Chanderpaul leads Windies to 3-0

A breathtaking return to form by Shivnarine Chanderpaul was a fitting farewell to international cricket at Bourda, and the West Indies took an unassailable 3-0 series lead over Zimbabwe. Playing before his home crowd, the former West Indies captain scored 93 off 82 balls in the 82-run win.

Chanderpaul’s innings was significant as his first international half-century since August of last year. Growing in confidence, timing and placement returned to the forefront of his game. As though channeling the spirit of his record 69-ball century against the Australians on the same ground three years ago, Chanderpaul plundered 10 fours and 3 sixes in the innings.

The West Indies ultimately settled at 333/6, and it was the first showing of dominance by the home batsmen in the series. Fluency was lacking in the first two games in Antigua, but like his team, Runako Morton found his form and stride, and served initial impetus with 79 at the top of the order.

It was an outstanding innings by Morton, if only for the peculiarity of one event. In what appeared to be a clear run out via a direct hit, umpire Billy Bowden immediately adjudged Morton out.

Soon after he was recalled to the middle, practically from the edge of the dressing room. Bowden referred the decision to the third umpire and replays showed a miscue from Brendan Taylor to remove the bails before the ball hit the stumps. It meant Morton was re-instated, and was the central point of a 12-minute over.

Morton’s opening partner, debutante Sewnarine Chattergoon had earlier been run out for 9, but it only served to welcome captain Brian Lara to the crease. Lara, who batted controversially down the order in the first two games, seemingly re-assessed his tactics over yesterday’s rain-out and returned to the top order in emphatic fashion.

A quiet start was soon forgotten, as the triple world-record holder dominated the Zimbabwean bowling with an array of strokes, ranging from the cheeky to the sublime. Amidst the carnage, the tourists strayed far from helping their cause. Instead the bowlers offered a healthy serving of poorly-lined deliveries and full tosses.

Lara’s 40-ball stay produced 56 runs and was laced with 10 fours. Chanderpaul replaced him at 145/2, then Morton made way for Sarwan (40) 22 runs later. Morton batted for 90 balls for his runs, and struck 9 fours and a six.

Edward Rainsford ended Chanderpaul’s masterclass 7 short of a hundred, but the crowd still found enjoyment in the form of Dwayne Smith. The Bajan strokeplayer scored 23 unbeaten from 13 balls, and the West Indies innings tailed toward a record high on Caribbean soil.

In response, the young Zimbabweans never truly threatened, and that was largely due to a burst of 2 wickets within 4 balls from Fidel Edwards at the innings commencement. Piet Rinke continued his miserable international tour with a first ball duck, then his captain marked the same 3 balls later.

From that point the innings rather meandered onward inconsistently. Resolute defence blunted bold strokeplay, and the West Indies bowlers pegged back 7 wickets when time ran out. Zimbabwe finished on 251/7, but sought some pleasant signs even in defeat.

The innings of Vusi Sibanda – 52 off 73 balls – and Elton Chigumbura – 60 off 59 balls – kept some pride in the ranks, as did a contribution of 40 from an injury-affected Justice Chibhabha. Edwards took 3 for 42 to be the pick of the bowlers, but steady returns from the recalled duo of Marlon Samuels (10-1-48-2) and Corey Collymore (8-0-21-0) were also noteworthy.

It was a stark contrast to the exploits of fellow recalled player, Tino Best. In his first international match since the tour of Sri Lanka last year, fast bowler Best was belted for 70 runs from his 10 overs, but took the wicket of Sibanda. He started with 5 wides in his opening over and never recovered.

West Indies 333-6 (50)
Shivnarine Chanderpaul 93, Runako Morton 79, Brian Lara 56
Piet Rinke 1-30, Prosper Utseya 1-48

Zimbabwe 251-7 (50)
Elton Chigumbura 60, Vusi Sibanda 52, Justice Chibhabha 40
Fidel Edwards 3-42, Marlon Samuels 2-48

West Indies won by 82 runs.

Cricket Web’s Man of the Match: Shivnarine Chanderpaul – 93 runs

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