Gayle force destroys Zimbabwe
by AFP

Ground:Sardar Patel Stadium, Motera, Ahmedabad
Scorecard:West Indies v Zimbabwe
Player:JE Taylor, WS Kendall, CH Gayle
Event:ICC Champions Trophy 2006/07

DateLine: 8th October 2006


Chris Gayle grabbed three wickets in 13 balls and hammered 41 off 34 balls as the West Indies whipped Zimbabwe by nine wickets in a Champions Trophy qualifying match here on Sunday.


Gayle took 3-3 in 3.1 overs with his off-spin and seamers Jerome Taylor and Dwayne Smith picked up two wickets each as Zimbabwe were shot out for 85, the third lowest total in the biennial tournament.


The West Indies, hoping to defend the Champions Trophy they won in England in 2004, coasted past the modest target in the 15th over after left-handed Gayle smashed seven boundaries and a six.


Gayle, who contributed 41 in a first wicket stand of 66 with Shivnarine Chanderpaul, holed out in the deep against Elton Chigumbura in the 10th over.


But West Indian captain Brian Lara (24 not out) and Chanderpaul (14 not out) ensured the match ended before the scheduled dinner break even as the lights were being switched on at the Motera stadium.


Lara smashed his counterpart Prosper Utseya for two consecutive sixes to bring an early end to the one-sided contest.


"We came here to win the game emphatically and I think we did that," the 37-year-old West Indian captain said.


"It does not matter what the opposition is. I thought we fielded and bowled great. In batting, we went out and showed purpose which was very important.


"The confidence we take from this game will work for us in future."


Utseya, the Zimbabwean captain, said his side was capable of performing better.


"We tried to play too many shots, too early," he said. "I am disappointed not because we lost, but because did not play at our best."


The 21-year-old Utseya, who beat Lara at the toss and elected to take first strike in good batting conditions, top-scored for his side with 27.


Zimbabwe were in danger of falling below the lowest-ever Champions Trophy total of 65 by the United States against Australia in 2004 when they slipped to 58-7 by the 19th over.


But Utseya and Anthony Ireland prevented that humiliation by adding 24 for the eighth wicket, the highest partnership in the dismal innings.


Only Bangladesh among the Test-playing nations have fared worse in the tournament, making 77 against New Zealand in Colombo in 2002.


The Zimbabweans played into Lara's hands as eight batsmen failed to reach double figures. Two ran themselves out attempting risky singles.


The beleaguered African nation, who lost the services of top stars like Andy Flower and Heath Streak due to political turmoil in the cricket administration at home, have fallen below 100 for the eighth time in one-day internationals.


The rout on Sunday followed a 5-0 hammering suffered by Zimbabwe against Lara's men in the West Indies in April.


Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are the other two teams in the round-robin qualifying league where the top two will advance to the main tournament starting on October 15.


Sri Lanka defeated Bangladesh in the opening match of the tournament in Mohali on Saturday.


The six direct entries in the limited-overs event are Australia, South Africa, India, Pakistan, New Zealand and England.


The West Indies next play Bangladesh in Jaipur on Wednesday. Zimbabwe take on Sri Lanka here on Tuesday.

(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)


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