February 23, 2003

West Indies win despite record Davison hundred

A brilliant century off off 67 balls - the fastest in World Cup history - from Canadian John Davison could not prevent a comfortable West Indies win in their Group B encounter at SuperSport Park in Centurion.

Davison kept a 10,240 crowd entertained for 98 minutes as he smashed the West Indies bowlers to all parts of the ground. Eight boundaries, most of them one-bounce fours, and six sixes helped him to his first one-day international hundred.

Dropped on 50 and on 78, and also playing the ball on to the stumps without the bails being disturbed, made no difference to Davison's attacking flair. He flayed the bowling and left West Indies heads hanging as he dispatched the abundance of short balls fed to him.

Mervyn Dillon was removed from the attack after just four overs. Vasbert Drakes lasted only two. Carl Hooper managed three, while Chris Gayle was given two and Wavell Hinds four as Hooper rotated the bowlers in search of a wicket.

Davison's total dominance is reflected in the partnerships he was involved in. 96 for the first wicket with Ishwar Maraj, who contributed 16. 59 for the second, with Desmond Chumney adding 19. When his own wicket fell at 156, Davison had made 111, with eight fours and six sixes.

The brilliance of his innings was ended by a brilliant catch on the boundary. Hinds was lofted high towards long-on and Drakes, fairly wide on the rope, made ground to his left, and leaping high took a right-handed catch that would have had the beating of most fielders.

Davison was given a standing ovation as he walked off, after playing an innings the like of which will never be seen again.

Drakes, after going for 29 in his first two overs, was brought back and produced an eight-over spell that rewarded him with five wickets for 15 runs, four of those coming from overthrows.

As if the Davison catch had rejuvenated him, he kept the ball up to the bat to wrap up the tail, with the last seven wickets going down for 46 runs in 10.4 overs. After promising so much the Canadians had succumbed to 202 all out in 42.5 overs.

If the Canadians had provided entertainment, it was nothing to what was to follow. The West Indies knew they had to up their net run-rate, and proceeded to do so with gusto.

After the early wicket of Gayle, Hinds and Brian Lara got together to destroy the Canadian attack. The 50 came up in 6.2 overs. The 100 in 9.2 overs and the 200 in 19.5 overs, giving the West Indies the victory in 20.3 overs.

Hinds was always on the attack, going to his 50 in 24 balls, the fastest 50 in World Cup history, with seven fours and three sixes. Lara went one better, going to 50 in 23 balls, moving his name to the top of the list, with six fours and four sixes. The 100 partnership between the two came off 46 balls with 13 fours and six sixes. 37 minutes of destructive batting had put the result beyond doubt.

Barry Seebaran will not forget the day he bowled one over to Lara. The over went: four, six, four, six, six, and finished with a dot ball. He was prudently removed from the bowling attack. By the time Hinds (64) and Lara (73) left the arena the damage had been done, and it was left to Ramnaresh Sarwan (42) to finish Canada off.

For pure entertainment, the match that will be held in awe for many a year. 58 boundaries, 15 of them sixes. It may have ended early and it may have been an easy win, but for one fleeting moment early on many watchers, including the West Indies team, must have wondered about a massive upset.