BASSETERRE, St Kitts, CMC – Veteran Marlon Samuels says he rates his career-best unbeaten half-century in Monday’s final Twenty20 International highly, even though it came against ICC Associate side Afghanistan.
The stylish right-hander was at his sublime best, carving out an 89 off 66 deliveries to help West Indies to a comfortable seven-wicket victory at Warner Park and a clean sweep of the three-match series against the minnows.
“As I always say, making a 90 and the team wins is very important. It means a lot to me,” the Jamaican said afterwards.
“I think I’ll rate it at the top regardless of the team I’m playing against because I [made] 80, 85 against better teams but I’ll still put it at the top because given the situation if I had gotten out you never know what could have happened.”
With West Indies set 147 for victory, Samuels found himself at the crease as early as the first over of the innings after Chadwick Walton was dismissed off the second ball without scoring.
The 36-year-old punched nine fours and three sixes, adding 61 for the second wicket with opener Evin Lewis (19) before putting on a further 65 in an unbroken fourth wicket stand with Jason Mohammed who ended unbeaten on 23.
Samuels said with the loss of the early wicket, his role had become even more pivotal in the innings.
“I’ve been batting well, playing the role the team requires and the teams asks me to play,” he explained.
“[If we lose] early wickets, [I have] go out there and build a partnership, bring [the innings] back together. Get a good start, go out there and step on the gas a little bit and still control the innings.
“It worked out good for us in the end and it’s just for me to continue to play a mature innings in the middle for the team.”
Samuels, voted Man-of-the-Match and Man-of-the-Series, said the series win was also important for the side especially since it now comprised some inexperienced players.
“We are still the World champions – two times,” he said.
“We’ve got some new players but nevertheless they are coming through and learning fast and it’s good that some of them are getting the opportunity to know that T20s are like regardless of it’s against South Africa or Afghanistan whichever team.”