Samuels spins West Indies to morale-boosting win
West Indians 198 for 1 (Smith 77, Gayle 73) beat PCA Masters XI 142 (Mahmood 41, Samuels 4-19) by 56 runs
A fine allround performance from Marlon Samuels gave the West Indians a much needed boost with a comprehensive 56-run win over a PCA Masters XI at Arundel, ahead of their back-to-back Twenty20 matches against England on Thursday and Friday. The victory came against a rag-bag of current and former stars - including Nathan Astle and Robin Smith - but West Indies at the moment are grateful for any small mercies.
PCA crumbled to 142 chasing a daunting 199 with Samuels doing most of the damage with 4 for 19. After losing Rikki Clarke to the first ball, PCA's run-chase got off to an electric start with Azhar Mahmood cracking 41 from 26 balls. But he became Samuels' second wicket when he was bowled, prompting a slide where six wickets fell for 63.
Samuels forged a bristling second-wicket stand of 87 with Devon Smith (75 from 53), but the most encouraging aspect of their innings was the return to form of Chris Gayle. In 34 balls he hammered 73, with eight fours and lifting four sixes.
It was a comfortable win for West Indies, one which David Moores, their coach, will hope has massaged their brittle confidence which sunk on Sunday when Derbyshire humiliated them by 51 runs. However, today was West Indies final warm-up before the serious business of two international Twenty20s against England, beginning at The Oval on Thursday.