Zimbabwe fall to Gayle's onslaught

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The Independent Online

Chris Gayle excelled with bothbat and ball as the West Indies trounced Zimbabwe by eight wickets in Harare yesterday to win the fifth one-day international and secure the series 3-2.

Gayle, who has been in excellent form throughout the series, took 4 for 24 to help limit Zimbabwe to 196 all out, and then led the run chase, blazing his way to an unbeaten 112. The opening batsman needed only 69 balls to bring up his century, the joint-ninth fastest in one-day internationals, and finished with two sixes and 17 fours.

He received good support from his captain, Brian Lara, who made 41 at almost a run a ball before being bowled by Sean Ervine, while Ricardo Powell was with him at the end as the West Indies secured victory with more than 24 overs in hand.

Gayle's showing capped a memorable series for the young left-hander who averaged almost 130 with the bat from the five games and also took seven wickets, a record only bettered by his team-mate Fidel Edwards and Zimbabwe's Andy Blignaut, who both finished with eight. Gayle was named as both man of the match and the man of the series.

After winning the toss, Zimbabwe had reached 107 for 2 by the 23rd over. Vusi Sibanda was run out by Powell in the 10th over and Barney Rogers clipped seven fours in his 34 before being caught behind by the wicketkeeper, Ridley Jacobs, off the bowling of Merv Dillon in the 13th over.

Gayle then turned the game in West Indies' favour by dismissing Craig Wishart, Alester Maregwede, who was out for a fifth-ball duck on his debut, and Mark Vermeulen in the space of four overs to leave Zimbabwe on 111 for 5.

Heath Streak, the Zimbabwe captain, scored a patient 30, but in the 44th over he lifted a drive to Lara at mid-off to earn Edwards his first wicket. Two overs later, Powell had Blignaut stumped by Jacobs, and the innings ended three overs after that when Edwards trapped Ray Price in front.

Edwards, who took five wickets on his Test debut against Sri Lanka earlier this year, had been the star of the show on Saturday when the West Indies levelled the series with a 72-run win in a rain-affected match. The young paceman took 6 for 22 and became only the 14th bowler to take a wicket with his first ball in a one-day internationals when he bowled Barney Rogers for a first-ball duck.

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