West Indies 215-5 (DM Bravo 72no) beat
Zimbabwe 211-9 (Permaul 3-40) by 5 wickets
Third One-Day International, Grenada
Report by Daniel Grummitt
Darren Bravo’s calm unbeaten 72 gave the West Indies a clean sweep of their ODI series against Zimbabwe. But for a period in the middle of their innings where Zimbabwe’s pair of 22-year-old leg-spinners, Natsai Mushangwe and debutant Tino Mutombodzi, built some pressure, the West Indies batsmen had things largely their own way.
Zimbabwe had earlier struggled after electing to bat, losing regular wickets, and were in danger of being bowled out before Chamu Chibhabha hit a resilient 48 not out at the death. They eventually ended on 211 for nine on a pitch that, now in its third game, was beginning to aid spin bowling.
With this mind the home side gave left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul his first game of the series and he didn’t disappoint, ending as the pick of their attack with three for 40. However, it was Tino Best’s hostile pace that caused the early problems. Tino Mawoyo, playing in place of the ill Craig Ervine, was given a serious working over and was struck multiple blows before finally succumbing to Sunil Narine’s very first ball.
At this point, Zimbabwe were going nowhere at 23 for one in the 10th over and things got worse a little later when Hamilton Masakadza, again struggling to score, was bowled, attempting a forcing stroke, by Dwayne Bravo. Zimbabwe could have imploded but led by their captain Brendan Taylor launched a mini counter-attack. Taylor swept the spinners with ease, while Vusi Sibanda suddenly started to find his range.
The pair added 55 in little more than eight overs before Sibanda was caught off a leading edge for 41. It was that Permaul began to come to the fore. His first wicket was the key one of Taylor, chipping to cover for 39, and he would go on to account for Malcolm Waller (15) and Regis Chakabva (17) - Zimbabwe’s engine room - before he was done. By the time Chakabva was sixth man out Zimbabwe had only 139 on the board and were already in the batting powerplay and embarrassment was a real possibility.
Fortunately Chibhabha, who seemed far more at home down the order, held the innings together. He hit two sixes, including one off the final ball of the innings, and took Zimbabwe past 200 to a score that, while not threatening, at least gave them an outside chance.
The West Indies opening pair then struggled early in their run chase as Zimbabwe’s had earlier, although to a much lesser extent, as Kyle Jarvis and the recalled Chris Mpofu maintained a consistent line and length. Ramnaresh Sarwan was the worst effected and finally chipped a return catch back to debutant Mutombodzi to end his innings at 19 off 42 balls.
Kieran Powell and Darren Bravo then found it difficult to score against the twin-pronged leg-spin attack, although Powell did unveil one or two pleasing sweep shots and was the more comfortable of the two.
Mutombodzi appeared remarkably calm for a man on debut and seemed to take genuine pleasure in his work, while Mushangwe got the occasional ball to drift in the air. Both were accurate and for a while West Indies meandered along at around three an over. They were never under pressure as the required rate never really climbed above five and Taylor appeared loath to set attacking fields, but nonetheless, Zimbabwe can take real pride in the way that the two youngest members of their side performed.
Mutombodzi got his second reward when Powell, in a needles moment of aggression, picked out Malcolm Waller at long-on. When Kieron Pollard was run-out in the next over after a mix-up with Bravo, Zimbabwe perhaps sensed an opportunity. However, the leg-spinners had almost finished their spells and Zimbabwe’s returning seamers proved unable to maintain the same sort of pressure.
Dwayne Bravo advanced things with a couple of sweetly timed boundaries, while his half-brother Darren continued to play in the same unflustered fashion. Dwayne departed to Jarvis, who was considerably more impressive than the innocuous Mpofu, but his younger brother, along with Denesh Ramdin, saw it through.
Darren picked up both the man of the match and man of the series awards and ended with 172 runs from the three matches for once out. Zimbabwe’s man of the series would probably be a contest between Mushangwe and the resolute Craig Ervine, whose absence today was a real blow for Zimbabwe.
© Cricket World 2013
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