Zimbabwe destroyed again
11 May 2006
By: Matt Pitt
The seven-match ODI series between West Indies and Zimbabwe was wrapped up by the home side at St Lucia, as another poor display from Zimbabwe led to a ten-wicket defeat. Chris Gayle struck 95 not out from 91 balls, as the Caribbean's first-ever day-night match was over long before night fell.
Having chosen to bat first, the tourists made what can only be described as a tentative start. Piet Rinke fell early, to the bowling of Jerome Taylor, and captain Terry Duffin struggled to settle. The scoring rate hovered just below three an over, as the bowling proved too much for the majority of the Zimbabwean batting lineup, wickets falling regularly.
Captain Duffin stood firm, however, and his scoring rate began to increase - to a slow crawl. After facing his 50th ball with his score still on an anaemic six, he continued to treat the game like it would last for a fortnight, let alone five days. He was eventually run out for 38, having faced 107 balls, and hung around for 32.4 overs. As admirable as his concentration may be, there comes a point at which occcupation of the crease becomes counter-productive, especially in the one-day game.
The rest of the Zimbabwean order folded easily, with the exception of Greg Strydom, whose innings of 48 from 73 balls was the what passes for late-order slogging in this young Zimbabwean side. He struck the impressive Dave Mohammed for two straight sixes, and managed to lift his side from 112-7 to an eventual 152 all out. The only notable event in the late overs apart from Strydom's hitting was Keith Dabengwa's unintentional destruction of his own stumps, so confused was he by Mohammed's wrong 'un.
The West Indies' reply was a straightforward affair - the new-ball bowlers were punished for their inaccuracy by the ruthless Gayle, while Sewnarine Chattergoon progressed to a sedate maiden ODI fifty. Gayle's scoring rate increased as the innings progressed, particularly when the innocuous Dabengwa was bowling.
The home side sealed their series victory after only 27.4 overs, and one can expect that come the weekend, when the final two matches of the series occur, there will be more punishment coming Zimbabwe's way. One can only hope that a solution is found to the desperate situation of Zimbabwean cricket sooner rather than later.
Gregory Strydom 48, Terry Duffin 38
Dwayne Bravo 3-24, Dave Mohammed 3-37, Jerome Taylor 2-34
West Indies won by 10 wickets
West Indies 156-0
Chris Gayle 95*, Sewnarine Chattergoon 54*
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