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West Indies v Zimbabwe
Jamaica, 19 March 2007

Test Match Special podcast | Blog

West Indies 204-4 bt Zimbabwe 202-5 by six wickets

Brian Lara guided West Indies into the Super 8 phase with 44 not out as they beat Zimbabwe by six wickets.

Chris Gayle (40) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (21) had given the hosts a good start with an opening stand of 73 before they both edged catches to slip.

Ramnaresh Sarwan and Marlon Samuels also fell, but Lara and Dwayne Bravo saw them home with 13 balls to spare.

Sean Williams (70 not out) and Brendan Taylor (50) had earlier helped Zimbabwe make 202-5 after losing early wickets.


By Tom Fordyce

Now that's how to finish it - Lara finds the middle in style, crashing a four through cover and then belting Elton over midwicket for six. The Windies finally get there despite a spirited effort from Zimbabwe - they're through to the Super 8. Bravo hit 37, Lara 44.

47th over: WI 194-4
Two big moments - first when Lara slashes just past gully at catchable height for two, and then when Bravo heaves wildly - again with his eyes shut - and edges through the vacant first slip area for four.

46th over: WI 187-4
Bravo slices Elton high down to third man, where sub fielder Gary Brent appears to take the catch - only for the bal to pop out of his hands as he hits the deck. Elton can't believe it. Lara then plays and misses twice. Making very heavy weather of this, the Windies.

45th over: WI 184-4
Lara lashes at Mpofu but misses twice on the bounce, one of them a cunning slower one. 19 needed from 30.

44th over: WI 182-4
Elton again, and Lara nearly decapitates him with a vicious off-drive. Bravo then takes one in his most private place, 21 needed from 36 - the Trini pair are seeing the Windies home.

43rd over: WI 178-4
Here we go - Bravo smashes Mpofu through cover for four, and then whacks him over the midwicket boundary for six - where a passing policeman makes a casual catch. The copper then strolls round the boundary high-fiving fans, and pauses to give some serious chat to three young ladies.

42nd over: WI 167-4
Bravo chases Elton but misses with two big heaves. He then gets him away to the midwicket boundary where Williams tidies up in style.

41st over: WI 164-4
Great captain's effort from Prosper - he completes his 10 overs with figures of 1-26. Just two from the over, a flashy drive from Bravo. 39 needed from 54 balls.

40th over: WI 162-4
Elton Chigumbura returns, and at last Lara shows a glimpse of the old style - raking him high over gully for a flashing four. That's his first boundary of the day, which tells you what sort of form he's been in.

39th over: WI 157-4
Three singles off the parsimonious Prosper.

38th over: WI 154-4
Williams drops short and Bravo powers him over midwicket for four - impressively enough, with his eyes shut. Lara continues to nudge and tuck, and the required run-rate drops to 4.3 an over.

37th over: WI 146-4
Lara, who's been scratching around like an old hen, pushes Prosper away fine for three and then takes two more singles.

36th over: WI 140-4
Bravo charges Williams and hoists him into the second tier of the new stand for a big, big six. The run-rate has gradually climbed to 4.5 an over. The main money's still on the hosts, but no-one's paying out yet.

35th over: WI 133-4
Mupa, who apart from those three balls of punishment from Gayle has been extremely tidy, concedes just a single to each batsmen.

34th over: WI 131-4
Sean Williams, the batting hero of Zimbabwe's innings, comes on for a twirl. 72 needed from 96 balls, with Dwayne Bravo the new man in.

33rd over: WICKET - Samuels ct Chibhabha b Mupariwa 28, WI 129-4
Wicket falls

Samuels, clearly as frustrated as everyone else, waves a half-interested drive at Mupa and slices straight to gully. The Windies are making this as hard for themselves as they can.

32nd over: WI 126-3
Lara reaches 1000 runs in World Cup cricket with an uppish drive off Prosper, which makes that the first vaguely exciting over in the last six.

31st over: WI 122-3
Two singles off Mupa. There are people asleep in the party stand. Despite loud music.

30th over: WI 120-3
Three singles. Zero fireworks.

29th over: WI 117-3
Two singles off Mupa, and the game's drifting along at a torpid rate. I'll understand if you want to go for a short stroll to freshen up.

28th over: WI 115-3
Prosper's little off-breaks are tough to get away - he's only conceded seven runs off his four overs so far.

