January 13, 2001

Powell boosts reputation as he leads race to victory

Tremendous drama unfolded at the Gabba on Saturday as West Indian Ricardo Powell, the man of the match with a powerfully struck 83 not out which included nine fours and one six, enhanced his growing reputation as a great striker of the ball.

His innings, his fourth one-day half-century, also helped his team to their first win in the Carlton one-day series, the first international game that the West Indies have won since coming to Australia in November.

In this second game of the 12-match preliminary one-day series, before the best-of-three finals, the West Indies beat Zimbabwe by one wicket with eight balls to spare.

Set 241 to get in their 50 overs, the West Indies were wobbling at 119-4 after 24 overs, with senior batsmen Sherwin Campbell out for a useful 42, Wavell Hinds for no score, Brian Lara for 21 and captain Jimmy Adams for 24, all dismissed.

Powell soon lost Marlon Samuels for an organised 34, before he and Mohendra Nagamootoo put on 46 for the eighth wicket.

Nagamootoo went for eight, with the West Indies still needing 12 runs for victory, and when Nixon McLean was ninth out, for one, the West Indies needed a further two runs from 11 deliveries.

The 12,000-plus crowd were on their feet as all Zimbabwe needed was that final wicket. It never came, Powell striking the winning run to the great delight of his anxious teammates.

Earlier, having won the toss and electing to bat first on a good pitch, Zimbabwe seemed to squander a great opportunity for a big score, ending on 240/9.

At one stage, Zimbabwe were 154/2, with 16 of the allotted overs still remaining. Opener Alistair Campbell and wicket-keeper/batsman Andy Flower had put on 86 from 97 deliveries for the third wicket.

Once Andy Flower had been dismissed, for 33, Campbell also lost his rhythm and was soon out for a polished 81, including one six and four fours. Marlon Samuels took both wickets.

The rest of Zimbabwe's batting then faded, and it was left to their captain, Heath Streak, with a quickfire 34 not out from only 28 deliveries, to take his team to their eventual total.

For the West Indies, fast bowler Nixon McLean finished with 3/48 from his ten overs.

It is Ricardo Powell, though, who is the toast of the West Indies. He pushed his team to their first international victory since June last year, when they beat England at Trent Bridge in the NatWest International trophy, which also featured Zimbabwe.

This was such a better effort, and result, for the West Indies than on Thursday last when they were badly embarrassed by Australia, losing by 74 runs -and it was not that close. The West Indies never seemed to be in the same game.

At this rate, Australia will be sitting pretty early in the piece, waiting to see which of Zimbabwe or the West Indies will play them in the finals in mid-February.

At least, the West Indies have now won an international game on this tour, so it could still be a good one-day series for the West Indies. Zimbabwe now have much work to do.

The final scores: Zimbabwe 240-9 in 50 overs; West Indies 241-9 in 48.4 overs.