Zimbabwe fight back to stun the West Indies
The West Indies miserable run of Twenty20 International defeats continued after they were comprehensively beaten by Zimbabwe at the Queen's Park Oval in the Port of Spain despite the visitors suffering an horrific batting display.
The victory for Zimbabwe was well earned but question marks will hang over the West Indies after they had reduced Zimbabwe to 0-3 at the start of the game. Zimbabwe battled back thanks to fine batting from Stuart Matsikenyeri (44) and Elton Chigumbura (34) to set the West Indies a target of 106 for victory.
The West Indies should have made light work of the run chase but they were guilty of some appalling batting with allowed Zimbabwe to force their way on top to claim the historic victory.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul (20) and Denesh Ramdin (23) were the only players to offer any resistant’s as the West Indies top order repeated Zimbabwe’s opening collapse.
Adrian Barath (8), Andre Fletcher (0), Kieron Pollard (1) and Dwayne Barvo (0) were all punished for playing poor shots to leave the West Indies 32-4 and under pressure.
With Chanderpaul and Ramdin at the crease the West Indies should have gone on to win the game despite the lose of 4 early wickets but Zimbabwe were determined not to let their grip on the game loosen.
The partnership between Chanderpaul and Ramdin only produced 7 runs before Chanderpaul was trapped LBW by Greg Lamb to end the West Indies chances of victory leaving the hosts 39-5.
With the West Indies already playing like a beaten side Dwayne Smith (12) and Darren Sammy (2) offered little in the way of fight leaving stand in skipper Ramdin 23 not out and Zimbabwe celebrating a famous 26 run victory.
Earlier, after winning the toss, Zimbabwe’s first Twenty20 International in 16 months turned into a Caribbean nightmare against the West Indies as Sulieman Benn ripped through the top order taking four wickets.
Benn produced a stunning opening spell taking three wickets without conceding a run inside the first three overs to leave a shell shock Zimbabwe 0-3 and in a very large hole.
Benn bowled Vusi Sibanda with the first ball of the game before trapping Tatenda Taibu LBW and then two balls later he picked up the wicket of Stuart Matsikenyeri who was caught by wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin.
After suffering a torrid time in Australia against David Warner and Shane Watson the West Indies took their frustrations out on a very inexperienced Zimbabwe batting line up who were unable to offer any sort of challenge.
It took the visitors 21 balls to finally score a run thank to Hamilton Masakadza who drive a shot through mid on run pick up two runs, he followed it up with a four through the covers to restore some pride for Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe’s joy didn’t last too long as Benn picked up his fourth wicket of the innings after he bowled Brandon Taylor (0) to leave the visitors 11-4 at the end of the fourth over.
With four partners already back in the dug out opener Masakadza remained at the crease and was joined by Greg Lamb but the pair knew they were already fighting a lost cause. Masakadza took on the role as the senior partner with Lamb playing a superb supporting role.
The pair built an impressive 5th wicket partnership of 40 before Lamb (11) completely misjudged the speed of a slow ball from Darren Sammy which knocked his middle stump out of the ground.
The partnership between Masakadza and Lamb rescured Zimbabwe after they had suffered one the worst starts to an innings in Twenty20 International history.
Masakadza continued his rearguard defence moving onto to 44 before he was caught by Ramdin off the bowling of Kieron Sammy to leave Zimbabwe 74-6.
With Masakadza gone it was left to Elton Chigumbura (34) to guide the visitors past 100 despite Sammy ripping through the tail enders taking 3 wickets in the last over to leave the West Indies chasing 106 for victory.