West Indies clinch ODI series against Zimbabwe

Published: Friday, December 7, 2007, 22:21 [IST]
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West Indies won the fourth one-day international against Zimbabwe by five wickets on Friday to take an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match series.

Five swift wickets from man-of-the-match Jerome Taylor restricted Zimbabwe to 232-9, a target reached by the injury-depleted visitors with five wickets and three overs to spare at the Queens Sports club.

The West Indian cause was helped by a third-wicket batting partnership of 105 runs by Runako Morton (79) and Marlon Samuels (62).

Zimbabwe should have made a better showing with the bat but for a leisurely approach by their opening batsmen, whose combined efforts brought no fewer than 167 runs, but from a combined total of 235 balls.

Vusimusi Sibanda and Hamilton Masakadza's total beat by six runs the previous highest first wicket partnership for Zimbabwe set by brothers Grant and Andy Flower in 1997.

Sibanda was finally run out 96, just short of his second ODI century and Masakadza hit 80.

But they took 36 overs to achieve their tally, at only 4.8 runs per over, forcing the batsmen who followed to try and rack up the pace in a bid to reach a challenging total.

However, the bat-throwing Tatenda Taibu was out first ball, Elton Chigumbura in four and Justice Chibhabha in three.

Zimbabwe lost nine wickets in the remaining 14 overs, five of them to Taylor, whose policy of bowling mainly yorkers paid handsome dividends.

Morton's 79 brought his total runs in the series to 250, giving him an average of 62.5. Samuels, and Bravo with 41 in 41 balls, gave him effective backup.

It had looked more than promising for Zimbabwe when Devon Smith fell first ball, but even without Chris Gayle and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, absent with injuries, there was never a sense of crisis for West Indies.

Zimbabwe's most successful bowler was captain Prosper Utseya with 3-40. The Zimbabwe bowling was generally tight but they dropped four simple catches.

The final ODI is scheduled for here Sunday with the West Indies tour moving on next to South Africa.

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