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Vermeulen steers Zimbabwe to victory

Zimbabwe batsman Mark Vermeulen steered his shaky colleagues to victory in a runs-starved match at Queen's Sports Club on Sunday.

india Updated: Nov 23, 2003 21:00 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse

Zimbabwe batsman Mark Vermeulen steered his shaky colleagues to victory in a runs-starved match at Queens Sports Club here Sunday to level the five-match one-day series against West Indies at 1-1.

Vermeulen stood firm against Vasbert Drakes, Ravi Rampaul and Corey Collymore while team-mates crumbled.

He scored a match-winning 66 not out, including 18 fours, which enabled a home team lacking in confidence to scrape past the West Indies total of only 125 after winning the toss.

Only Marlon Samuels contributed to that meagre total with an innings of any substance and he was undefeated on 36.

The remainder of a much-vaunted long batting lineup collapsed, much as they did in their second innings of the second Test here last week.

Wavell Hinds, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Ricky Powell all failed to get going. And the tail was left to its own devices.

Zimbabwe bowlers had a wonderful day. Andy Blignaut and Heath Streak made early breakthroughs. Ray Price took 2-16 in his 10 overs and Trevor Gripper took two maiden wickets in internationals.

It was a day of reversals. On Saturday, during the first one-day international, Vermeulen was out first ball. Chris Gayle struck a personal best 157 not out and Brian Lara went to 113 with his 18th ODI century. West Indies took 347-6 off a ragged Zimbabwe attack at almost seven an over.

In the second match Sunday, Vermeulen steered his side to victory with his stubborn though sometimes streaky half century. Gayle made only eight and Lara just two. And West Indies were struck out for only 125.

Zimbabwe lost Gripper in a bizarre run-out and Vusi Sibanda got a duck, causing West Indies to sense an unlikely win.

With the home side 8-2, later 31-3 when Craig Wishart fell to Collymore, another rout, not to mention a West Indies victory seemed just possible, especially when Stuart Matsikenyeri managed only three runs.

Vermeulen watched all this happening from the other end.

But the arrival of Streak gave direction to Zimbabwe. These two moved the home side from 54-4 in positive fashion to and beyond the victory line of 126.

Streak said: "We were honest with ourselves in team talks yesterday and we were then excellent."

Lara gave credit to Zimbabwe - "the better side on the day. We were always up against it."

The series is there for the taking in Harare next weekend by either side.


First Published: Nov 23, 2003 14:27 IST