27th over: WI 114-3
Samuels, chewing slowly on his gum, goes onto his front foot and clouts Ireland over midwicket for a four bang off the middle. That's calmed the crowd a bit.

26th over: WI 108-3
Lara off the mark with a single off his opposite number, Prosper. There's more than a few nerves clanging at Sabina Park.

25th over: WICKET Sarwan ct and b Ireland 12, WI 106-3
Wicket falls

They've got it - Sarwan chips a lame return catch to Ireland, and the ground falls eerily silent. Here comes Mr Lara...

24th over: WI 101-2
Singles all round from Prosper, and the 100 comes up. The run-rate required drops under four an over, with the scoring rate over the last five overs above five. Zimbabwe need another wicket soon.

23rd over: WI 97-2
Crack - the returning Ireland lands one on Sarwan's helmet, only for the ball to fly over Taylor behind the stumps and go for four. After removing his lid and rubbing his head reflectively, Sarwan then helps himself to some revenge by creaming a lovely on-drive past Ireland for another four.

22nd over: WI 86-2
Samuels gets the Windies going again with two top-drawer fours through the off-side - one driven square, and the other placed beautifully off the back foot through the ring of fielders.

21st over: WI 78-2
Mpo keeps the pressure on, and Sarwan is still yet to get off the filthy oval.

20th over: WI 76-2
Samuels and Sarwan now together, and the brakes are on. Still, at the same point in Zimbabwe's innings, they were 64-4. So it's not all bad news.

19th over: WICKET Gayle ct Sibanda b Mpofu 40, WI 73-2
Wicket falls

Double the shock - Gayle tries to take his bat away from Mpofu's short one but edges behind to 'keeper Taylor - who palms the ball straight into Sibanda's left hand at slip. Wallop - Zimbabwe are absolutely back in this.

18th over: WICKET Chanderpaul ct Sibanda b Chigumbura 21, WI 73-1
Wicket falls

Shock around Sabina - a fine away-nibber angled across by Elton takes Chanderpaul's edge, and Sibanda takes a good tumbling catch diving forward. Hope blooms afresh for Zimbabwe.

17th over: WI 72-0
Good work again from Prosper - even Gayle can't get him away, despite a large home-made banner being waved in the stand which reads, "Be ware the Gayle force wind" (their punctuation).

16th over: WI 71-0
Elton from the other end, and Chander helps himself to an easy two square and another single. 21 to him, 38 to Gayle.

From Andy in Boston, TMS inbox: "Well, I guess the nudge worked then..."

15th over: WI 66-0
Calm after the storm - skipper Prosper Utseya brings himself on and chills Chander's boots with a tidy maiden.

14th over: WI 66-0
Did I say Gayle was out of form? Well, he was - before he smashed three enormous sixes off the first three balls of Mupa's over. Extraordinary scenes - the first one clears the giant new grandstand, the second lands on the roof of the bar and the third merely lands among the wildly-celebrating spectators. This off a bowler who was 0-2 off his first three overs. Gayle, meanwhile, looks as excited as a man waking up on a deckchair after a pleasant afternoon nap.

13th over: WI 48-0
Elton Chigumbura comes on to replace the unhappy Ireland, and Chander lashes him through cover. That old bat must have been rubbish - he's a Shiv transformed.

12th over: WI 42-0
Chander calls for a new blade - he's barely bothered to use the old one, but the new williow yields instant dividends as he pops Mupa through extra cover for his first four.

11th over: WI 37-0
Ireland, who is sporting highlighted tips in his black hair, is clouted slightly racily through mid-on by Gayle. Probably needs to re-do those highlights - they've virtually grown out. Disappointing barnet decision.

10th over: WI 32-0
Mupariwa's enjoying himself - another maiden, and that gives him figures of 0-2 off his first three overs. Helps that Chander's taking zero risks, of course.

9th over: WI 32-0
That's more like it - three sumptous fours to the relaxing Gayle off the distraught Ireland, and Sabina Park finally comes to life. Sweet timing from Kool Kat.

8th over: WI 20-0
Tell you what - Mupariwa's doing a job here against the circumspect Chander, keeping him concentrating with a useful line just outside off. Not the rapid-fire start the Sabina cru are after.

7th over: WI 20-0
Right old mixed bag from Mpo - when he's on line, he's troubling the opening pair. When he's not, he's giving away three wides.

From Andy in Boston, TMS inbox: "Can you go and give Mr Gayle a nudge please - I've run out of matchsticks from the England game yesterday."

