North Sound (Antigua): West Indies captain Dwayne Bravo believes his side's triumph in the opening One-Day International against England was fitting - to celebrate the knighthood for three legendary cricketers.
Outstanding former West Indies fast bowlers Andy Roberts and Curtly Ambrose, along with former captain and current Windies team manager Richie Richardson were knighted Friday by Antigua and Barbuda Governor General Dame Louise Lake-Tack, at a ceremony during the interval of the game at the Sir Vivian Richards stadium, reports CMC.
"It is always good to see the legends around and it inspires all of us," Bravo said after the West Indies pulled off a surprising 15-run victory.
"A few days ago we saw the unveiling of the statue for Sir Vivian Richards and Friday we saw the knighthood for the three legends. I am very happy that on this special day we made it extra special with a West Indies win."
The victory never looked on the cards when West Indies plunged to 45 for four in the 16th over after being sent in. However, Bravo (87 not out) anchored two century-stands - 108 for the fifth wicket with Lendl Simmons (65) and a further 116 for the sixth wicket with Darren Sammy (61) - to propel the home side to a competitive 269 for six.
Again, the West Indies appeared out of it when England cruised to 96 without loss with opener Michael Lumb (106) stroking a century on his ODI debut. But off-spinner Sunil Narine (2/36) led the way as the West Indies bowlers strangled England's middle order, forcing a collapse.
"The key was belief... We believed as a team. We knew that despite the start they got that coming onto the end of the match, once we kept picking up wickets and the run rate kept going up, it would be difficult for them," Bravo said.
Bravo also praised the manner in which West Indies hit back after losing Kieran Powell (5), Dwayne Smith (24), Kirk Edwards (10) and Darren Bravo (2) cheaply.
"The partnership between Lendl Simmons and myself was crucial and it allowed us to rebuild. We did not have the kind of start we wanted but we had the belief that once we recovered we could win the game," Bravo said.
"That allowed Darren Sammy to come and play his usual flamboyant way which made a big difference. At one point it looked like we would get 220, but Sammy's innings allowed us to get up to around 270 and we felt as a bowling group that we would defend that."
The second ODI of the three-match series will be played Sunday at the same venue.