ST GEORGE’S, Grenada (CMC) — Opener Johnson Charles struck his second consecutive One-Day International hundred, while Darren Bravo notched his first ever, as West Indies brushed aside a ragged Zimbabwe by 156 runs in the opening One-Dayer here yesterday.
The right-handed Charles top scored with a pugnacious 130 and was joined by the elegant Bravo, who reached three figures off the last ball of the innings to finish with exactly 100 not out at the National Stadium, allowing the Windies to plunder 337 for four from their 50 overs — their fourth highest ODI total.
Opener Kieran Powell weighed in with a stroke-filled 79, as West Indies prospered in fabulous conditions after they were sent in at the National Stadium.
Fast bowler Chris Mpofu was Zimbabwe’s best bowler with two wickets, but his 10 overs cost 83 runs.
In reply, Zimbabwe were undone by off-spinner Sunil Narine, who claimed three for 28 from his 10 overs, and slumped to 181 for nine from their 50 overs.
Seamers Andre Andre Russell (2-24) and Dwayne Bravo (2-30) chipped in with a pair of wickets each.
Malcolm Waller top-scored with 51 from 75 balls, and Craig Ervine weighed in with a brisk 41 from 51 deliveries, but neither effort was good enough to take Zimbabwe close to their target.
The hosts were given a rollicking start by Charles and Powell, who put on 168 for the first wicket in nearly even time. While Charles hit 12 fours and four sixes off 111 balls, Powell struck seven fours and two sixes in his 88-ball stay at the crease.
Powell was the early aggressor, clearing long-on with off-spinner Prosper Utseya in the sixth over before reeling off a couple of off-side boundaries in Mpofu’s first over, the eighth of the innings.
He reached his half-century off 64 balls before he departed in the 29th over, pulling Mpofu to Ervine on the deep square leg boundary.
Charles and Bravo then put Zimbabwe’s bowlers to the sword in a second-wicket stand worth 80 off just 62 deliveries.
After playing second fiddle to Powell, Charles blossomed nicely and reached his half-century off 63 balls before carrying on for three figures off 94 deliveries.
He played expansively, taking three boundaries from seamer Hamilton Masakadza’s fourth over, the 24th, that cost 13 runs and another two off Waller’s off spin in the next over sent down.
The 24-year-old reached his second ODI century with a push down the ground for a couple in the 32nd over, to follow up his hundred against Australia earlier this month at Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Bravo, meanwhile, played himself in before unleashing a vicious assault on the Zimbabwean bowlers, striking nine glitzy fours and four savage sixes, in speeding to his century off 71 balls, the fourth fastest by a West Indian.
The left-hander reached his eighth ODI half-century off 47 balls with a paddle for four in the 44th over off Mpofu and then motored to three figures off just 24 deliveries.
He moved into the 90s by smashing two sixes in the penultimate over by Mpofu that cost 16 runs before reaching his landmark at the end of the final over.
Charles, reprieved by DRS on an lbw decision when 117, played over the top of a full-length delivery from Mpofu and was bowled in the 39th over, while Andre Russell (4), promoted in the order for quick runs, scooped a full toss from leg-spinner Natsai Mushangwe to Regis Chakabva at cover in the 42nd over.
Captain Dwayne Bravo, dropped at the wicket off off-spinner Prosper Utseya before he had scored, was taken in the deep for nine off seamer Kyle Jarvis in the 48th.
Two Narine wickets then did early damage in Zimbabwe’s run chase, sending the visitors stumbling to 34 for four in the 11th over.
Waller and Ervine then posted 58 for the fourth-wicket, but the partnership was sluggish and when it ended in the 24th over with Ervine taken at cover by Charles off Russell, Zimbabwe’s required run rate had jumped to nearly 10 an over.