Twin tons bring Windies early lead
Centuries from batsman Johnson Charles and Darren Bravo stood at the fore of the West Indies' hefty 156-run triumph over Zimbabwe in Friday's first ODI at the National Cricket Stadium in St George's, Grenada.
Centuries from batsman Johnson Charles and Darren Bravo stood at the fore of the West Indies' hefty 156-run triumph over Zimbabwe in Friday's series opener at the National Cricket Stadium in St George's, Grenada.
The duo spurred the Windies to an imposing total of 337 for four – the nations's fourth highest total in ODI cricket. Charles' second successive century, after his 100 against Australia earlier this month, came off 111 balls and was lined with 12 fours and four sixes.
His opening stand of 168 with Kieran Powell (79) laid the platform before Bravo smacked nine fours and four sixes to embellish the innings. Zimbabwe later lost four wickets inside the first 11 overs and eventually limped to an insufficient 181 for nine. Malcolm Waller's 51 was the top score in the failed pursuit, while spinner Sunil Narine took three for 28.
The hosts were largely indebted to their two young openers, right-hander Charles and left-hander Powell after Zimbabwe won the toss and elected to bowl first.
The pair took 56 off the first 10 overs and continued to trouble the visitors, who missed the chance to remove Charles on 37 when fielder Vusi Sibanda spilled a difficult chance diving to his right at midwicket.
The century stand arrived in the 20th over, with Powell first to a half-century, off 64 deliveries, before Charles followed, off 63 deliveries. Medium-pacer Chris Mpofu broke the stand when Powell top-edged a pull to deep square-leg.
Charles and Bravo kept the momentum with a further stand of 80 off 62 balls. Charles, from the island of St Lucia, helped his nation celebrate its Independence Day by rushing to the second century of his blossoming ODI career off 94 balls. The confident right-hander eventually fell to Mpofu after swinging across the line unsuccessfully to be bowled.
Bravo dominated the final overs, his first 50 taking 47 balls before he upped the tempo – his second 50 required a mere 24 deliveries.
Zimbabwe's reply was quickly derailed by fast bowler Kemar Roach, who trapped Sibanda lbw and Narine, who removed Chamu Chibhabha and Hamilton Masakadza. Masakadza departed to a sensational diving catch at long-on by Roach.
When Tino Best got rid of host captain Brendan Taylor to a lofted catch to mid-off, there was no way back for the visitors at 34 for four. Waller hit a determined half-century and shared a stand of 58 with left-hander Craig Ervine (41).
But Zimbabwe never really challenged, slumping to a big defeat – and one-nil deficit in the three-match affair. The second ODI gets underway at the same venue on Sunday.
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