Ramnaresh Sarwan capitalized on an outrageous bit of good fortune to hit his first one-day century for three years and guide the West Indies to a series-clinching seven-wicket win over Zimbabwe on Sunday.
Responding to Zimbabwe’s challenging total of 273 for eight, the 32-year-old Guyanese right-hander put aside the torment of a short tour of Australia earlier in the month and finally stamped his return to the international scene with an unbeaten 120 — his fifth and highest one-day international (ODI) score.
It ensured the target was overhauled off the final ball of the penultimate over, to the delight of a boisterous home crowd.
However, it could have all gone so very differently as he benefited from an umpiring error, while Zimbabwe also missed the opportunity to have the decision overturned, which would have seen Sarwan run out for 53.
Sarwan’s generous slice of luck came as he dashed for a single and Chamu Chibhabha’s throw to the non-striker’s end hit the stumps directly. Presiding umpire Peter Nero ruled “not out” on the appeal, choosing — against general convention — not to seek confirmation from the television umpire.
Television replays showed Sarwan to be well out of his ground when the bails were removed and although it was reason for justifiable anguish for Zimbabwe, they failed to exercise their right of referral via the same TV technology before the next ball was bowled.
Opening the batting for only the second time in his near 13-year senior international career, the former captain gave the hosts an excellent platform in an opening stand of 111 with Kieran Powell (57).
After Hamilton Masakadza had removed Powell and Darren Bravo in the space of three deliveries in the 26th over, Sarwan got good support from Narsingh Deonarine (42), before Kieron Pollard belted an unbeaten 41 off just 20 deliveries to ensure that victory was achieved.
Earlier, Masakadza was one of three Zimbabwe players to hit half-centuries in justifying their captain’s decision to bat first. Craig Ervine led the way with 80, while Masakadza contributed 60, featuring in a 110-run fourth-wicket partnership with Ervine after Vusi Sibanda had set the tone for the innings with a stroke-filled 51 at the top of the order.
“Definitely the guys put their hands up and fought harder today,” Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor said. “We have to give credit to Sarwan for his innings, but we can definitely take a lot of positives from this match.”
In spite of Sarwan’s match-winning 100, the man of the match award went to Dwayne Bravo, the West Indies captain taking career-best ODI figures of six for 43, only the eighth West Indies bowler to claim six or more wickets in a one-day international innings.
It lifted him to fourth on the all-time list of West Indies wicket-takers in one-dayers with 157.
West Indies won the first match at the same venue by 156 runs on Friday, while the third and final game is to be played in Grenada today.