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1 Apr 2000 (Sean Beynon)

West Indies win by 87 runs

West Indies maintained their dominance over Zimbabwe at Sabina Park yesterday, as they beat Zimbabwe by 87 runs. A huge crowd saw their heroes reduce Zimbabwe to 150 all out. Zimbabwe lost their last eight wickets for just 38 runs in a show of unbelievable incompetence.

On a pitch offering life for the fast bowlers, it always looked likely that Zimbabwe would struggle to chase 238 with the WIndies boasting a quartet of pacemen.

Saying this, the day couldn't have started better for Zimbabwe. There were some worries about the pitch, which had a fair deal of moisture under the surface to try and compensate for the drought in Jamaica at the moment. Without hesitation, on winning the toss, Andy Flower elected to field. Sherwin Campbell thumped two boundaries backward of square in the first two overs.

Although the pair, who open together for Barbados, rotated the strike well, Wallace never looked comfortable. Henry Olonga sent him packing in the eighth over. Wallace missed a full, straight ball, and saw his leg stump cartwheel. Chris Gayle, too did not last long, as he nibbled at a ball outside the off stump in Brent's first over. Andy Flower gleefully claimed a simple catch, to leave the WIndies in some trouble at 41-2.

What was needed was a captain's innings. Enter Jimmy Adams, to rapturous applause, the crowd have not forgot his grafting century in the test match. But this was a different Jimmy Adams. This one was punchy, nippy, and keen to get singles at every opportunity. At the other end Sherwin Campbell meandered gently along: his staple diet was one of singles, but occasionally, with a glint in his eye, his bat would flail and the ball would race to the boundary. More often than not, Campbell scored his runs between cover and third man, whilst Adams picked up one's and two's all around the wicket.

Considering the risks they took, it was remarkable neither batsman was run out sooner. A number of near-misses, fielding errors and line calls troubled the third umpire, but in the first portion of the innings, the WIndies successfully rode their luck.

All told, Campbell and Adams added an invaluable 142 runs. Adams hit just one boundary in his knock of 60. Adams was composed and sensible, as was, for the most part of his innings Campbell. Every now and again, however, Campbell would launch the ball in the air over the cover field, to the delight of the crowd. He reached a well-deserved, first ODI ton with another drive. Adams meanwhile had departed, to a Craig Wishart run out.

Campbell fell soon afterwards, run out for 103 from 130 balls. He struck 8 fours in a marvellous innings. With the wickets, West Indies' two biggest hitters found themselves at the crease. The first, Ricardo Powell fell for 0, after trying to hit 19 year old Nkala to Montego Bay. He failed. Jacobs too struggled early on, and it seemed as if West Indies were going to get a well below par score considering they were 181-2 after 40 overs.

Wavell Hinds was run out attempting a risky third, and Franklyn Rose was bowled advancing down the pitch to Streak. Jacobs, meantime, was blasting the ball all over Sabina Park. He flicked the ball in the air and along the ground, mainly to leg. His knock of 32 from 25 balls gave the innings a much needed impetus.

Occasionally, you will see something in cricket which amazes you. Those at Sabina Park were lucky to see two pieces of brilliance, by the same man in the space of three balls. The man? Henry Olonga. A brilliant pick-up and throw saw Dillon depart for one, which was followed two balls later by the dismissal of Ridley Jacobs. The left-handed batsman flicked a ball from his legs in the air to deep mid-wicket. Olonga ran round, and took a breathtaking diving catch. When he returned to his fielding position, Olonga was given a standing ovation. A final total of 237 was though, always going to be tough for Zimbabwe. All of Zimbabwe's bowlers were reasonably accurate, at the same time, none can be singled out as particularly impressive. The fielding was good, but one felt the WIndies held the edge.

Thanks to a slow over rate, Zimbabwe were docked two overs. Neil Johnson and Grant Flower were back in the pavilion quickly, and it became clear that Zimbabwe needed a fine individual effort to win. Johnson was well caught at slip, Flower even better at mid-wicket. Reon King bowled with serious pace, while Curtly Ambrose chugged along with trademark accuracy. Murray Goodwin started well, twice pulling Dillon for boundaries.

It began to look as though Zimbabwe had a chance. Their best batsman, Murray Goodwin, was looking very good. Carlisle appeared to be gaining in confidence, playing two sumptuous drives, one off the back foot, the other on the front foot.

Adams had one major problem: his side contained only four genuine bowlers. Chris Gayle joined his skipper to bowl some fill-in overs, and started well.

At the other end, Murray Goodwin laid into Reon King, smashing him over square leg for four. He reached his half-century with a quickly taken single. A vastly entertaining 50 came up from just 49 balls.

Zimbabwe's victory chances were given a severe dent when Stuart Carlisle played on to the exceedingly quick Reon King. The ball before, Carlisle had survived a big lbw shout. If Carlisle's dismissal was a set-back, Goodwin's fall from the very next over was a disaster. He pulled an Adams long-hop straight to mid-wicket to the delight of 95 per cent of Sabina Park. Zimbabwe were now in deep trouble. As if this were not bad enough, Alistair Campbell soon trotted down the pitch to Adams and was stumped by Jacobs. Andy Flower cut Mervyn Dillon straight to point, and Heath Streak lasted just three balls before he had a weak swish outside the off stump and was caught behind to give Adams his fourth wicket. An express yorker from Dillon was too good for Nkala, who saw his stumps shattered. Zimbabwe had collapsed from 116-2 to 136-8.

It was an unbelievable collapse, the mood of the crowd switched from tense near silence to raucous, unmitigated happiness. The crowd danced, and shouted. They shouted a bit louder when Ricardo Powell trapped Gary Brent leg before with his very first ball. It was a show of the enthusiasm that has been missing from Caribbean cricket this last couple of years. Craig Wishart was stumped by Jacobs from the bowling of Powell, Zimbabwe bowled out and humiliated for 150. The bowling heroes, Jimmy Adams 3-19, with two wickets a piece for King and, late in the piece, Powell.

Sherwin Campbell was named Man of the Match for his ‘brilliant century.’ He said: "I enjoyed it today, the wicket played well." The winning skipper, his left knee heavily bandaged said: "The fellas are showing the ability to fight. We came back back very strong." He added, to huge cheers, "The crowd here is fantastic, thank you very much." Andy Flower told Michael Holding, "We need to look in the mirror and come back playing better cricket." This was a sad day for Zimbabwe cricket. They were in a competitive position, which they threw away. David Houghton will expect a dramatic improvement when the two teams meet again tomorrow.