Gayle hurt, but WIndies cruise

West Indies captain Chris Gayle suffered an injury, but his team charged back into the series against Zimbabwe with victory by 110 runs in the second one-day international. Gayle scored 58 and then retired hurt with a hamstring injury. It was a rare low point in a hugely improved performance by West Indies.

The lacklustre West Indies performance in the first match on Friday was cast aside and the tourist discovered the intensity needed to win at international level. There was far greater determination in the West Indies game plan and urgency from the outset. Prosper Utseya inserted his opponents and was rewarded with the early wicket of Devon Smith for 2. The medium pacer Chigumbura bowled the left-hander for 2.

Runako Morton was promoted number three after his shameful performance against the Zimbabwe spinners in the first game. Facing pace bowling his forte, he was commanding and confident in compiling a score of 79 from 94 balls. His was the central innings of the West Indies total, and crucial in a partnership of 120 with Gayle for the second wicket. The West Indies captain started slowly and then took toll of the medium pacers with a couple of sixes, clubbed over midwicket. He acclerated with 38 from the last 40 balls he faced, but was stretchered off the field at the end of his innings after he injured himself turning for a run.

From a start of 19 runs from 8 overs, West Indies gained swift momentum through the confidence of Morton and Gayle. In particular, Morton was impressive, hitting Gary Brent for two fours and a six in the tenth over. He hit through the line furiously, launching into anything overpitched against the comfort of the seamers. Ray Price supplied his left-arm spin to slow the momentum at his end, but he received little support, and even the typically miserly Utseya went at greater than 5 runs per over. Following on from his century in the first game, Chanderpaul was run out for 12 to allow Zimbabwe a path back into the game.

But Marlon Samuels discovered some form with a quickfire 43, including 3 sixes against the spinners. Late in the innings Ravi Rampaul took charge and hit three successive sixes off Keith Dabwenga, after the left-arm spinner was allowed to bowl the 48th over. West Indies reached the heights of 287 at the fall of the final wicket.

With such momentum in their corner, West Indies started promisingly with the new ball. Daren Powell and Ravi Rampaul bowled well and increased the pressure of an already demanding run chase. With 42 on the board in the 10th over, Taylor (27) succumbed to the pressure, flashing at his namesake and nicking to Ramdin.

The top order crumbled against the seamers, staggering to 65-5 with a required run rate over 7. Matsikenyeri (37), Dabwenga (24) and Utseya (23) recovered the score somewhat, but the result was hardly in question. Rawl Lewis chipped in with 3 wickets – his most successful haul in international cricket – and by the 45th over, Zimbabwe were shot out for 176.

West Indies 286 all out (50 overs)
Runako Morton 79, Chris Gayle 58, Marlon Samuels 43
Chamu Chibhabha 2-36, Elton Chigumbura 1-30

Zimbabwe 176 all out (44.3 overs)
Stuart Matsikenyeri 37, Brendan Taylor 27, Keith Dabengwa 24
Rawl Lewis 3-43, Dwayne Bravo 2-18

West Indies won by 110 runs.
Cricket Web Man of the Match: Runako Morton

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