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The Report by Kanishkaa Balachandran
March 3, 2013
West Indies 158 for 7 (Pollard 45*, Simmons 41) beat Zimbabwe117 for 6 (Masakadza 53*, Badree 3-17) by 41 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
The quick turnaround time of one day was hardly enough for Zimbabwe to get its act together and challenge the hosts, after West Indies had posted a competitive 158. West Indies were hardly stretched during the chase and once the Zimbabwe top order succumbed to the spin of Samuel Badree, it was all one-way traffic. West Indies took the T20 series 2-0, adding to their three consecutive wins in the one-dayers, extending their winning run in a one-sided tour.
The only time Zimbabwe kept the hosts under check was in the first ten overs of the match. The bowlers followed a plan of containing the batsmen, but they couldn't maintain that control against a power-packed middle order. Kieron Pollard and Darren Sammy blazed 56 together in their fifth-wicket stand to give the innings a push and though Zimbabwe hit back with late wickets, Pollard ensured he stayed till the end, helping West Indies to a match-winning total.
After getting pasted in the opening T20 on Saturday, Zimbabwe needed to work out a plan to keep the number of boundaries in check and in general make the batsmen work harder for runs. An obvious change was the way the spinners bowled it flatter and fuller and not allowing the batsmen to go for big hits. Lendl Simmons, who smashed six sixes - mostly slog sweeps - in his unbeaten 63 off 49 balls on Saturday, managed only two big hits in his 41 off 39 today. He found it harder to get under the bounce and slog thanks to the lengths bowled by the spinners.
Johnson Charles, Dwayne Bravo and Simmons all perished while trying to push the scoring. The first 12 overs had 29 dot balls, showing the sort of control the Zimbabwe bowlers had.
Pollard and Sammy came together at the start of the 15th over and the run rate surged. Sammy launched Christopher Mpofu out of the ground when the bowler overpitched and Pollard was merciless against Chatara, ransacking 23 off an over that included two sixes and two fours. The extra pace worked to West Indies' advantage, and the seamers erred by not bowling it fuller. As a result, the batsmen helped themselves to some powerful blows down the ground.
Zimbabwe conceded only 64 off the first ten overs, but the last five leaked 60. Zimbabwe did hit back towards the end with quick wickets, but Pollard's was the one they wanted, but never had.
Zimbabwe needed a rousing start from their top order but their twin failures in the two T20s will be the biggest concern ahead of the Tests. They were undone by Badree, who nipped out three of the top four. Chamu Chibhabha made too much room to cut against the turn and lost his middle stump; Vusi Sibanda slashed towards point but Bravo's sharp reflexes had the better of him; Brendan Taylor fell to a leading edge to cover. Taylor's failures in both games put pressure on the middle order. Hamilton Masakadza played the lone hand with an unbeaten 53, but his knock was overshadowed by what was a sorry response from Zimbabwe.
There was no passage of play during which West Indies were challenged - only seven fours were scored in the first 15 overs and there were no sixes. Batting out 20 overs was no consolation.
Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Kanishkaa Balachandran
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