Torpid Zimbabwe crushed by Gayle
At least bright batting from Chris Gayle and Sewnarine Chattergoon ensured that no-one was kept hanging around for any longer than necessary. Gayle was severe on anything off line, and there was plenty, while Chattergoon was happy to play second fiddle and savour his maiden ODI fifty. They were never remotely troubled by Zimbabwe's powder-puff attack.
It was the Caribbean's first day-night international, played under the impressive floodlights of the Beausejour Stadium, but sadly there was little else on display to linger in the memory. Such a landmark match, and a crowd that grew as the sunlight dimmed, deserved far more than what was a contest in name only.
As they had done in the first three matches, Zimbabwe offered little and seemed to have no goal other than survival. It was unappetising stuff, and Brian Lara's captaincy skills were not even tested. He was able to set close fields, switch his bowlers at will, and the batsmen never put any pressure on West Indies.
Terry Duffin's innings typified the problem. Where he might be expected to lead from the front, he struggled to get the ball off the square. When he brought up his fifty - balls rather than runs - he had scored six. By the time he was eventually run-out, his 38 had used up 107 deliveries, almost a third of his team's allocation.
Not that he was alone. One or two tried to push things along. Brendan Taylor did well enough for a man with a limpet for a partner, but it was only some late order biffing from Gregory Strydom that gave Zimbabwe anything remotely like a face-saving total. He twice lofted Dave Mohammed for straight sixes, and almost alone seemed to approach his innings as if it was taking place in a limited-overs game.
West Indies bowled reasonably enough, but in fairness they never had to move out of second gear. Mohammed, on his debut, finished with a creditable 3 for 37 but will have had tougher experiences in club cricket. He used his wrong 'un liberally but it still proved too bewildering for Vusi Sibanda and Blessing Mahwire, while Keith Dabengwa was so bewildered he stepped back and demolished his stumps.
After 40 overs, Zimbabwe were 112 for 7. Strydom gave them an excuse for a weak smile, but the reality is that this was simply not good enough. Someone inside the Zimbabwe camp - and the finger of suspicion is aimed at Kevin Curran, the coach - has decided to go for survival ahead of anything else. While that might have merit at Test level, it is unacceptable in the one-day format, and does little to help a young and woefully inexperienced side.
Both batsmen scored at will, giving Zimbabwe, whose running between the wickets often verged on the comical, an object lesson in how to steal singles with ease. As the finishing line approached, Gayle began to accelerate and there was nothing any of the Zimbabweans could do to stop him, the wretched Dabengwa being particularly punished.
Up to now, Zimbabwe have kept their heads above water. But here their batting was poor and their bowling and fielding went awry. The wheels really looked as if they were wobbling, and one really feels for this young side who have truly been thrown in at the deep end. They face more of the same this weekend.
Piet Rinke c Lara b Taylor 0 (6 for 1)
Sparred limply at wide ball, edged to second slip
Brendan Taylor c Collymore b Bravo 21 (42 for 2)
Flicked off legs to wide mid-on
Vusi Sibanda b Mohammed 4 (48 for 3)
Limp defensive prod to one that didn't turn
Elton Chigumbura c Bravo b Gayle 12 (77 for 4)
Expansive drive edged straight to first slip
Terry Duffin run out (Ramdin) 37
Direct hit by keeper at bowler's end, well short
Keith Dabengwa hit wicket b Mohammed 7 (112 for 6)
Played back and demolished stumps
Blessing Mahwire b Mohammed 0 (112 for 7)
Completely deceived by wrong `un
Tawanda Mupariwa b Taylor 11 (152 for 8)
Heaved across the line
Gregory Strydom b Bravo 48 (152 for 9)
Dragged on slower ball
Anthony Ireland b Bravo 0 (152 for 10)
Straightforward yorker first ball
Martin Williamson is managing editor of Cricinfo