March 21, 2000

Zimbabwe in West Indies: Miracle win

Against all odds, the West Indies' battery of fast bowlers shot down lightweights Zimbabwe for 63 to provide their team with one of the most amazing victories in modern day Test cricket at the Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad yesterday.

Zimbabwe, the newest and weakest of the nine Testplaying nations, were given just 99 to win but unbelievably folded under the West Indian bowling barrage led by veterans Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh.

The remarkable 35-run victory would have been especially sweet for Jamaican Jimmy Adams, who was leading the team for the first time.

After crawling to 47 for three, Zimbabwe fell apart, their last seven wickets tumbling for 16 runs.

Frankyn Rose orchestrated the collapse with a magnificent spell in which he took three for eight in six overs. He finished with four for 19 off 13 overs.

Ambrose cleans up

Ambrose applied the coup de grace by taking the last three wickets without conceding a run, while the durable Walsh collected the key scalps of much-touted Neil Johnson and the obdurate Grant Flower to inch nearer to Kapil Dev's world record haul of 434 wickets.

Flower, who battled his way to 26, was the only Zimbabwean to reach double figures. Inexperience, a wearing pitch and poor batting were the primary reasons Zimbabwe lost a match they were poised to win.

It was only the second time in Test history that a team had successfully defended a winning target of less than 100.

The previous lowest target was 85 which England were given to defeat Australia at The Oval in 1882. They were all out for 77.

Only about 100 spectators were in the ground at the start of play but the crowd swelled as West Indies closed in on victory after nine defeats in their previous 11 Tests.

Adams celebrated his side's unexpected victory by ripping a stump out of the ground and cavorting around the pitch after Ambrose bowled last man Mpumelelo Mbwanga.

Adams said his quartet of pacemen had 'bowled fantastically'.

'Rose and [Reon] King did as much as anyone could have asked of them. I'm really happy for them. They're two for the future.