Zimbabwe look to avoid whitewash
Match factsFebruary 26, 2013
Start time 0930 local (1330 GMT)
Big PictureGoing by the series scoreline so far, 2-0 in favour of West Indies, nothing out of the ordinary and unexpected has happened. A convincing 156-run victory in the first ODI and a seven-wicket win in the second. The second margin sounds comprehensive, but it wasn't. Zimbabwe showed a marked improvement on Sunday and halfway through the match, would have even thought of leveling the series. What they are left with now, is to play for a solitary win in the final ODI and win their first one-dayer since October 2011, when they chased 329 against New Zealand. West Indies will be brimming with confidence after a forgettable summer in Australia and look set to complete a whitewash.
After being thrashed in the first ODI, Zimbabwe put up a strong batting display in the second, which stretched the hosts to the 49th over. Their bowling and fielding went up a notch, but they failed to pick wickets despite the pressure they created. They have picked only seven wickets in nearly 100 overs and have conceded 611 runs at a dismal average of 87.29. They will rely on Kyle Jarvis and their most experienced bowler, Prosper Utseya, to give them breakthroughs, especially in the opening overs. The 22-year old Natsai M'shangwe has been the most economical in the two ODIs, but it's the wickets they need to win matches.
West Indies, meanwhile, would not want to be in the pressure-cooker situation they found themselves in on Sunday. Even though their batsmen have done their job, curbing Zimbabwe to a lower score would be ideal for them. If they win the third, it will be their first whitewash over a Test-playing nation since beating Bangladesh 3-0 in 2004.
Form guideWest Indies WWLLL
In the spotlightDespite scoring two consecutive fifties, Kieran Powell threw his wicket away in both the ODIs. Against a feeble Zimbabwe attack and in the absence of Chris Gayle, this will be the apt time for Powell to convert a start into a three-digit score and boost his confidence before the Champions Trophy in June.
Hamilton Masakadza was Zimbabwe's top performer on Sunday with a fifty and figures of 2 for 27 from seven overs. If Zimbabwe have to win, he will have to extend his stay on the pitch to chase or set up a big total for the in-form West Indies batsmen.
Team newsWest Indies are yet to announce their squad for the third ODI. Gayle and Darren Sammy were rested for the first two matches. With the series to their name, West Indies may want to give a chance to the left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul (if available), who has been in fine form for Guyana with 13 wickets in the last two Regional Four-Day matches.
West Indies: (probable) 1 Kieran Powell, 2 Ramnaresh Sarwan, 3 Darren Bravo, 4 Narsingh Deonarine, 5 Kieron Pollard, 6 Dwayne Bravo (capt), 7 Andre Russell, 8 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 9 Kemar Roach, 10 Tino Best, 11 Sunil Narine/Veerasammy Permaul
Zimbabwe: (from) Brendan Taylor (capt), Hamilton Masakadza, Vusi Sibanda, Tino Mawoyo, Kyle Jarvis, Tendai Chatara, Chris Mpofu, Prosper Utseya, Regis Chakabva, Malcolm Waller, Keegan Meth, Craig Ervine, Chamu Chibhabha, Tino Mutombodzi, Natsai M'shangwe
Stats and trivia
- The last time West Indies and Zimbabwe played a bilateral ODI series, West Indies won the series 4-1 in West Indies in 2010.
- West Indies have won six and lost six of the 12 ODIs they have played at St. George's in Grenada.
Quotes"I felt a burden lifted when I reached my hundred. I was lacking a little confidence before this performance so I have my confidence back now."
Ramnaresh Sarwan after the first significant innings since his comeback
Vishal Dikshit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo