Chris Gayle powers West Indies to victory

KINGSTOWN (St. Vincent): Captain Chris Gayle slammed a boundary-studded 63 off 41 balls to pilot the West Indies to a four-wicket victory over Zimbabwe in the fifth and final ODI at the Arnos Vale Sports Complex on Sunday.

The West Indies, despite losing the first match, won the series 4-1.

Gayle blasted eight fours and two sixes as the West Indies raced to its target, finishing with 165 for six off 27.4 overs.

Kieron Pollard hit three fours and three sixes in an equally bruising 36 off 20 deliveries to arrest a mid-innings wobble. Earlier, seamers Darren Sammy (three for 33) and Ravi Rampaul (two for 24) blasted away the visitor's top order as the host restricted Zimbabwe to 161 off 50 overs.

Charles Coventry, in his first international of the tour, revived the innings from 25 for five with a confident innings of 56 for Zimbabwe.

The 27-year-old right-hander cracked five fours off 88 deliveries as the lower order rallied the Zimbabweans to their highest total in the three matches at the venue. They were routed for 104 in the third match last Wednesday and fell for 141 on Friday.

Despite the early loss of Adrian Barath to Chigumbura's medium pace, the West Indies and the sell-out crowd of 11,000 were energised by Gayle's power hitting.

The 30-year-old left-hander peppered the boundaries and brought up his third half-century of the series off just 32 deliveries. But, when he holed out to long-off from his opposite number Prosper Utseya, it sparked a slide in which four wickets tumbled for eight runs in 25 balls.

The Bravo brothers, Darren and Dwayne, were both stumped by Tatenda Taibu, while Narsingh Deonarine lofted a catch to long-on.

Pollard eased West Indian nerves with a typically boisterous innings while Denesh Ramdin compiled a level-headed unbeaten 21.

Pollard, whose three sixes were towering ones, fell with nine required, hitting Ray Price to long-off but Ramdin sealed the win with a pulled boundary.

Earlier, skipper Gayle won the toss for the second match in succession and his bowlers were soon enjoying themselves against the tentative Zimbabwe batsmen.

Rampaul struck in his first over when Hamilton Masakadza (0) miscued a pull to point. — AP

Zimbabwe: V. Sibanda c Barath b Sammy 8, H. Masakadza c Sammy b Rampaul 0, T. Maruma c Gayle b Rampaul 1, B. Taylor b Sammy 7, T. Taibu c Ramdin b Sammy 0, C. Coventry (run out) 56, E. Chigumbura c Sammy b Pollard 19, G. Lamb c Deonarine b Benn 16, G. Cremer (not out) 19, P. Utseya c Pollard b Dwayne Bravo 7, R. Price (run out) 4; Extras (lb-10, w-11, nb-3):24; Total (in 50 overs): 161.

Fall of wickets: 1-6, 2-12, 3-24, 4-24, 5-25, 6-63, 7-120, 8-127, 9-147.

West Indies bowling: Bernard 5-2-8-0, Rampaul 10-2-24-2, Dwayne Bravo 10-1-38-1, Sammy 10-3-33-3, Benn 10-0-26-1, Pollard 5-0-22-1.

West Indies: A. Barath lbw b Chigumbura 14, C. Gayle c Taylor b Utseya 63, Darren Bravo st. Taibu b Lamb 14, D. Ramdin (not out) 21, N. Deonarine c Chigumbura b Cremer 3, Dwayne Bravo st. Taibu b Utseya 0, K. Pollard c Masakadza b Price 36, D. Bernard (not out) 4; Extras (b-3, lb-3, w-4): 10; Total (for six wkts. in 27.4 overs): 165.

Fall of wickets: 1-20, 2-96, 3-96, 4-104, 5-104, 6-153.

Zimbabwe bowling: Chigumbura 4-0-30-1, Price 7-0-32-1, Lamb 5-1-20-1, Utseya 7-0-41-2, Cremer 3-0-17-1, Maruma 1.4-0-19-0 .