6th over: WI 17-0
Tawanda Mupariwa replaces Ireland, and it's a tasty start - he beats Gayle twice outside off-stump. Gayle's not in great ODI form at the mo, and it shows - no sign yet of the rampaging cavalier we saw in the Champions Trophy last autumn.

5th over: WI 15-0
Better from Mpo, and Shiv goes cautious. Just to make things supa-clear, if the Windies win this match they're through to the next phase of the tournament. I know you knew that, but just in case.

4th over: WI 14-0
Shiv Chanderpaul leans back to Ireland andpops him away for a two and two singles. Lots of time for the man with the black stripes under his eyes.

3rd over: WI 9-0
Mpo strays and Kool-Kat flays - a crunching four square of the wicket.

2nd over: WI 3-0
Anthony Ireland, the unwitting creator of so much chat in the Zimbabwe innings, starts proceedings from the other end. He's tidy enough, too - Kool-Kat Gayle off the mark with a tucked single.

1st over: WI 1-0
Here we go in bright sunshine at Sabina Park - and it's Christopher Mpofu leading the Zimbabwe attack. Leg-bye off the first ball, but no massive threat from Mpo.


50th over: Zim 202-5
There we go - scrambled singles leave Zimbabwe just over the 200 mark, a score which seemed impossible when they were three down for 31 in the 10th over. Williams finishes on 70 not out off 88 balls, Chigumbura 30 off 29. We've got a game on here. Time for a spot of lunch/tea, and we'll be back with the Windies reposte. Looking forward to some Gayle magic, myself.

49th over: Zim 197-5
Smash - Elton finds his groove and batters Samuels for two cracking fours - one pull square off a short one, and the other dragged high over midwicket. Excellent recovery from the underdogs.

48th over: Zim 187-5
Corey C back on, and it's heave-ho time - Williams spirals a top edge down to third man but Powell spills the catch on his third juggle, before Elton jousts bravely but inaccurately at two yorkers.

47th over: Zim 182-5
Taylor edges another four to move to 65, with Elton on 16 off 17 balls. Good little crescendo here.

From Rod Gray, TMS inbox: "Continuing (albeit tenuously) on the theme of cricketing folks with geographical names, did you know that Fordyce is a picturesque little village in north-east Scotland where my sister got married?"
I may go there as soon as I'm done with this commentary, Rod, and claim it as my own. The village, that is, not your sister.

46th over: Zim 172-5
Elton smashes Taylor high over cover for another four.

From Srikanth in, Massachusetts, TMS inbox: "Two wicket-keepers - Lanka de Silva and Lee Germon (I know that's stretching it a bit)."

45th over: Zim 167-5
Sweet striking from Williams again - a delightful lofted cover drive for four. He might be a Skinny Boy, but he sees it big - and he's helping to save his side's innings after that cataclysmic start.

44th over: Zim 158-5
Elton's really going for it - he smashes Taylor straight for a crispy four and then leans back to cut him fine for another. He's a rocket man, this fella. (Writer pauses, reflects on dreadful nature of pun, offers unreserved apology.)

43rd over: Zim 150-5
That's 50

Williams brings his 50 up with an inside edge off Samuel's quicker one which speeds away for four. He shakes hands with Elton and nods at the Zimbabwe balcony.

42nd over: Zim 146-5
Elton Chigumbura to the crease. He nearly plays on to his first ball from Taylor, but looks round to see his stumps have survived. I'm still standing, he probably thinks. Sorry. I know we did the Elton jokes last time.

From Chris Sudall, TMS inbox: "Has anyone said Danish Kaneria of Pakistan yet?"

41st over: WICKET Taylor run out 50, Zim 142-5
Wicket falls

A shocker for Taylor - just after he reaches his half-century, he charges down from the non-striker's end, gets zero response from Williams and is run out by a mile by Bravo strolling in from midwicket. Miserable end to a gutsy innings.

40th over: Zim 140-4
Gayle finishes with 1-32 off his overs. Good work for the cool kid.

From Bob Fox, TMS inbox: "What about Ronnie Irani?"

39th over: Zim 136-4
Taylor's closing in on his 50 - it's been a fine knock for his team.

From Michael May in Toronto, TMS inbox: "There was a Cedric English who played for Scotland, and a Winston English who played for Guyana ."

38th over: Zim 130-4
Tidy again from Gayle. Widespread yawning in the stands.

37th over: Zim 127-4
Williams again drives off the back foot. Update on the canary raincoats - two have disrobed.

