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Narine bursts back as Windies clinch series

Posted on Jul 02, 09:28PM | IANS

Fort Lauderdale( Florida), July 2 : Mystery off-spinner Sunil Narine burst back to life following a luckless England tour, bamboozling New Zealand with a four-wicket haul to hand West Indies a 61-run win and a clean sweep of the Twenty20 International doubleheader here Sunday.

Regaining the confidence and rhythm that made him the toast of the Indian Premier League, the right-armer snared four for 12 from four miserly overs as he strangled New Zealand and helped restrict them to 116 all out off 18.4 overs, reports Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).

Opener Chris Gayle had earlier stroked his second half-century in as many innings to push West Indies up to a competitive 177 for five off their allotted 20 overs, after winning the toss and opting to bat first at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium.

The left-hander was uncharacteristically sedate by his standards in scoring 53 from 39 balls to guide the innings while Johnson Charles got 36 from 32 balls and Dwayne Bravo, a superb 11-ball cameo 35 not out at the end.

New Zealand, with three changes from Saturday's opening game because of injury, never got their innings off the ground.

Daniel Flynn, in for his first game, top-scored with 22 from 19 balls while tail-ender Doug Bracewell smashed two sixes in a busy 11-ball 20 with defeat already in sight.

Bravo rounded off a fine all-round performance by taking two for 23 with his medium pace with off-spinner Marlon Samuels chipping in with two for 25.

For West Indies, it was the first series win in any format since last October when they trounced Bangladesh in the Test and ODI series in Dhaka.

West Indies lost Dwayne Smith again cheaply, whacking two sixes in 13 off eight balls before top-edging a pull off Bracewell to fall in the second over with the score on 14.

Gayle and Charles then put on a measured 72 for the second wicket of 61 balls, as they set the innings up for a late assault.

In contrast to his explosive 85 not out on Saturday, Gayle belted three fours and four sixes while Charles hit four fours and a six.

Gayle, voted Man-of-the-Series, laboured for his first 12 runs off 18 balls but came to life in the eighth over with an enormous six over mid-wicket and a flick to fine leg for four, in Bracewell's second over that cost 18.

When Charles hoisted slow bowler Rob Nicol to Tim Southee at short fine leg, Gayle added another 31 for the third wicket with Lendl Simmons (18) before finally going bowled by off-spinner Nathan McCullum, the Black Caps best bowler with two for 19.

Simmons followed at the end of the 16th holing out in the deep, paving the way for Bravo to dominate proceedings in a 37-run, fifth wicket stand with captain Darren Sammy (13).

The right-handed Bravo smashed a four and four sixes in an electrifying innings to ensure the Windies gathered 61 from the last five overs.

When New Zealand chased, Narine took matters into his own hands, removing both openers Martin Guptil and Nicol with successive deliveries in his first over, the fifth of the innings.

Guptil skied to Fidel Edwards at cover for a run-a-ball 18 at 26 for one while Nicol was deceived by one that left him and was smartly stumped by Denesh Ramdin for seven.

Stand-in captain Kane Williamson (6) and Southee (3) fell cheaply to leave the Kiwis tottering on 39 for four in the eighth and Narine sent them further into the mire when he bowled Dean Brownlie for one at 43 for five.

Flynn cracked two sixes before holing out off Samuels in the 13th over at 69 for six and Tom Latham's busy run-a-ball 19 came to end when he missed a heave at Samuels and was bowled in the 15th over.

Not to be left out, Man-of-the-Match Narine collected his fourth wicket in his final over when Andrew Ellis (1) swung desperately and Bravo pouched a simple catch down the ground.

Bracewell crashed two consecutive sixes off Samuels in the next over, the 17th, but by then the death throes had already set in.