Saturday, April 20, 2024

Best rising to the occasion


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BASSETERRE – Fast bowler Tino Best knew his second spell in Saturday’s fourth One-Day International against New Zealand would have been crucial to West Indies’ hopes of a victory.
Best leaked runs in his three-over first spell that cost 23 runs but returned to bowl superbly and take three for 23 from seven overs, as West Indies beat the Kiwis by 24 runs to take a winning 3-1 lead in the five-match series.
Overall, Best claimed four for 46 from his ten overs.
“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,” said the barrel-chested Barbadian.
“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.
“From last night [Friday night] when I found out I would be playing, I was mentally prepared for this match.”
He added: “It was a crucial match and the selectors put a lot of faith in me to deliver. I was happy to get that opportunity to perform for the people. Right now I feel great and I know the people across the West Indies feel great as well.”
Defending 264, West Indies managed to keep the Black Caps in check despite a brilliant 110 from skipper Ross Taylor.
The victory, coming after the 88-run defeat in Wednesday’s third game, handed West Indies their first series win over a top eight ICC side in four years.
The lion-hearted Best bowled his heart out as the home team sealed a superb series win.
“I love this feeling . . . winning feels good . . . really, really good! We worked hard and we have received our reward,” Best beamed.
“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 wicket. That’s the job of a fast bowler.”
Best was quick to pay tribute to the Warner Park crowd, who chanted his name as he bowled in the tense final stages of the game.
“I must say it was great the way the crowd got behind me and the team and urged us on. They came here today expecting us to win and we gave them something to celebrate,” he said.
“During the series against Australia earlier this year, the fans came out and supported us and it’s truly wonderful to see the people come out and be part of this success.”
The two teams met in the final ODI at Warner Park today. (CMC)

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