Zimbabwe stun Windies in Twenty20
PORT OF SPAIN: Graeme Cremer captured three wickets for 11 runs as Zimbabwe''s spinners bowled the visitors to a stunning, 26-run victory over West Indies in a Twenty20 International on Sunday.
Zimbabwe exploited West Indies'' susceptibility to spin, as the home team, chasing a modest 106 for victory, was restricted to 79 for seven from their allocation of 20 overs to hand the visitors a win in the only T20I between the two sides in this series.
The Zimbabwe spinners shared all seven wickets with off-spinner Greg Lamb taking two for 14 from his four overs, while their captain Prosper Utseya and left-arm spinner Ray Price took one scalp apiece.
It was a complete reversal of fortunes after Zimbabwe''s batting at Queen''s Park Oval was demolished by Darren Sammy and Sulieman Benn.
Choosing to bat, the visitors were dismissed for 105 in 19.5 overs, as Sammy collected 5-26 from 3.5 overs to trump Benn''s 4-6 from four overs for the third-best figures in a T20I.
Only Umar Gul of Pakistan with 5-6 from three overs against New Zealand in a Twenty20 World Cup match last year at the Oval, and Nehemiah Odhiambo with 5-20 from four overs for Kenya against Scotland earlier this year in Nairobi now have better figures in a T20I than Sammy.
Hamilton Masakadza hit the top score of 44 from 67 balls for the Zimbabweans, and Elton Chigumbura led a late charge with 34 from 19 balls to bring some respectability to the visitors'' total. No other batsman passed 20.
Utseya and Price opened the bowling, and made life difficult for West Indies'' openers Adrian Barath and Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
But Cremer swung the match decisively, when he bowled Kieron Pollard for one, and trapped Darren Bravo lbw for a first-ball duck in the ninth over to leave West Indies 4-32.
Cremer turned villain, when he dropped Chanderpaul, on 16, at wide long-on off Lamb, but his miss was not costly.
Lamb gained a palpable lbw decision over Chanderpaul in the 12th over to leave West Indies 5-39, and though Denesh Ramdin, leading the home team in the absence of resting talisman Chris Gayle, tried to launch a late charge, the result was never in any doubt.
Earlier, Zimbabwe suffered a catastrophic start, when they slumped to 4-11 in the fifth over, after Benn, opening the bowling, removed Vusimuzi Sibanda, Tatenda Taibu, Stuart Matsikenyeri, and Brendan Taylor all for ducks in his spell.
Zimbabwe never fully recovered, although Masakadza and Lamb added 40 for the fourth wicket before Sammy came into the attack and ran through the bottom half of the visitors'' batting.
This was the first T20I between the two sides ever.
The two sides now play five One-day Internationals - the first is next Thursday.