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The Report by Abhishek Purohit
February 26, 2013
West Indies 215 for 5 (Darren Bravo 72*, Powell 42, Mutombodzi 2-35) beat Zimbabwe 211 for 9 (Chibhabha 48*, Sibanda 41, Permaul 3-40) by five wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
The margins of victory became smaller as the series progressed, and in the final match, Zimbabwe even gave West Indies a scare in a modest chase. Darren Bravo, however, was around to guide the hosts to a 3-0 sweep after his mix-up with Kieron Pollard had caused a wobble in the middle of the innings.
Unlike in the second ODI, the asking-rate was never going to be an issue with Zimbabwe having managed just 211, but the rest of the West Indies top six gave away starts. However, Darren Bravo, having taken his time to settle in, coolly kept collecting runs through the off side till victory was achieved in the 47th over.
Zimbabwe had their second batting failure in three matches and their seamers lacked penetration again. The only positive for them was the performance of their young legspinners, Natsai Mushangwe and debutant Tino Mutombodzi. The duo kept West Indies' progress in check after the seamers had failed to break through.
Both Mushangwe and Mutombodzi were eager to flight the ball. They also got it to dip, drift and turn, and displayed admirable control for 22-year old legspinners. Ramnaresh Sarwan and Kieran Powell had eased themselves to a 46-run opening stand against the steady fare of Kyle Jarvis and Chris Mpofu but were tested by the introduction of leg spin from both ends.
Mutombodzi struck with his third delivery in international cricket, getting one to drift into Sarwan for the batsman to push it back for a return catch. Powell used the sweep effectively against the spinners and also played a few pleasing drives through the off side, only to throw it away for the third time in three innings, lofting Mutombodzi to long-on while on 42.
Darren Bravo was cautious against the legspinners, but cut rare wide deliveries from both for fours. Both Mushangwe and Mutombodzi had already bowled seven overs each at the halfway mark, and Brendan Taylor had to bring on his part-time bowlers.
Narsingh Deonarine and Darren Bravo were motoring along without worry when the former clipped Hamilton Masakadza straight to midwicket. Two deliveries later, Darren Bravo took a start for a second run, Pollard responded, only for the left-hander to stop, and for Pollard to be run out without having faced a ball.
Dwayne Bravo came in at 121 for 4 and his quick 25 eased West Indies' nerves before he holed out to long-on. Denesh Ramdin joined Darren Bravo with West Indies 45 runs away, and the duo shut Zimbabwe out with a busy partnership.
The way the visitors had batted, it was quite a recovery with the ball for them to make a game of it. Zimbabwe went nowhere at the start, then began to find some direction, but soon sank further and further. Barring a short period when Vusi Sibanda and Brendan Taylor counter-attacked, they were tied down by a disciplined and varied West Indies attack.
To make matters worse for them, an ill Craig Ervine, their best batsman in the series, was not available. In his absence, the middle order, when called upon to rebuild another stuttering innings, caved in, barring some fight from Chamu Chibhabha. The wiles of Sunil Narine and Veerasammy Permaul, the accuracy of Dwayne Bravo, and the pace of Kemar Roach and Tino Best were too much to handle.
A score of 23 for 1 after the opening Powerplay said it all, as far as Zimbabwe's start went. Despite their scorching pace, Best and Kemar Roach did not allow their lines to suffer and Zimbabwe had little opportunity to score.
They desperately needed some momentum after Tino Mawoyo and Masakadza went cheaply. It came from Sibanda and Taylor. Their stand was worth 55 at over run a ball, and Zimbabwe seemed to have made up for the tame start. But both batsmen were to fall in almost casual fashion. Sibanda tried to turn a Best delivery to leg, only for it to straighten slightly and for mid-off to take the leading edge. Taylor stepped out to loft the left-arm spinner Permaul, but ended up spooning it to cover.
Yet again, Zimbabwe's middle order had a repair job on its hands, and this time, there wasn't a lot of batting to come. The batsmen appeared clueless at times against Narine and weren't able to do much against the variations of Permaul either. Regis Chakabva and Malcolm Waller both had their struggles ended by Permaul.
No. 7 Chibhabha was also uncomfortable against the spinners but retained his composure to target the seamers, especially Dwayne Bravo, later. With Kyle Jarvis willing to hang around, Chibhabha swung a few big hits down the ground to push Zimbabwe past 200 in a ninth-wicket stand of 41. But for an attack that had conceded 337 and failed to defend 273, 211 was too inadequate.
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Plays of the Day from the second ODI between England and India, in Cardiff
Plays of the day from the third ODI between England and India at Trent Bridge
Plays of the day from the tri-series match between Zimbabwe and South Africa
Would he have fared better than the incumbent middle-order batsmen, Root and Ballance?