I bowled quick and I got wickets - Best
Two West Indies bowlers spearheaded the successful defence of 264 in the fourth ODI in St Kitts, allowing the home side to clinch the series with a game to spare. Tino Best was playing his first game of the series and bowled with buster, hitting nearly 150 kph and taking four wickets. Sunil Narine was parsimonious, slowing down New Zealand's run-rate, especially at the death, even though they had Ross Taylor batting on a hundred.
"I love this feeling ... winning feels good ... really, really good," Best said after the 24-run victory. "We were made to work hard for this win and I'm happy I played a crucial role in bowling the team to victory. I bowled quick and I got wickets. That's the job of a fast bowler."
Best struck in the first over, beating Martin Guptill with pace to trap the batsman lbw, but his initial three-over spell cost 23 runs. Rob Nicol hit him for two sixes, a streaky slash over third man and a clean strike over long-on.
"I went for a few [runs] in my opening spell and I knew I had to hit back second time around. I had a chat with captain Darren Sammy and he told me it's better to bowl the ball 'flat' side rather than look to hit the seam. I took his advice and it worked," Best said. "I was up on pace and I knew once I got the ball in the right areas I could make it quite difficult for the batsmen."
Best's second spell was more economical, and included a maiden over to the well-set Taylor. His third and fourth contained the wickets of Nathan McCullum, Jacob Oram and Taylor, which ended hopes of a New Zealand victory. In his last six overs, Best conceded no boundaries. His figures of 4 for 46 were the second best of his 14-ODI career, spread over eight years.
"I must say it was great the way the crowd got behind me and the team and urged us on," Best said. "They came here today expecting us to win and we gave them something to celebrate."
The Man-of-the-Match award, however, did not go to Best, but to Narine for his spell of 10-1-20-2. New Zealand had reached 61 for 2 before Narine was introduced in the 10th over. The effect was immediate. During his first spell, Narine dismissed Kane Williamson and dragged New Zealand back. By the end of his first six overs, Narine had figures of 1 for 8 and the visitors were 85 for 4 after 20.
"Normally, when I go onto the field I look at the scoreboard and see what is required of me," Narine said. "Sometimes it requires me to be attacking, other times I just have to keep the pressure on. Today I tried to keep my composure and build the pressure. We got wickets at key stages and the pressure mounted on them."
Narine's second and last spell was during the final ten overs, when Taylor was threatening to pull off a superb chase. When he came on in the 42nd over, New Zealand needed 76 with Taylor on 74 and Jacob Oram on 2. Narine conceded five in that over, and after Taylor took Andre Russell for 21 runs in the 43rd, Narine pulled it back again for West Indies by giving away only two in the 44th. Not even Taylor could score off Narine and the control he exerted in the final overs of the chase was a significant difference between the two attacks.
"We wanted to win on Wednesday and seal the series, but we ended on the wrong end, so it was very important that we rebounded today and finish off the job," Narine said. "There was a great deal of effort today. We had to dig deep to come up with this win, and that made it feel that much better. To win a series at home is special. Tino kept running in and I knew my job was to remain accurate and build the pressure on the batsmen.
"We don't want to stop here. We want to come back on Monday and look for another victory. Everyone knows that 4-1 would look a lot better than 3-2, so we will be going for that."