West Indies' two-run defeat to Zimbabwe in the one-day series opener, after the tourists won the one-off Twenty20, has left the captain Chris Gayle shaking his head at the dismissals of three key batsmen. West Indies, chasing 255, came up short by two runs after they lost Kieron Pollard and Dinesh Ramdin to loose shots and then Dwayne Smith in a double-wicket final over, and that left Gayle a frustrated leader.
"In the Australia series, I saw improvements in the likes of [Kieron] Pollard and Smith. To come here ... and the way they went about it, I must say I am very disappointed in those two guys and Ramdin,' Gayle said after the match. "Those guys were key for us and the way they went about it was a terrible display. It is very disappointing and sad to see how they went about it."
Smith was bowled by the debutant Shingirai Masakadza with four runs needed off the last three balls, while Pollard and Denesh Ramdin had succumbed to loose shots as Zimbabwe turned up the heat on West Indies. "When you do crap, it's definitely crap and there is no excuse," said Gayle. "Guys have to take responsibility out there in the middle. It is just sad and disappointing."
Gayle handed credit where it was due, aware that rankings - Zimbabwe sit below West Indies on the ICC's table - mattered little. "Zimbabwe are here to win. There is no way we can under estimate them. We saw what they have to offer in the Twenty20," he said. "Zimbabwe have beaten Australia. It is not a team that we are taking for granted. They are here to win just like us and credit must go to them. The way they pushed and ran hard between the wickets showed how hungry and determined they are."
Prosper Utseya, the Zimbabwe captain, was delighted with the result, but hoped that his side could sustain the form for the rest of the tour. "I'm very proud of the guys. It was a very good team effort, and it was important that we keep the momentum going.
"I said after we won the toss it was the average score when West Indies played here last year against England, so we just believed in ourselves that we could get 250, and with the way we're bowling at the moment it would be enough," Utseya said.
Despite inflicting two shock defeats on the hosts, Utseya was guarded against complacency. "West Indies are still a good side. We still respect them. For us to beat them, we need to make sure that we play hard, remain focussed, pay attention to the small things, and remain disciplined."
Zimbabwe found an unlikely hero in debutant Shingirai Masakadza who came back after going for ten runs off the first two balls of the final over to finish off in style, striking twice and conceding just one off the last three. Utseya was all praise for the youngster's composure in the tight finish.
"He managed to remain calm under pressure, and that was key, so he can learn from that going into the next game. Of course, he will have many more moments like this in his career," Utseya said.