Sarwan And Bravo Help See Off Much-Improved Zimbabwe
West Indies 274-3 (Sarwan 120no) beat
Zimbabwe 273-8 (DJ Bravo 6-43) by 7 wickets
Second One-Day International, Grenada
Report by Daniel Grummitt
Career-best performances from stand-in captain Dwayne Bravo and Ramnaresh Sarwan ensured that the West Indies secured the series win with a game still to play in Grenada. However, the tourists put up much more of a fight on this occasion, with fifties from Vusi Sibanda, Hamilton Masakadza and Craig Ervine leading them to a competitive 273 for eight after they had elected to bat.
At one stage during the West Indies run chase, the required run rate had climbed to above eight an over as Zimbabwe’s spin pair of Prosper Utseya (none for 54) and the hugely promising Natsai Mushangwe (none for 47) along with their medium-pacers built the pressure. Fortunately, for the home side and the small but vocal home crowd, Sarwan was on hand to anchor the innings with his fifth ODI century and his first since returning to the side, while Kieron Pollard provided the late momentum that was needed.
The end result of a West Indies win by seven wickets with an over to spare doesn’t do justice to Zimbabwe, who put in a performance about as far removed from the shambles two days ago as it is possible to get. But for a couple of moments of misfortune and a couple of lapses in the field the result could have been quite different.
They wasted chances to remove both openers - Kieran Powell and Sarwan - early on due to fumbles in the field, while debutant Tendai Chatara had Powell spectacularly caught at cover, only for replays to show that had overstepped. The most controversial moment of the innings came when Sarwan, on 53, should have been run-out by Regis Chakabva from mid-off. This time, Zimbabwe were not at fault, with Sarwan comfortably short of his ground. They were simply left astonished by the decision from local umpire Peter Nero to give him not out and his refusal to even refer the matter to the third umpire.
The umpire’s inexplicable mistake should not, though, detract from Sarwan’s innings, which was calm and measured even in the face of a climbing rate. He was perhaps mindful of the clutch of big-hitters that West Indies had left at their disposal and, if so, would be vindicated when Pollard came in and ended things in a hurry.
Zimbabwe’s batting powerplay had yielded just 22 runs, while West Indies garnered 46 as Sarwan and Narsingh Deonarine wreaked havoc against Kyle Jarvis and Tendai Chatara. From this point on, West Indies were never in real danger of losing despite a sharp bit of work from Prosper Utseya off his own bowling which accounted for Deonarine when on 42 to end his stand of 108 with Sarwan.
Their third-wicket stand was important, coming as it did after a double-strike from Hamilton Maskadza in the 26th over which had ended the opening stand between Sarwan and Powell at 111 and removed Darren Bravo for a duck.
It was Darren’s half-brother Dwayne who had earlier made things difficult for Zimbabwe. Vusi Sibanda and Hamilton Masakadza were progressing nicely and had advanced the score to 76 for one in the 19th before Bravo struck for the first of six times. He had Sibanda and batting lynchpin Brendan Taylor deceived by fullish balls in his opening over to peg them back. He would then strike again in the 41st over at just the time when Zimbabwe were looking to press on when Masakadza skied a slower ball into the air and the catch was pouched by Sunil Narine.
That ended a very mature fourth-wicket stand of 110 between Masakadza and Craig Ervine. Both had rotated the strike well, with Ervine particularly proficient at opening the face and guiding the ball to third man to get off strike. He would club nine boundaries in all before becoming another wicket for Bravo towards the end of the innings. Malcolm Waller ensured that things didn’t stagnate and translated his promising obduracy from the first game into some exciting strokeplay today, hitting 26 off 16 balls to provide the innings with some late impetus.
© Cricket World 2013
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