Powerful Windies brush aside Zimbabwe
A destructive batting performance put West Indies 1-0 up in their three-match one-day international series against Zimbabwe.
After being asked to bat, the Windies made an outstanding start as openers Johnson Charles and Kieran Powell put on 168.
The latter would eventually depart for 79, yet Charles went on to an ODI-best 130.
Darren Bravo then capped a fine innings with a quite sensational 100 not out, taking the hosts to a dominant 337 for four.
Zimbabwe never looked like threatening that target and, after being undermined by early wickets, stuttered to 181 for nine.
Charles has been in exceptional form since returning to the Windies’ side, following up a duck with scores of 100, 57 and now 130, the first three versus Australia.
He and Powell dominated the early stages, albeit with the help of some dismal fielding and below-par bowling.
The latter was eventually taken at deep square-leg off Chris Mpofu, but Charles – who enjoyed a reprieve when dropped on 37 – continued to specialise in attack.
He showed an impressive ability to strike boundaries on both sides of the wicket, reaching three figures with a well-run two.
At one stage, it appeared a double-hundred may have been on the cards, but – having hit the previous two deliveries for four and six – Charles was bowled by a Mpofu yoker.
His departure had little effect on the hosts as Bravo added the finishing touches to a fine batting display.
Having initially played himself in, the left-hander cut with ease and hit down the ground majestically.
The upshot was a 71-ball ton, featuring nine fours and four sixes, that was brought up with a final-delivery single following a pulled four off the previous ball.
Four early wickets meant the tourists' chase never got going; Vusi Sibanda was trapped lbw by Kemar Roach for 12 before Chamu Chibhabha and Hamilton Masakadza were ousted by Sunil Narine.
The former was taken at short-leg and the latter long-on via a quite sensational Roach catch diving forward. Tino Best then chipped in with the key wicket of Brendan Taylor, who spooned tamely to mid-off.
Zimbabwe never looked like getting close thereafter and, despite Craig Ervine's 41 and Malcolm Waller’s 51, fell to a comprehensive 156-run defeat.