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West Indies - Alive and Kicking

By Ray Sundar

March 13th, 2010
Holy Eureka! All's well! The boys in maroon have won. Finally, after what seems like an eternity, the West Indies whipped a team. Oh, never mind that the Zimbabweans, wallowing at the bottom of the ladder, are the unfortunate victims. They will have to answer to Mugabe for their transgressions. Maybe he will take a page from the Pakistanis.

Who would have thought a change in venue, from Providence, Guyana to Arnos Vale Ground, St. Vincent would bring about such a metamorphosis, play such a meaningful role in this series. Seems as though all the right cords were strung.

Chris Gayle won the toss and invited Utseya to bat - the conventional wisdom being the remaining moisture will assist the bowlers. The Trini pair of Rampaul and Bravo proved this assessment to be correct as they fully exploited it, successfully. Roach's ineffective first over yielded 10 runs - 4 leg byes and 6 wides and, fortunately, not a portent of things to come. Rampaul struck early, firing a shortish, rising ball, catching Masakadza out of position as he offered a simple catch to 'keeper' Ramdeen for 0.

By the end of the fifth over Zimbabwe was on 23 for the loss of 1 wicket. Roach yielded 15 runs in 3 overs and Rampaul1 run in 2 overs. Bravo's introduction into the attack paid immediate dividends as Maruma lofted an easy catch off the first delivery to Sammy. Rampaul struck again, in the 9th over with the score on 38, as he sent Taylor's off stump flying. Except for Chigumbura who scored 42 with 2x4's and 3 'luvly' 6's, the rest of the Zimbabweans retired meekly, slumping badly to 141, as Bravo picked up an additional 3 wickets. He took 4/21 and Rampaul 2/21. Interestingly, the 2nd highest scorer was extras - 26.

Chasing 142 for victory and some much needed relief, West Indies knocked off the required runs in 34.3 overs. An opening stand of 46 set them up nicely, though they encountered some anxious moments when the spinners were brought in. Gayle's brisk 32 off 20 deliveries, contained 4x4's and 2x6's. In the 3rd over, he ripped Chigumbura asunder, clobbering 2x4's and 2x6's. In the 5th over against Lamb, he slammed 2x4's. A man on a mission? Certainly! Getting the 800 pound gorilla off his back was an absolute necessity.

Barath contributed a quiet 25. Deonarine, the lucky one, saw them to victory with a patient 32 not out. The winning run? A wide. Cremer was the pick of the bowlers, taking 3/34 as Bravo carted off the man of the match award. Uncork the champagne, bring out the rum punch, let's have a party. The West Indies cricket team is alive and kicking!

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