Digicel ODI Report: Resurgent Windies sink Zimbabwe at Arnos Vale

It was comprehensive – and it was in the manner the cricketing public in the Caribbean had been anticipating the West Indies would have taken care of business against Zimbabwe.

Chris Gayle pulls Prosper Utseya to the boundary - Brooks La Touche Photography and DigicelCricket.com

Chris Gayle pulls Prosper Utseya to the boundary - Brooks La Touche Photography and DigicelCricket.com

The regional side needed four attempts to really hit their straps and dominate the visitors. On Wednesday at the Arnos Vale Sports Complex during the Third Digicel One Day International, the Windies handed Zimbabwe a 141 run defeat which Man of the Match Darren Sammy said afterwards was a proper representation of the distance – in terms of quality – between the two teams.

Sammy registered career-best ODI figures with 4 for 26 from 10 overs and broke the Zimbabwean top order just as they were rebuilding their innings. They eventually collapsed for 104 all out from 31.5 overs in response to the Windies 245 for 9.

Sammy should really have had a 5-fer though. And it would have been historic. Had Chris Gayle hung on to a catch at first slip during the St Lucian’s final over, the all rounder would have had the distinction of being the first West Indian to have taken a five wicket haul in all three formats of the game at the international level.

The captain was – as indeed he should have been – sheepish and apologetic afterwards even as he heaped praise on Sammy for his disciplined bowling on a pitch which was described by Windies Head Coach, Ottis Gibson, as a good one as it had a sporting amount of grass and did not allow for a lopsided contest in terms of bat versus ball.

The Windies were inserted for the first time in the Digicel Series 2010 and after keeping wickets in hand and scrambled 92 runs from the last ten overs to get up to what was initially a competitive total which Sammy then converted into a monumental one once he got the ball in his hand. He took a wicket in each of his first three overs to have figures of 3 for 11 from 3 overs.

Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo enjoy the Zimbabwe collapse - Brooks La Touche Photography and DigicelCricket.com

Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo enjoy the Zimbabwe collapse - Brooks La Touche Photography and DigicelCricket.com

Kemar Roach chipped in with 3 for 28 from 9 overs and Dwayne Bravo – playing in his 100th ODI – snared 2 for 23 from seven overs. Hamilton Masakadza top scored with 35 but no other batsman reached 20 as the Windies – for the first time this Digicel Series – did not heavily rely on spin.

Roach sent Vusi Sibanda’s off stump flying in the first over but it took Sammy – ten overs and 51 runs later – to break the second wicket partnership. It all went downhill thereafter.

51 for 2 became 57 for 3 and 58 for 5, then 72 for 6. Zimbabwe clung on but eventually sank just after passing the 100 mark.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul top scored with 58 from 76 balls with a couple fours and a six but the batting effort was collaborative.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul cuts to the boundary - Brooks La Touche Photography and DigicelCricket.com

Shivnarine Chanderpaul cuts to the boundary - Brooks La Touche Photography and DigicelCricket.com

Denesh Ramdin – who was dropped in the previous game for poor performances with the bat – was promoted to number four and put on 65 runs for the third wicket with Chanderpaul before both were out at 151 off consecutive deliveries in the 39th over.

Ramdin made a boundary-less 19 from 37 deliveries following the openers Adrian Barath (35) and Chris Gayle (33) putting on 48 for the first wicket and the former falling with the score on 86.

Dwayne Bravo (24) and Narsingh Deonarine (21) hustled together 44 runs for the fifth wicket but principally during the batting Power Play overs when just three fielders were allowed beyond the confines of the 30 meter circle.

The team effort with the bat continued with Kieron Pollard – who must have thought it lucky when he retained his place in the side after mediocre returns with the bat in previous games – lashed a six and got 17 from 11 balls. Even Ravi Rampaul strolled in and spanked a six and a four to make 14 from 4 deliveries.

Sammy, Roach and Bravo then took charge causing only 1.5 overs of spin being needed from Nikita Miller who was chosen ahead of Sulieman Benn as the lone specialist spinner for the day’s proceedings.

Windies sit 2-1 ahead and Bravo’s prediction of a 4-1 series triumph is looking a better prospect than Gayle’s similar prediction against Australia a few weeks prior.

The Fourth Digicel ODI will be played at the same venue on Friday and the final game is slated for Sunday.

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