PROVIDENCE, Guyana (CMC): Contrasting innings from Chris Gayle and Narsingh Deonarine helped West Indies break the drought and limp to a morale-boosting four-wicket victory over Zimbabwe in the second one-day international (ODI) yesterday.
Gayle struck seven fours and two sixes in the top score of 88 from 111 balls, and Deonarine hit half-dozen fours and one six in an unbeaten 65 from 85 balls, as West Indies, chasing 207 for victory from their allocation of 50 overs, reached their target with 13 balls to spare.
To the cacophony from the crowd that quarter-filled the ground, Darren Sammy formalised the result when he drove Ray Price through mid-off for four.
The victory meant that West Indies have now drawn level 1-1 in the five-match series, after Zimbabwe won the first ODI by two runs last Thursday at the same venue.
It also broke West Indies' 15-match winless spell in ODIs, and also gave them their first international win since a depleted side prevailed over Bangladesh in a Twenty20 International last August in St Kitts.
A career-best spell from left-arm spinner Nikita Miller, and incisive fast bowling from Kemar Roach set West Indies up, as Zimbabwe were dismissed for 206 in 49.5 overs, after they chose to bat on a typically slow Guyana National Stadium pitch.
Miller collected four wickets for 43 runs from his allotment of 10 overs and Roach grabbed three for 37 from 9.5 overs.
West Indies then reached 45 for one from the nine overs they faced before the scheduled interval, after Adrian Barath was lbw to Ray Price for seven essaying a cut in the fourth over.
Barath enjoyed a slice of fortune when Stuart Matsikenyeri dropped him on six at mid-wicket off Price in the fourth over, but the pint-sized opener failed to make the most of the chance.
But the game was transformed after the break when Zimbabwe's spinners again squeezed the West Indies' batsmen.
West Indies scored runs in a trickle, and the batsmen cracked under the pressure to leave them wobbling on 85 for four.
Dave Bernard Jr was stumped off Price for one, Shivnarine Chanderpaul was lbw to Greg Lamb for 10, and André Fletcher was completely bamboozled by Graeme Cremer's googly and was bowled for an eight-ball duck.
easing the tension
But Deonarine strode to the wicket and, playing in conditions with which he is very familiar, caressed the ball nicely to ease the tension on the ground.
He and Gayle performed a salvage operation in the form of an 83-run stand for the fifth wicket, and inched the West Indies along with well-judged singles and the enterprising stroke.
Gayle reached his 50 from 60 balls when he turned Lamb into square leg for a single in the 21st over. But he was fortunate.
The West Indies captain, on 53, was mis-stumped by Tatenda Taibu off Cremer in the 24th over, but the little keeper did not make the same mistake a third time, when Gayle sauntered down to smash the same bowler in the 42nd over.
Deonarine duly reached his 50 from 73 balls, when he, too, turned a delivery into square leg off Cremer in the 44th over.
Before the end, Kieron Pollard provided a bit more drama, when he was caught at long-on off part-time off-spinner Brendan Taylor.
Zimbabwe (maximum 50 overs)
H. Masakadza c Miller b Roach
V. Sibanda run out (Roach)
B. Taylor lbw bGayle
+T. Taibu c Chanderpaul b Miller
S. Matsikenyeri c Gayle b Miller
G. Lamb c and b Miller
E. Chigumbura c Deonarine b Roach
G. Cremer b Miller
P. Utseya not out
R. Price b Roach
C. Mpofu run out (Gayle/+Fletcher)
(b1, lb5, w5)
(all out, 49.5 overs)
Fall of wickets:
1-6 (Sibanda, 0.5 overs); 2-34 (H. Masakadza, 6.5); 3-93 (Taylor, 20.6); 4-100 (Matsikenyeri, 23.6); 5-107 (+Taibu, 25.4); 6-180 (Lamb, 44.3); 7-183 (Chigumbura, 45.1); 8-205 (Cremer, 44.6); 9-206 (Price, 49.3)
Roach 9.5-0-37-3; Bernard 4-1-22-0 (w1); Benn 9-1-37-0; Sammy 5-0-17-0;Gayle 10-0-25-1 (w1); Miller 9-0-43-4 (w2); Pollard 3-0-19-0 (w1)
West Indies (target: 207 from 50 overs)
C. Gayle st Taibu b Cremer
A. Barath lbw b Price
D. Bernard st Taibu b Price
S. Chanderpaul lbw b Lamb
+A. Fletcher b Cremer
N. Deonarine not out
K. Pollard c Sibanda b Taylor
D. Sammy not out
(lb4, w16, nb1)
(6 wkts, 47.5 overs)
N. Miller, S. Benn, K. Roach did not bat
Fall of wickets:
1-44 (Barath, 7.3 overs); 2-47 (Bernard, 9.4); 3-82 (Chanderpaul, 22.5); 4-85 +Fletcher, 25.3); 5-168 (Gayle, 41.5); 6-187 (Pollard, 44.3)
Utseya 10-0-53-0; Price 8.5-0-31-2 (w3); Mpofu 4-1-30-0 (w4); Lamb 10-2-23-1 (w6); Cremer 10-0-44-2 (w1); Matsikenyeri 2-0-8-0 (w2); Chigumbura 2-0-9-0 (nb1); Taylor 1-0-6-1
West Indies won by four wickets
Five-match series level 1-1
Narsingh Deonarine (West Indies)
C. Duncan, S. Taufel