Spinner Sunil Narine claimed 5-27 on Monday to bowl the West Indies to a tense 20-run victory over New Zealand in the fifth and final one-day international at Warner Park in Bassterre.
Narine’s career-best haul helped the hosts secure a 4-1 victory in the five-match series, following a 2-0 sweep in the Twenty20 internationals.
New Zealand, in pursuit of 242, struggled against the variations of Narine.
Despite a defiant 69 from Kane Williamson, the Black Caps were bowled out for 221 off 50 overs.
The West Indies’ total of 241-9 off 50 overs had been inspired by contrasting half-centuries from all-rounders Dwayne Bravo and Andre Russell.
Bravo compiled 53 off 93 balls to revive the innings from 37-3, while Russell upped the tempo with an unbeaten 59 off 40 deliveries.
For New Zealand, pacemen Tim Southee (3-37) and Kyle Mills (3-40) led the attack.
Captain Darren Sammy was full of praise for Narine, who took 13 wickets at an average of 11.23 and an economy rate of 2.92 in the series, earning him the man of the match and man of the series awards.
“He’s just world class and to have him in the team gives you more confidence, especially when you’re defending a total,” Sammy said. “You know what he’s capable of. Throughout this series, he’s been a champion for us.”
New Zealand’s chase has a shaky start when Rob Nicol fell second ball to Tino Best, but Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill responded positively in a stand of 62 for the second wicket, before Narine made his first intervention.
McCullum had contributed 33 off 34 balls when he was squared up by a straighter one and he edged to Sammy at first slip.
New Zealand soon slipped to 77-3 in the 18th over when Narine removed Guptill leg before wicket playing across the line. Guptill’s 33 spanned 56 deliveries.
The middle order wobbled badly as captain Ross Taylor fell to Marlon Samuels via a freak stumping and Best returned to claim Daniel Flynn for a duck.
Taylor, advancing down the pitch, was hit on the pad by a faster delivery, but the deflection thudded into wicketkeeper Devon Thomas’ pads and back onto the stumps with the skipper out of his crease.
Flynn then cut Best straight to gully at 109-5 in the 27th over.
Williamson provided some hope in stands of 31 with Tom Latham (11) and 68 with Andrew Ellis (28).
New Zealand looked to be in a good position with 36 required from the last 30 balls, and Williamson and Ellis confident, but a magical catch from Chris Gayle, diving full length low to his right to remove Williamson off Narine, triggered a collapse as the last four wickets tumbled for 13 runs. Williamson struck five fours and a six off 84 balls.
Ellis was Narine’s fourth scalp, bowled as he tried to attack and the spinner soon added Kyle Mills, also bowled.
Narine’s figures were the best for a West Indies player against New Zealand, beating Viv Richards’ 5-41 in Dunedin, New Zealand, in 1987.
Bravo finished off the match with the wicket of Trent Boult, who holed out to a jubilant Kieron Pollard at long-on.
Earlier, the West Indies’ innings had started badly after they won the toss and chose to bat.
Mills made a crucial early breakthrough, claiming the dangerous Gayle (5) to a catch at backward-point. Southee further dented the hosts when Johnson Charles (15) and Dwayne Smith (9) departed in successive overs.
Charles spliced a catch high on the bat to backward-point, while Smith played across the line and was trapped leg before, despite seeking a review.
Marlon Samuels and Bravo revived the stuttering innings in a stand of 60 for the fourth wicket.
Samuels was in fluent form, striking four fours and a six off 49 balls, before he was Southee’s third victim, lofting to extra-cover. When Pollard swatted across the line and picked out Kane Williamson at mid-wicket, the West Indies dipped to 104-5 in the 27th over.
Bravo found another sound ally in Devon Thomas and the pair shared a partnership of 53 for the sixth wicket. Thomas contributed 20 before he picked out deep mid-wicket trying to hit a full toss from medium pacer Ellis out of the ground. Next over, Mills claimed Sammy (2) and New Zealand were on top at 160-7.
Bravo got to his half-century off 89 balls, but Ellis returned to cut him short, another full toss doing the job as he picked out mid-wicket.
Russell dominated the final overs in a stroke-filled half-century, launching six fours and three sixes.
Mills, who passed Chris Harris as New Zealand’s all-time second one-day wicket-taker, removed Narine (6) toward the end.
New Zealand next travel to Antigua where they play a three-day match against a West Indies Board President’s XI on Friday, before the first of two Tests begins on Wednesday next week.
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