Best, Simmons sink Zimbabwe

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Opener Lendl Simmons' brisk half-century followed fast bowler Tino Best's three key wickets, as the West Indies beat Zimbabwe by eight wickets in Saturday's first Twenty20 International at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound, Antigua.

Opener Lendl Simmons' brisk half-century followed fast bowler Tino Best's three key wickets, as the West Indies beat Zimbabwe by eight wickets in Saturday's first Twenty20 International at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound, Antigua.

The Windies whitewashed the tourists in the ODI series and carried that form into the weekend's fixture, with Simmons blasting an striking an unbeaten 63 off 49 balls to comfortably lead his side to a victory target of 131 in the 17th over – and a one-nil lead in the two-match affair.

Zimbabwe had earlier limped to 130 for eight and that they reached anything approaching a competitive total was largely due to Malcolm Waller and Craig Ervine, who struck 49 and 34 respectively.

They did get off to a decent start after winning the toss, opener Vusi Sibanda hitting three fours before he lofted Best to thirdman.

Captain Brendan Taylor lasted three balls before he edged Samuel Badree behind, while Best picked up another scalp when Hamilton Masakadza directed a fierce blast to Kieron Pollard at backward point.

At 28 for three, Zimbabwe were in danger of collapsing but Ervine and Waller steadied the ship with a 60 partnership.

But the former was stumped coming down the track to spinner Sunil Narine, who then bowled Waller one short of a deserved half-century.

Best (three for 18) bowled Chamu Chibhabha, while Dwayne Bravo picked up two wickets as Zimbabwe's hopes of a late burst petered out.

A cautious start from the Windies in response gave way to some impressive hitting from opener Johnson Charles, who plundered five consecutive fours off the hapless Kyle Jarvis.

The opener was trapped lbw by Chris Mpofu but the Windies' progress was not slowed, with Simmons heaving two sixes in three balls over long-on off Tinotenda Mutombodzi.

Darren Bravo gave Mpofu another wicket when he mis-directed a pull to mid-on to depart for a duck, but his half-brother Dwayne (38 not out) proved a more calming influence in the middle.

He and Simmons seemed content to keep the score ticking over early on before aiming some lofty blows as the partnership progressed.

Simmons reached his 50 with a single into the leg side in the 14th over before sealing victory with a spectacular six – his sixth of his innings, with just one four – off Jarvis.

The second and final fixture gets underway at the same venue on Sunday.

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