"An excellent all-round performance."
That is how Queen's Park Cricket Club coach David Furlong described Sunil Narine's match-winning efforts in their close three-wicket win over Merry Boys in the Premier Division Sunday League semi-final on Thursday. at UWI, St Augustine.
The coach was not surprised by the eventual win, even as the Parkites slipped to 174 for seven chasing 259 for victory.
Narine bagged five for 34 to help dismiss Merry Boys for 258 off 49.3 overs before hitting an unbeaten 38 off 34 balls in an unbroken 85-run, eighth wicket stand with Jonathan Augustus (55 not out) to lead the champs to victory with nine balls to spare.
"He (Narine) did very well for us. It came as no surprise, because you saw that he did it for Trinidad and Tobago against Guyana on Monday, and he came in and did the same for us," said Furlong.
"We always had confidence that were could get the runs and we never gave up...that is why we are champions...champions never give up.
"His (Narine's) batting has really come on. We always knew what he could do with the bat so we were always confident that we could come out on top," the QPCC coach added.
The Parkites reached 259 for seven, securing their place opposite PowerGen Penal for the final, which is tentatively scheduled for March 28 at UWI.
Merry Boys took control of the fixture early on after winning the toss and batting first, with Trinidad and Tobago opener Lendl Simmons and wicket-keeper Aaron Alfred putting on 93 runs for the second wicket after Narine removed Mario Belcon with the score on 33 in the tenth over.
Simmons took a while to get in, facing 92 balls for his 46 with five fours and a six. He was kept quiet first by Dwayne Bravo's medium pace and then by Narine's spin before he was caught by Justin Guillen off the bowling of Jaggernauth in the 30th over with the score on 126 for two.
At the other end, Alfred had reached his 50 off just 49 balls with five fours and two sixes but he too fell victim to Jaggernauth just two overs later. The foundation, though, had already been set for a big total.
Still, the other batsmen could not capitalise as skipper Alcindo Holder was bowled by Bravo for 29, before Narine cleaned up the rest cheaply as Merry Boys tried to accelerate towards the end.
Only Rayad Emrit held out for a while, smashing the bowlers around for his 44, which came off 40 balls and included three fours and two sixes.
The Parkites also started well to their chase with Guillen and Adrian Barath putting on 48 in the first ten overs before the Queen's Park skipper, Guillen was bowled by medium pacer Marlon Richards for 21.
Barath kept up the pace, reaching 35 with four boundaries before he was caught behind by Alfred off Emrit in 16th over.
Having lost their big guns Kieron Pollard (28) and Dwayne Bravo (19), the Parkites slipped to 174 for seven in the 38th over before Augustus found a reliable partner in Narine.
Augustus faced 64 balls for his top-score, hitting six fours, while Narine took on the bowlers, smashing three fours and a six to cement the victory and give the Parkites a chance at a fourth consecutive Sunday League crown.