West Indies v Zimbabwe, 1st ODI, Providence March 4, 2010

Zimbabwe hold nerve for two-run win

Zimbabwe 254 for 5 (Sibanda 95, Taibu 56) beat West Indies 252 for 9 (Chanderpaul 70, Gayle 57, Barath 50, S Masakadza 3-36)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How they were out

It's not often that a bowler with an economy rate of 12 is a team's hero. Shingirai Masakadza was, though, and that too on his debut, when he secured Zimbabwe their first ODI win in the Caribbean by conceding only one run in the final three deliveries of a game that the visitors somehow contrived to convert into a close one after being in control for large parts.

For much of the home side's batting, it was death by spin again, just as in their defeat in Sunday's Twenty20. A solid Zimbabwe batting effort, led by a watchful Vusi Sibanda and an innovative Tatenda Taibu, was backed up by their slow-bowling armada on a sluggish track in Providence to extend West Indies' winless streak.

Zimbabwe seemed to have the match in hand when their four frontline spinners bowled out by the 46th over, leaving West Indies needing 45 off the final four, with five wickets down and the Powerplay used up. Five tight deliveries from Elton Chigumbura made it an even tougher 41 off 19, before a big no-ball was slammed for a straight six by Shivanrine Chanderpaul and two more taken off the free-hit.

Three overs to go, two of which Zimbabwe's debutant bowler had to send down. This, after Masakadza's first over in ODIs had been lashed for 14 runs. After Chanderpaul hopped across the stumps and got down on one knee to paddle an outside off ball over short fine leg for four, on his way to ten runs off the first four balls, the target became a gettable 22 off 14. Masakadza eased the Zimbabwe nerves by getting Chanderpaul to hole out to long-off next ball, and finished off the over with a dot ball.

Again, the match looked to be a lock for Zimbabwe when Chigumbura send down five deliveries for three runs and removed Denesh Ramdin in the penultimate over, but Dwayne Smith slugged a four off the last ball to make it 15 off the final over, to be bowled by Masakadza.

There were still twists to come. First, Nikita Miller whittled down the target to five off four with a swipe over midwicket for six followed by a streaky four to third man. Masakadza couldn't have asked for a tougher initiation to top-flight cricket. A single brought Smith on strike, before Masakadza bowled him and then had Sulieman Benn dismissed by an under-pressure, low catch from Greame Cremer running in from deep midwicket. Four required off the final ball; Masakadza coolly served up perhaps the best ball of his spell, a yorker that could only be dug out to mid-on to spark off massive Zimbabwean celebrations.

It was his brother, Hamilton, who kicked off an impressive day for Zimbabwe with a brisk 41 in a slow-and-steady opening stand of 67 with Sibanda. Despite his hitting, the run-rate was dawdling at about three an over because of a struggling Sibanda, who consumed 162 deliveries for his 95, the longest sub-100 innings since Aamer Sohail's 167-ball 87 in 1993.

It hardly looked like Sibanda would survive so long during his uncertain start to the innings, fresh from a golden duck on Sunday. He had a fortunate edge over slips for four early on, and the umpire didn't spot him glove a delivery to the keeper in the 17th over from Kieron Pollard. Between the chances, he barely managed to get the ball away, scoring mainly in singles.

It was the arrival of Taibu that energised the Zimbabwe batting, with his assortment of sweeps and reverse-sweeps taking him to a quick half-century, and putting on a century stand with the resolute Sibanda. That took the visitors to an imposing 167 for 1 in 37 overs, and despite the exit of Taibu, Sibanda and the big-hitting Chigumbura launched an assault that yielded 80 off the final ten overs to push Zimbabwe past 250.

The West Indies chase got off to a promising start: the returning captain, Chris Gayle, and Adrian Barath following the template set by the Zimbabwean openers - Gayle played the Hamilton Masakadza role, scoring the bulk of the runs, and Barath laid down anchor like Sibanda - to progress to 96 for 0 after 22 against some accurate Zimbabwe spin.

With Gayle confidently playing the reverse-sweep, a shot he rarely uses, to bring up his half-century, West Indies were well placed, but offspinner Greg Lamb, the best of the Zimbabwe bowlers, trapped him lbw soon after, when he played down the wrong line. Barath also fell not long after reaching his half-century, and a couple of run-outs placed the responsibility on Chanderpaul and Pollard.

With Chanderpaul unable to find the boundaries early on - he took 48 balls before hitting his first - and Pollard hardly at ease, the asking-rate spiralled above eight by the 41st over. Pollard holed out to mid-on in the 43rd, the first of the Powerplay overs, and though Chanderpaul battled hard, he couldn't pull it off and neither could the West Indies lower-order.

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on March 5, 2010, 16:55 GMT

    Really happy to see Zimbabwe on the up. West Indies cricket needs correcting from the bottom up - from schools and cllubs to the regional level. We have a bunch of ordinary players we regard as superstars. Nothing short of a total reconstruction of WI cricket is needed.

  • budirirai on March 5, 2010, 16:43 GMT

    the best is yet to come. wait till they reach their late 20s. test cricket here we come

  • Arun on March 5, 2010, 14:02 GMT


  • Tafadzwa on March 5, 2010, 13:24 GMT

    and you thought the twenty20 result was a fluke. Zim will win the series 4-1 and im better at predictions than gayle.

  • Sathish on March 5, 2010, 12:02 GMT

    WI is becoming worse day by day...Pull them out from tests.they r not deserved to play test matches. now this is weakend WI.... ?????????

  • Arul on March 5, 2010, 11:41 GMT

    I feel sorry for WI. This not because of WI lost to Zim. Their quality is gone. They have same good players they had few years ago. Once brutal domiant team, but now? may god save WI. ZIM team is really raising. They have all the chance to get back in to test. Young talented team gaining experience. I think there is no turning back... You are doing it... Come on ZIM !!!. There is a simlarity of what is happening in WI cricket and what had happened in ZIM cricket years back.

  • Vielspass on March 5, 2010, 10:34 GMT

    Yo..thumbs up ZIM It was heartening to see the players perform so gud with the coaching staff viz. Heath Streak, Dave Houghton, Campbell etc. looking on .. They would be proud of their boys..Go ZIM thrash the Windies 4-1 if not 5-0

  • Dummy4 on March 5, 2010, 7:38 GMT

    well done boys. Now West Indies ought to pull out from playing test matches. They are as bad as Zim.

  • Leslie on March 5, 2010, 7:35 GMT

    now the sleeping african Giant has finally dicded to arise! Thumbs up to zimbabwe and its techinical department. as for WI, something needs to be done urgently otherwise a series whuitewash awaits them!

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