West Indies 206 for 3 (King 112, Brooks 44) beat UAE 202 (Naseer 52, Paul 3-34) by seven wickets
A classy 112 from Brandon King
and a three wicket-haul from Keemo Paul
powered West Indies to a resounding victory as they chased down 203 with 88 balls to spare against UAE, in the first of the three-match ODIs in sultry Sharjah on Sunday. While Paul was playing an ODI after almost a year, King marked his promotion to vice-captaincy with a match-winning performance.
Kicking off a new era for West Indies under new captain Shai Hope and new head coach Daren Sammy, the visitors looked untroubled chasing in testing conditions, on a pitch offering turn and uneven bounce. The win comes as a boost to West Indies as they prepare for the ODI World Cup Qualifier later this month in Zimbabwe.
King's maiden ODI hundred came off 107 deliveries and he also stitched a crucial 91-run match-defining stand for the second wicket with Shamarh Brooks to crush UAE. Highlights of his innings included his three clean sixes against legspinner Karthik Meiyyappan in the 34th over of the innings. Overall, he hit 12 fours and four sixes.
West Indies started the chase on a brisk note with five runs an over and maintained the run rate throughout their innings. Though it was not a difficult target on paper, West Indies had to play on a tough pitch in humid conditions. After losing Johnson Charles early for 24, Brooks played a supporting role with his 44 off 58 deliveries. Left-arm spinner Aayan Khan was able to keep West Indies at bay for some time, but it wasn't enough to stop King. With Keacy Carty, he put on 54 runs with 47 of those runs coming off his bat.
Hope hit two consecutive sixes off Meiyappan in the 36th over to seal the deal for his side.
Debutant Ali Naseer's fifty steers UAE to 202
A fighting fifty from teen debutant Ali Naseer
helped UAE put 202 on board after a collapse in the middle order.
Winning the toss and opting to bat, UAE lost both openers inside the first three overs. Paul struck in his second ball when he bowled the home captain Muhammad Waseem for a duck. Left-arm pace bowler Dominic Drakes, who made his West Indies debut alongside spin allrounder Kavem Hodge on Sunday, then picked up his first ODI wicket by breaking through the defence of Aryansh Sharma in his second over.
Vriitya Aravind took his time but stabilised the innings with a 70-ball 40, assembling a partnership of 31 off 54 with Rameez Shahzad for the third wicket. The stand was broken when Rameez had to retire hurt in the 12th over following a blow on his helmet off Odean Smith's bowling. Aravind hit a few elegant cover drives and put on 44 runs with Asif Khan for the fourth wicket before being dismissed by legspinner Yannic Cariah when he nicked the ball to the wicketkeeper. He also became UAE's highest run-getter in ODIs
with this knock.
From 100 for 2, UAE suffered a collapse of four wickets for 29 runs. This included the wicket of Rameez, who returned to bat after retiring hurt. Cariah was tough to score off in the middle overs and conceded just 26 runs in his seven overs. UAE, though, bounced back in the final phase of the innings, courtesy of Naseer.
Coming in at No. 7, the left-hand batter provided the late push needed to cross the 200-mark. Naseer, 19, showed determination with little support from the other end and went after the left-arm spinner Hodge, hammering two sixes in the 41st over, one over midwicket and another - a slog sweep over wide long-on en route his half-century. Smith, Drakes and Hodge then kept him quiet for a few overs before Naseer holed out to long-off - Paul's slow offcutter from outside off stump doing the trick. His 52-ball 58 knock consisted of five fours and two sixes.
For West Indies, Drakes, Smith, and Cariah ended with two each and Roston Chase took one.
Srinidhi Ramanujam is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo