Lendl Simmons’ third half-century and an unbroken 85-run third-wicket partnership with Dwayne Bravo guided the West Indies to an eight-wicket win over Zimbabwe in the first Twenty20 international on Saturday.
Replying to Zimbabwe’s 130-8, the opening batsman smashed six sixes, the last ending the match at the start of the 17th over, in finishing on 63 not out and taking the man-of-the match award.
Bravo (38 not out) benefitted from a missed run-out opportunity at the start of his innings to ensure that the early strikes of medium-fast bowler Chris Mpofu did not result in an upset win for the visitors.
“It was a clinical result because we did just what we wanted to do,” said West Indies captain Darren Sammy, acknowledging that his team wanted to make a statement in their first home Twenty20 match since lifting the world title in October last year.
Mpofu trapped Johnson Charles leg-before after the opener had taken five consecutive fours off fellow opening bowler Kyle Jarvis and then removed Darren Bravo without scoring to a miscued pull off a short ball. Dwayne Bravo should have been run out shortly after, but Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor failed to hold on to a return with the all-rounder short of his ground.
Earlier, Malcolm Waller fell one run short of a maiden Twenty20 half-century and fast bowler Tino Best claimed three wickets to limit Zimbabwe.
Waller and Craig Ervine put on 60 for the fourth wicket, a new Zimbabwe Twenty20 record, after Best had made early inroads, removing the opening pair of Vusi Sibanda and Hamilton Masakadza. Taylor, who once again called correctly at the toss and chose to take first strike, continued his poor run on the tour with the bat, falling without scoring to a catch at the wicket off Samuel Badree.
“It’s really frustrating that our top three batters aren’t giving us good starts, but despite that, I thought Waller and Ervine played really well,” Taylor said.
Sunil Narine again proved a challenge for the tourists with his spin variations, claiming 2-17, while Dwayne Bravo took two wickets off the final over of the innings, both to catches by Andre Russell.
INDIA V AUSTRALIA
By staff writer
India ended the second day of the second Test against Australia in Chennai on 311-1, with Murali Vijay unbeaten on 129 and Cheteshwar Pujara 162 not out.