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West Indies go through with win over Zimbabwe
Simon Evans

Kingston, Jamaica: World Cup hosts West Indies qualified for the Super Eights stage of the competition after a six-wicket victory over Zimbabwe in Group D on Monday.

Sean Williams struck an unbeaten 70 as Zimbabwe recovered from 59 for four to make a total of 202 for five but Brian Lara's side had little real trouble as they reached the target with 13 balls to spare.

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Opener Chris Gayle hit an explosive 40 - including three consecutive sixes in one over - and then the Trinidadian pair of skipper Lara (44) and Dwayne Bravo (37) saw West Indies through to victory although both were dropped along the way.

West Indies, who won their opening game against Pakistan, have four points with their final group opponents Ireland on three points. Zimbabwe have a single point after a tie with the Irish and Pakistan have none and are eliminated.

Lara won the toss at Sabina Park and put Zimbabwe in to bat and was rewarded with fine spells from his two opening bowlers. Read moreread more

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Jerome Taylor bowled Friday Kasteni and Chamu Chibhabha and Daren Powell rolled over Vusi Sibanda as Zimbabwe were in difficulty at 31 for three.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Brendan Taylor and Stuart Matsikenyeri looked to lay down some foundations.

But after getting himself in, the experienced Matsikenyeri paid the price for a poor shot off Dwayne Smith, his underhit slog going straight to Powell at mid-on.

Taylor was joined at the crease by 20-year-old left-hander Williams and with Lara turning to spin - utilising Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels - Zimbabwe made some steady, if unspectacular progress.


But just after Taylor completed his patient 50 in 121 balls, taking his side on to 142, he pressed the self-destruct button, run out at the non-striker's end after attempting an ill advised single.

But Williams and Elton Chigumbura (30) responded well with an unbeaten 60 partnership leaving their side with a respectable tally.

Gayle and Shivnarine Chanderpaul made a confident start to the reply by putting on 73 for the first wicket. The highlight was three successive sixes from left-hander Gayle as he launched into medium-pacer Tawanda Mupariwa.

Gayle launched the first ball of Mupariwa's fifth over straight into the third tier of the North Stand, the next ball landed on the roof of a stadium bar over long-on and then the third delivery was another straight six.

Thoughts turned to South African Herschelle Gibbs's World Cup record of six sixes in an over against the Netherlands on Friday.

There was no repeat of that feat but the Jamaican's big hitting had altered the mood with West Indies looking comfortably in charge.

Two quick wickets changed that - Chanderpaul was caught by Vusi Sibanda off Chigumbura for 21 and Gayle departed four balls later for 40.

Zimbabwe seamer Anthony Ireland then won a fascinating duel with Ramnaresh Sarwan - he struck the West Indian batsman on the helmet with a bouncer, which went for four leg byes, was then hit for two boundaries but grabbed Sarwan's wicket with a smart caught and bowled for 12.

Despite that setback, the hosts were well poised at 106 for three with Lara at the wicket alongside strokemaker Marlon Samuels who made 28 before flashing a catch to point off Mupariwa.

Bravo then joined Lara and they took the Caribbean side through to the win with only a couple of scares.

Chigumbura was unable to hold a fierce caught and bowled chance as Lara blasted the ball back at him but substitute fielder Gary Brent should have done better when he dropped Bravo in the outfield.

Lara crowned the performance in style, though, hitting Chigumbura for a four and a six to send his team past the target.

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