Windies edge battling Zimbabwe to clinch series

KINGSTOWN: West Indies defeated Zimbabwe by four wickets on Friday to wrap-up the one-day series after the visiting side suffered another batting meltdown.

Dwayne Bravo undermined Zimbabwe with four wickets for 21 runs, to leave the West Indies to chase a modest 142 for a victory that gave them an unbeatable 3-1 lead in the five-match series.

But Zimbabwe''s spinners almost brought their side back into the match before left-armer Ray Price delivered a leg-side wide to Narsingh Deonarine to formalise the result for West Indies with a massive 93 balls to spare.

"I am happy with the result because we have won the series, and have not won a series for a long time," said West Indies captain Chris Gayle.

"We will take this victory and this series win with both hands because it has been a team effort - everyone has played some part."

He added: "There are still some things for us to work on, but we will try to improve our cricket as much as possible in future matches."

Leg-spinner Graeme Cremer was the pick of the Zimbabwe bowlers with three wickets for 34 runs.

The visitors, sent in to bat on a lively Arnos Vale Multiplex pitch, had been dismissed for 141 in 48.2 overs.

Elton Chigumbura hit the top score of 42 from 78 balls, but no other Zimbabwe batsman passed 20.

"It wasn''t the best pitch for ODI cricket, even though we tried our best, there was still not enough runs on the board," said Zimbabwe captain Prosper Utseya.

The last ODI will be played at the same venue on Sunday.

Zimbabwe were put on the back-foot early, when Gayle hit four fours and two sixes in 32 from 20 balls to give the West Indies a flourishing start in their reply.

Greg Lamb made the breakthrough, when he had the West Indies captain caught at long-off in the seventh over.

Chigumbura then had Shivnarine Chanderpaul caught at mid-on for two, as West Indies stumbled to 51 for two in the 10th over.

Cremer increased the pressure, when he removed Adrian Barath caught behind for 25, Denesh Ramdin lbw for 12, and Bravo caught at slip for six to leave West Indies 101 for five in the 23rd over.

But the Zimbabweans couldn''t take full advantage of the West Indies'' stumble, as Deonarine, with the top score of 32 not out, and Kieron Pollard carried the hosts to within reach of their target with a stand of 38 for the sixth wicket.

Timycen Maruma held a low return catch to scalp Pollard for 22 before Price''s wayward delivery brought the end.

Earlier, Zimbabwe dipped to 88 for seven in the 31st over, but Chigumbura added a valuable 41 for the eighth wicket with Cremer to add some beef to their total.

Chigumbura was caught at deep square leg off Darren Sammy in the 44th over, as Zimbabwe lost their last three wickets for 12 runs in the space of 28 balls.

The visitors had suffered an early setback, when Hamilton Masakadza was caught behind off Ravi Rampaul for a duck in the second over.

The dismissals of Tim Maruma and Brendan Taylor in the space of eight balls left them wobbling on 38 for three in the 10th over.

Maruma was caught low down at gully for nine off Bravo, and Taylor was spectacularly bowled for one with an off-cutter from Ravi Rampaul which extracted the leg-stump.

Zimbabwe were then left reeling on 53 for five, when Vusimuzi Sibanda was run out for 11 in the 14th over, and three overs later, Stuart Matsikenyri was also bowled for one with an off-cutter from Bravo.

The slide continued for Zimbabwe, when Tatenda Taibu was caught at third man off Bravo for 14 in the 19th over, and Lamb made 12 before he gave a simple return catch to left-arm spinner Nikita Miller.