Sarwan clinches it in thriller

CHRISTCHURCH – Ramnaresh Sarwan played a masterful knock to lead the West Indies to a thrilling victory over New Zealand in the second One-Day International at AMI Stadium.

Sarwan made 67 not out – with a six and three boundaries from 65 balls – after captain Chris Gayle made a robust 36 from 31 balls as the Windies made 158-5 off 27.5 overs, to win by five wickets. The match was reduced to 28 overs per team due to heavy rain, hail and bad light.

It was decided on the last ball and Sarwan received assistance from vice-captain Denesh Ramdin, who made a shot-filled cameo 28 from 18 balls, in an unbroken sixth-wicket stand of 48.

‘We felt if we could get one big over that that could bring us back into the game and would do it for us. That is what we were counting on. That was part of our target and we got that big over to bring us back into the game,’ said Sarwan, who won the Man-of-the-Match award.

‘I was not getting frustrated. In the middle overs I was just trying to score as many singles as possible and rotate the strike.

‘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.’

He also praised Ramdin, who showed a cool head.

‘This innings is really going to give him a lot of confidence. 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 in the day, the West Indies bowlers did the job with the ball. Fast bowler Fidel Edwards made the early breakthrough and had 3-26, Jerome Taylor mixed his pace cleverly to take 2-26, and left-arm spinner Nikita Miller also took 2-26 in his first bowl on tour.

‘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. A victory like this will give us momentum for the rest of the series.’

The third One-Dayer is tomorrow at the Westpac Stadium, Wellington. First ball is at 2pm (Tuesday 9pm Eastern Caribbean Time).