sport

Windies cruise to easy win

Centuries from Johnson Charles and Darren Bravo saw West Indies win the opening ODI against Zimbabwe by 156 runs at St George's.

Charles made 130 after sharing in an opening partnership with Kieran Powell worth 168 while Bravo took eight off the final over - five from the final two balls - to reach an unbeaten 100, taking the West Indies to 337 for four.

It was a target which always looked beyond Zimbabwe and although Malcolm Waller scored 51, their batting failed to get going as they reached 181 for nine in reply.

The tourists had won the toss and elected to bowl, but it did them few favours as the West Indian top order dominated.

Charles' innings included four sixes and 12 fours before he was bowled by Chris Mpofu's yorker.

His was the second wicket to fall, and by the time it did the score was already on 248.

Powell went first for 79 also to Mpofu, who tempted the batsman into a pull shot that was caught by Craig Ervine at deep square leg.

Andre Russell followed soon after Charles, making just four, and Dwayne Bravo then departed for nine, but his half-brother Darren kept piling on the runs.

It appeared he had missed his chance at a ton when, on 94 with five balls left, he misread a delivery from Kyle Jarvis and sent a top-edge high into the air. Although it dropped safely, it put Ramnaresh Sarwan on strike.

Indeed, Darren Bravo did not get another chance until the penultimate ball of the innings, but he smacked that for four and then paddled a slower ball away for the single to bring the innings to a close in style.

Sarwan finished unbeaten on seven, while Darren Bravo's ton came off just 71 balls with nine fours and four sixes.

It was going to take a monumental effort from Zimbabwe to chase down their target and they fell well short despite the best efforts of Waller.

His fifth-wicket stand of 58 with Ervine helped the tourists recover from 34 for four after Vusi Sibanda (12), Chamu Chibhabha (six), Hamilton Masakadza (four) and captain Brendan Taylor (eight) had all come unstuck against the Windies' bowlers.

Ervine became the fifth wicket to tumble when he hit a loose drive off Russell to Charles at short extra cover.

Regis Chakabva was Sunil Narine's third victim on four and it was Dwayne Bravo who eventually accounted for Waller with a deceptively short delivery not long after the Zimbabwean had passed his fifty, which included six boundaries.

Jarvis was then bowled by Russell for a single as the inevitable defeat drew nearer, and Natsai Mushangwe was dismissed in the penultimate over for 14 after smashing two sixes in his knock.

Prosper Utseya (18 not out) and Mpofu (0no) were the last men standing as Zimbabwe at least avoided being bowled out.