew I didn't hit it.

"I was worried because the way everything happened and in the excitement, unless they heared something else, I knew I didn't touch it. I knew sometimes with these technologies, like Hawk Eye, you see the ball bouncing and I was worried about Snicko showing something."

The chance for Russell to complete the win would not have happened without a fine rebuilding effort by Marlon Samules, who made a measured half-century, and Darren Sammy. Russell expressed his appreciation for their efforts in a stand of 93 for the sixth wicket and the way the tail clung on for him.

"I am going to give Marlon and Darren a big hug for the way they set the game up. And even the small innings at the end: Brathwaite and Jason, they applied themselves and hit a few boundaries and took the pressure off me. Even Cottrell, giving me that single that was very good."

Russell delivered Jason Holder's first victory as West Indies ODI captain. "I was worried when it was down to the last pair but knowing the expertise of Russell, I was hoping he would finish it off," Holder said. "We knew it from the start, we always have the ability to win cricket games but it was about playing the complete game. It was good to get across the line; it does a lot for our morale

"It's been a tough tour so far. We've lost the series but its about salvaging some pride. I was pleased to see the way the guys came out and won this game today."

Alex Winter is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo He tweets here

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