WI clinch ODI series
KINGSTOWN, St Vincent (CMC):
West Indies exploited a pitch with generous life and movement to bundle out Zimbabwe cheaply, but their batsmen remained unconvincing as they stuttered to a four-wicket win in the fourth one-day international yesterday.
Medium pacer Dwayne Bravo snatched four for 21 from nine overs and fast bowler Ravi Rampaul claimed two for 21 from eight overs to stun the tourists for 141 off 48.2 overs on a seamer-friendly strip at the Arnos Vale Stadium, after winning the toss.
Opener Chris Gayle then blasted 32 from 20 balls in posting a cameo 46 from 37 balls for the first wicket with Adrian Barath, but the captain's dismissal triggered a decline as the Windies crashed to 101 for five in the 23rd over.
It left Narsingh Deonarine to guide the hosts home with an unbeaten 32 as they reached 142 for six off 34.3 overs, to take an unbeatable 3-1 lead in the five-match series.
Bravo, playing in only his second international since the Test tour of Australia last December, was voted Man of the Match for his efforts.
Back from injury
"I've just come back from an injury so this performance proves to me that I'm fit, ready and strong again to perform at the highest level," said Bravo, who had been sidelined with a hand injury sustained during Australia's Twenty20 Big Bash in January.
"I always back myself to deliver, no matter the circumstances, and today I felt really good with my line and length, the pace I was bowling, and my ability to get the ball to move around."
He added: "The most important thing is that we won the series. We won't be easing up ... we will be looking, come back and win the last match as well and go home with a 4-1 series result."
Asked to bat on the lively pitch, Zimbabwe lost impressive opener Hamilton Masakadza to the 10th ball of the innings without scoring, at 11 for one, and never recovered.
Broad-shouldered Elton Chigumbura batted well for 42 from 78 balls, but he was the only batsman to pass 20 as Zimbabwe never came to terms with the pace and bounce of the track.
The task should have been straightforward, and it appeared to be when Gayle and Barath tore into the Zimbabwe attack with delight.
Gayle, in particular, seemed set for a blinder when he smashed 20 runs from the third over sent down by medium pacer Chigumbura.
After the first two overs cost just four runs, Gayle exploded without warning, taking boundaries over mid-on and straight overhead off the next two deliveries.
The hard-hitting left-hander then deposited the fourth ball over mid-wicket for six with a glorious flick, before carting the final delivery over extra cover with a similar outcome.
He seemed set to unleash further when he pounded two boundaries off leg-spinner Greg Lamb's first over, which cost 10, but attempting to continue his domination in the bowler's next over, Gayle holed out to Graeme Cremer at long off after striking four fours and two sixes.
Shiv Chanderpaul, dropped on one after facing just five balls, did not capitalise on his good fortune as he top-edged a pull to Ray Price at mid-on off Chigumbura when he had made two.