Windies want clean sweep against Zimbabwe

Published: Friday, May 12, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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PORT OF SPAIN (AFP):West Indies are eyeing a clean sweep, when they contest the last two One-day internationals in their seven-match series against Zimbabwe on Saturday and Sunday at Queen's Park Oval.

West Indies hold an unbeatable 4-0 lead in the seven-match series, after enjoying back-to-back victories by five wickets and 98 runs in the first two matches at St. John's, an 82-run win last Sunday at Georgetown, and a 10-wicket triumph on Wednesday at Gros Islet.

The third match also scheduled for Georgetown last Saturday was cancelled because of rain and a waterlogged Bourda Oval outfield.

"We do not need to take a step backwards now, after taking two forward, so we are looking for more victories and more convincing victories in the last two ODIs," remarked West Indies captain Brian Lara.

"Hopefully, these matches will be the start of something to come. We have a very important series, starting next Thursday against India, and the next 200 overs of ODIs against Zimbabwe, we must execute pretty well."

Lara acknowledged that the victory in St. Lucia was something for which he had been looking since the beginning of the series.

"I told the guys from the beginning that if we were batting second in any of the matches, we should try to achieve our target in less than 35 overs, and if we are bowling second, we should try to win the games by 100 runs," he said.

"I think we are playing good cricket, although we were a little bit slow in the field, but we still achieved what we wanted to do. I think (Chris) Gayle and (Sewnarine) Chattergoon batted really well in that game, especially Chris who seems to be coming into some form.

"Others like (Ramnaresh) Sarwan, and myself, have not got a chance yet to make a big score. Hopefully, we will get big scores this weekend, and enter the ODI series against India with some confidence under our belts.

Asked if the Zimbabweans have been adequate preparation for the series against the Indians starting next week, Lara asserted that there is no replacement for match practice.

"I think most importantly we are all professionals and whatever we can get out of this series is good preparation for us," he said. "I think confidence is most important for any West Indies team during this point in time.

"Our backs have been against the wall lately, and we have been losing a lot of matches both in Tests and ODI, so whoever we can play against and win to build up a winning sequence is important for us.

"I think the guys know that we can compete and beat India because we have done it in the past in India and the West Indies, so it is just a matter of getting mentally and physically ready and getting the confidence up."

Terrence Duffin, the Zimbabwe captain, continued to emphasise that his side was on a learning curve and they have been learning some hard lessons.

"We just have to keep working and keep trying to do the basics and, hopefully, a win will come," he said.

Zimbabwe are set to contest a triangular ODI series with 2007 ICC World Cup qualifiers Bermuda and Canada in Trinidad between May 16 and 20, and Duffin feels the series against West Indies will toughen his side up.

"We will go into the triangular competition with Bermuda and Canada with the experience we have gained from this series," he said. "This series will be a big help for us and, hopefully, we can prove something there."

West Indies have announced that wicketkeeper/batsman Carlton Baugh, Jr., and left-arm medium-fast bowler Ian Bradshaw have been brought into the squad for the two ODIs.

Baugh has been recalled to the West Indies side for the time since the tour of England two years ago in place of Denesh Ramdin, who is being rested ahead of the upcoming series against India.

Bradshaw played in the first two ODIs. He gains a place ahead of Chattergoon, who struck an undefeated half-century in only his second ODI in St. Lucia.

Zimbabwe will continue to monitor the fitness of Justice Chibhabha, their leading run scorer on the tour so far, before making any decisions about his selection.

Zimbabwe's heaviest ODI series defeat was a 5-0 whitewash against Sri Lanka at the height of the rebel saga two years ago.


West Indies (from): Brian Lara (captain), Carlton Baugh, Jr., Ian Bradshaw, Dwayne Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Corey Collymore, Fidel Edwards, Chris Gayle, Dave Mohammed, Runako Morton, Marlon Samuels, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Dwayne Smith, Jerome Taylor.

Zimbabwe (from): Terrence Duffin (captain), Justice Chibhabha, Elton Chigumbura, Charles Coventry, Keith Dabengwa, Ryan Higgins, Anthony Ireland, Blessing Mahwire, Keegan Meth, Tawanda Mupariwa, Piet Rinke, Vusimuzi Sibanda, Gregory Strydom, Brendan Taylor, Prosper Utseya.

Umpires: Steve Bucknow, Billy Bowden, TV replays: Billy Doctrove

Match referee: Chris Broad

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