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03-Mar-2010 02:35:00 GMT
West Indies v Zimbabwe, 1st ODI, Guyana

WI All Set to Face Zimbabwe in ODIs

Georgetown: Sunday's result in the Twenty20 International between West Indies and Zimbabwe have raised the stakes in the one-day international series between the two sides which opens on Thursday at the Guyana National Stadium.

Zimbabwe, choosing to bat, dragged themselves back from no runs for three wickets to complete a stunning, 26-run victory over West Indies in Trinidad.

The Zimbabweans used a slew of spin bowlers to exploit the hard, slow Queen's Park Oval pitch which offered generous turn to upset West Indies, as they chased a modest target of 106 from their allocation of 20 overs.

It was a wake-up call for the home team, and gave their new coach Ottis Gibson a wake up call as to the size of the challenge that he faces to restore West Indies battered image.

Zimbabwe have made it clear that they plan to put a lot of faith in their spin bowlers for the five ODIs that the two sides will contest here and in St. Vincent, since the conditions are likely to be similar.

This means the home team will have to brace themselves for a battle with the likes of Zimbabwe captain Prosper Utseya and his off-spinners, along with left-arm spinner Ray Price, and leg-spinner Graeme Cremer, as well as the occasional off-spin of Greg Lamb, Stuart Matsikenyeri, and even Brendan Taylor.

But the visitors should be aware that the West Indies too, have spin bowling options led by Sulieman Benn, whose four wickets flattened their top-order batting, fellow left-arm spinner Nikita Miler, as well as the part-time off-spin of West Indies captain Chris Gayle and Narsingh Deonarine.

So the series will ultimately be decided upon the backs of which side manages its batting resources better - and neither side proved they were head and shoulders above the other in Sunday's T20I, despite West Indies' meltdown.

The 50 overs-a-side format offers batsmen on both sides a chance to settle down, and build an innings, rather than the crash, bang, wallop of the T20.

Zimbabwe have a number of batsmen that have scaled the heights previously, including Charles Coventry, whose 194 was overhauled by Sachin Tendulkar last week as the highest individual innings in ODIs.

Zimbabwe have never beaten West Indies in a bilateral ODI series, and the past results are heavily skewered in favour of the home team which has won 27 of the 36 matches they have contested.

This includes an 82-run triumph at Bourda Oval, the previous international venue in Guyana, four years ago.

But there is cause for optimism from Zimbabwe, since West Indies have lost two of the three ODIs they have contested at the new venue.


West Indies: Gayle's return, following compassionate leave to visit his ill mother in Jamaica, should fortify West Indies' batting, so too, the addition of Deonarine, whose batting on the recent travels to Australia promised much.

Squad (from): Chris Gayle (captain), Adrian Barath, Sulieman Benn, David Bernard, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Narsingh Deonarine, Andre Fletcher, Nikita Miller, Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach, Darren Sammy, Dwayne Smith

Zimbabwe: Hamilton Masakadza, Elton Chigumbura, Matsikenyeri, Vusimuzi Sibanda, Tatenda Taibu, and Taylor have all had their moments in the sun in the past, and will have to step-up.

Squad (from): Prosper Utseya (captain), Hamilton Masakadza (vice-captain), Elton Chigumbura, Charles Coventry, Graeme Cremer, Kyle Jarvis, Greg Lamb, Tim Maruma, Shingirai Masakadza, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Chris Mpofu, Ray Price, Vusimuzi Sibanda, Tatenda Taibu, Brendan Taylor

Match facts
Thursday March 04, 2010
Start time 09:30 local (13:30 GMT)

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