West Indies v Zimbabwe
West Indies and Zimbabwe had met six times in ODIs before their first Test in 1999-2000, with West Indies winning all six matches. Four of those had come in three World Cups, and in none of the games had Zimbabwe ever threatened any upset. That pattern was turned on its head in 2000 when Zimbabwe won all three games against West Indies in the NatWest Series in England, reaching the final of the triangular series. The following winter in Australia, West Indies got some revenge when they won three of the four matches in the Carlton & United tri-series.
West Indies were in chaos when Zimbabwe arrived - Brian Lara had resigned the captaincy, Roger Harper controversially been appointed coach and so unhappy were the locals that the board's offices were attacked - but they still won both Tests, although they were pushed all the way. At Port-of-Spain, Zimbabwe were bowled out for 63 after being set 99 - "We simply did not seem to have that belief in our ability to win," said coach David Houghton. "We led for four days and about one session." At Kingston, Zimbabwe's batting again let them as they were bowled out for 102 after an even first innings, losing by ten wickets. The success was made sweeter by the fact that 37-year-old Courtney Walsh had passed India's Kapil Dev as Test cricket's leading wicket-taker. But the ensuing euphoria could not mask the fact that West Indies had been outplayed by Zimbabwe for long periods. Zimbabwe lost all four ODIs in a triangular series also involving Pakistan.
Tests: West Indies 2 Zimbabwe 0
ODIs: West Indies 2 Zimbabwe 0
This was a more one-sided series than 18 months earlier in the Caribbean. West Indies romped to a massive innings-and-176-run victory in the first Test at Bulawayo, big hundreds from Chris Gayle and Carl Hooper, the captain. At Harare, Zimbabwe again conceded a substantial first-innings deficit, but then a hundred on debut from 17-year-old Hamilton Masakadza - the youngest person to score a century on debut - led them to 563 for 9 and safety. In the triangular one-day series, which included India, Zimbabwe again lost all four matches.
Tests: Zimbabwe 0 West Indies 1 Drawn 1
ODIs: Zimbabwe 0, West Indies 2
West Indies arrived in Zimbabwe - along with Bangladesh the only team below them in the ICC ratings - ahead of a long South Africa series aiming for a much-needed morale boost. What they got was more bad news. Although they won both the Test and ODI series, they scraped a draw in the first Test with their last pair together before winning the second, and had to fight back from 2-1 down to take the one-day internationals 3-2. At Harare, Zimbabwe scored 507, securing a sizable first-innings lead, and set West Indies 345 to win; at the close, their last pair had had to hold out for over half an hour. Ray Price took the plaudits with match figures of 10 for 161. The second Test at Bulawayo was notable for an outstanding 191 from Brian Lara, and set 222 to win, Zimbabwe were skittled for 104. In the one-dayers, Zimbabwe went 2-1 up after West Indies' batting twice failed, but hundreds from Wavell Hinds and Chris Gayle in the last two games got the tourists out of jail. There was to be no such respite in South Africa.
Tests: Zimbabwe 0 West Indies 1 Drawn 1
ODIs: Zimbabwe 2, West Indies 3
2006 West Indies
Zimbabwe Cricket's decision to suspend themselves from Test cricket briefly threatened this tour, originally scheduled to include two Tests and five one-day internationals. The trip was eventually saved, but to no obvious purpose: the callow Zimbabweans stumbled from one collapse to another in a bloated seven-match series. Rarely was there any competition and too often Zimbabwe were satisfied with batting out their overs rather than making any attempt to win the match. It was unedifying stuff.
ODIs: West Indies 5, Zimbabwe 0
The ODI series began on a positive note for Zimbabwe, who beat West Indies by 30 runs in the opening game, their first victory against a major Test-playing nation in four years. Chamu Chibhabha and Stuart Matsikenyeri were the stars, scoring half-centuries while posting a competitive score, and the bowlers, led by Elton Chigumbura, backed them up despite an unbeaten century by Shivnarine Chanderpaul. However, the rest of the rubber followed a pattern similar to previous encounters, as West Indies won the next three games comfortably to take the series 3-1.
ODIs: West Indies 3, Zimbabwe 1
Martin Williamson is managing editor of Cricinfo