36th over: Zim 123-4
Almost - Williams swipe-sweeps at Gayle and gets a bottom edge which races away fine for four. Somnolence in the stands.

35th over: Zim 117-4
Maiden from Marlon. My money's on another suicidal run-out or hoicko here.

34th over: Zim 117-4
Three more singles, and the drinks cart comes on - hopefully rammed with caffeinated beverages. Might have to reach for one myself - those last few overs have left me typing almost horizontal. Nothing to do with pedalo-related activities last night, he says quickly.

33rd over: Zim 114-4
Easy singles again, and no rain so far. Hoods still up for the pessimistic groundstaff.

32nd over: Zim 110-4
Not good news here - the groundstaff have donned their bright yellow knee-length raincoats. And their hoods are up. It's certainly looking grey overhead. The 50 partnership comes up with a casual drive for one from Williams, who looks super-relaxed against the spin-twins.

From Sam in Manchester, TMS inbox: "Bob Holland played Test cricket for Australia against the Windies in 1984, debuting at the age of 38."

31st over: Zim 105-4
On comes fellow tweaker Marlon Samuels. He gives it a touch more air than the dart-throwing Gayle, and Taylor squeezes away two singles.

30th over: Zim 102-4
Gayle, rattling through his over in a most un-Gayle haste, piles the pressure on Taylor - who snaps and calls Williams through for a crazy single. But once again the throw is wide, and the batsman slides in. Nervy times.

From Michael Gale, TMS inbox: "Who can forget Bruce French?"

29th over: Zim 100-4
Another ripper from Williams - he creams Smith through cover for another boundary. Good little fight-back here.

28th over: Zim 92-4
Gayle, sporting large mirrored sunglasses and a chunky black and gold necklace, is driven away by Williams for a well-timed four. Brian Lara then has a great chance to run Williams out but his throw goes a Leverock-width wide.

27th over: Zim 88-4
Good over for Zimbabwe - Taylor, the Matt Holland lookalikey, lofts Smith for a casual straight six. He then calls Williams through for the cheekiest of singles, and looks back in relief as Marlon Samuels' throw from midwicket slides just past the stumps.

25th over: Zim 77-4
25 now to Taylor and 10 to Williams, with a three and a single off Gayle. Slighty overcast at Sabina but no swingage at the mo.

24th over: Zim 73-4
Colly concedes a mere brace of singles before bouncing Taylor to wake up the crowd.

From Amos in Herts, TMS inbox: "The presence of Anthony Ireland in the Zimbabwe team got me to thinking about other players who have turned out for the wrong team. A quick Wisden search reveals that an England (Ernest), a Wales (Ike) and an Ireland (Gary) have all played for Australia, but only the West Indies have had a Scotland (Rupert). Three Irelands have also played for England and one for South Africa, and another England for New Zealand."
Good chat that at a quiet point in the game - anyone think of any more?

24th over: Zim 71-4
Nice again from Gayle - just a single to Taylor, and he's getting twitchy.

23rd over: Zim 70-4
Taylor goes to 21 with a dabber to third man off Collymore. For those of you surprised to see Zimbabwe 570-3 a few overs back, relax - a rogue little finger got a touch too busy on the keyboard for a mo.

22nd over: Zim 68-4
Chris Gayle on for a twirl, and to the appreciation of Kingston crowd, the home-town boy begins with a tweaky maiden.

21st over: Zim 68-4
Williams goes back to push Colly through the off-side for two singles. Up in the stands, a middle-aged fan in a West Indies shirt is fast asleep, his mouth hanging open. His mate on his right, a large pasty white chap, has his shirt casually pulled up to reveal a substantial sausage of belly fat.

20th over: Zim 62-4
Straight from Smith, which just two hurried singles to add on.

From Ryan Powell in Kenton, TMS inbox: "I'm a depressed Jamaican stuck here in London wishing I was back home. Oh what I would give to be in the party stand with a cold Red Stripe and a plate full of jerk chicken right now..."

19th over: Zim 60-4
Skinny left-hander Sean Williams comes to crease. Collymore, sporting a neatly-trimmed goatee, keeps him busy with a tidy selection.

18th over: WICKET Matsikenyeri ct Powell b Dwayne Smith 16, Zim 59-4
Wicket falls

Madness from Matsi - he half-heartedly slaps at an innocent delivery from Dwayne and pops it straight into Powell's pouch at mid-on. It was all going so much better, too...

