Windies stroll to easy win over Zimbabwe
North Sound (Antigua), March 3 (IANS/CMC): Audacious West Indies hardly broke a sweat as they nonchalantly brushed aside Zimbabwe by eight wickets in their opening Twenty20 International here Saturday.
Chasing an inadequate 131 for victory, the T20 World champions were propelled by opener Lendl Simmons who struck a six-laden, unbeaten 63 to see them home off the first ball of the 17th over at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground.
He faced 49 balls and struck one four and six sixes, putting on 85 in an unbroken third wicket stand with all-rounder Dwayne Bravo whose 38 came from 30 balls and included three fours and a six.
Pacer Chris Mpofu was the standout Zimbabwean bowler, taking two for 14 from four accurate overs.
The victory gave the West Indies a 1-0 lead in the two-match series which concludes at the same venue Sunday.
Winning the toss and batting, Zimbabwe lost early wickets up front and needed a 60-run fourth wicket partnership off 62 balls between Malcolm Waller (49) and Craig Ervine (34), to restore respectability to the total.
In reply, the West Indies were away quickly as Johnson Charles slammed 26 from 14 balls with six fours in posting 30 off 23 balls for the first wicket with Simmons.
The aggressive Charles slammed five consecutive fours off seamer Kyle Jarvis’s second over, the third of the innings which cost 21 runs but perished in the next over, lbw to one from Mpofu that jagged back.
Stylish left-hander Darren Bravo (0) lasted just four balls before being lured into a pull and top edging a quick one from Mpofu to Chibhabha at mid-on at 46 for two in the sixth over.
Zimbabwe then had a golden opportunity to rattle West Indies further when Dwayne Bravo, on four, ventured from his crease in search of a single and was sent back by Simmons.
Chibhabha’s throw from short point found Bravo well short of his crease but wicketkeeper Taylor fumbled the take, handing the batsman a lifeline.
That proved to be Zimbabwe’s last look-in as both Simmons and Bravo attacked, to erase any doubts about the result.