17th over: Zim 58-3
Nice from Collywobbler - much straighter, although that early spice in the track seems to have worn off. Taylor, who is again sporting a bright red Willie Nelson-style bandana under his helmet, nibbles a single.

16th over: Zim 57-3
Dwayne Smith is thrown the conker, but he has a semi-stinker - two wides and a brace of loose ones which Taylor clips away for a two and single. This pair are doing the job again for their side - if that comment doesn't instantly place large fat mockers on 'em.

15th over: Zim 50-3
The score creeps up thanks to a wide by Collymore as Matsi wafts at a couple of deliveries, nowhere near connecting with them.

From Chris in Milton Keynes, TMS inbox: "Zimbabwe to make 200....and Duran Duran would be Sri Lanka fans, due to the fact they filmed many of their groundbreaking early videos there."

14th over: Zim 49-3
Taylor to Taylor - it's like the Duran Duran dressing-room out there. Four singles to the total.

13th over: Zim 45-3
Corey Collymore into the attack, and Matsi goes after him - sizzling a sweet cover drive between the motionless fielders for the best boundary of the day. Not much email chat so far today - anyone wish to throw in a shout for the final Zim score this arvo?

12th over: Zim 38-3
Matsi chases a wide one and slices away over second slip for four. Not easy out there at the mo - this pair, who did so well against Ireland in that epic tie, know they've got to stay there for a long while.

11th over: Zim 33-3
Brendan Taylor gets a slice of fortune pie as he plays late at Powell and almost plays on again. New batsman Stuart Matsikenyeri nicks a single.

From BBC Sport's Paresh Soni at Sabina Park: "A blunder from the over-officious stewards to report: they apparently asked a fan to remove his West Indies shirt because it bore the name 'Digicel'. The stewards in question thought it was 'ambush marketing', but have been reminded in no uncertain terms that Digicel are in fact the official sponsors of the Windies team."

10th over: WICKET Chibhabha b Taylor 12, Zim 31-3
Wicket falls

The uproar's back - Taylor cleans up Chibbers with a straight, fiery snorter which the little fella plays all round. Just when Zimbabwe were getting off the ropes, too...

9th over: Zim 31-2
Powell nearly sneaks one through Taylor, but a skinny inside edge saves him. The ball whistles down to the fine leg boundary for another four. Fortuitous in the extreme.

8th over: Zim 25-2
Tight and nasty from Taylor for the first four balls, then a wide and fullish one which Chibbers batters through extra cover for the first boundary of the morning.

7th over: Zim 19-2
Chibhabha gets lucky as he chops at Powell and edges just past a diving second slip. When Powell's on target, he's dangerous - but that's only for about three deliveries an over.

6th over: Zim 15-2
Now it's Jerome's turn to stray - three wides in that over, plus a leg bye. Murmurs of discontent from the stands.

5th over: Zim 9-2
Powell strains a tad too hard and sends down two wides. Taylor keeps his cool. Did a good job against Ireland until he was stitched up with that crazy run-out.

4th over: Zim 7-2
Chamu Chibhabha and Brendan Taylor now at the crease, and it's not easy out there - more rapid lift from Jerome T. Taylor jabs down on one and squirts away a single.

3rd over: WICKET Sibanda b Powell 1, Zim 2-2
Wicket falls

Double the uproar - Powell laces one straight through dangerman Sibanda, and the stumps are shattered again.

2nd over: WICKET Kasteni b Taylor 0, Zim 0-1
Wicket falls

Uproar at Sabina Park - Jamaican tyro Jerome Taylor dips one right through Friday Kasteni's gaping gate and blows his timbers apart.

1st over: Zim 0-0
Daren Powell opens up to Vusi Sibanda, who looked Zimbabwe's best batsmen against Ireland last Thursday - and it's a pacey, bouncy maiden. Useful.

1428 GMT: An impeccably-observed minute's silence for Bob Woolmer. The players, who are wearing black armbands in Woolmer's memory, stand with heads bowed.

1420 GMT: A little bit of info about the track at Sabina Park - it's pretty grassless, but looks fairly good - shouldn't be too many shockers for the batsmen. Lara's been explaining his decision to have a bowl - he reckons there'll be a little something for his bowlers early on.

1410 GMT: Afternoon, evening or morning, depending on where you are - first slice of chat from Sabina Park is that Brian Lara has won the toss and decided to field. Which means, amateur sleuths, that Zimbabwe will bat first.


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