Section: Cricket World Cup

Cricket World Cup: Ireland deny Zimbabwe in thriller

Ireland maintained their quest for the World Cup quarter-finals with a tense five-run win over Zimbabwe in Hobart.

World Cup, Pool B, Hobart:
Ireland 331-8 (50 overs): Joyce 112; Chatara 3-61
Zimbabwe 326 (49.3 overs): Taylor 121; Cusack 4-32
Ireland won by five runs

Ed Joyce made 112, while Andy Balbirnie was run out three short of a maiden hundred as Ireland posted 331-8, their highest one-day international total.

Zimbabwe required the highest chase in World Cup history and Brendan Taylor hit four sixes in 121 from 91 balls.

Seven were needed from the final over but the last two wickets fell as the Zimbabweans bowed out of the event.

Ireland next face unbeaten India, who have already qualified, on Tuesday.

The Irish team’s final match is the last of the group fixtures in the tournament, against Pakistan on 15 March, when West Indies face UAE, and is likely to determine which other three sides will advance to the quarter-finals from Pool B.

 Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket World Cup: India advance with narrow win over West Indies

India sealed their progress to the Cricket World Cup quarter-finals as they recorded a nervy four-wicket win over West Indies.

World Cup Pool B, Perth:
West Indies 182 (44.2 overs): Holder 57, Sammy 26, Shami 3-35
India 185-6 (39.1 overs): Dhoni 45no, Kohli 33, Taylor 2-33
India won by four wickets

The defending champions looked set for a comfortable victory in Pool B when they reduced West Indies to 85-7.

But captain Jason Holder made a brilliant 57 at number nine to stretch the total to 182, before India faltered to 107-5 in reply.

It was left to skipper MS Dhoni to see India home with a composed unbeaten 45.

Despite the modest target, India were in trouble with Jerome Taylor (2-33) and Kemar Roach (1-44) dismantling the top order.

But just as he did in the 2011 World Cup final, and in countless other one-day internationals, captain Dhoni guided India to victory under substantial pressure.

As well as guaranteeing their qualification for the knockout stages, India are now in pole position to finish top of Pool B, having won all their matches and with only fixtures against Ireland and Zimbabwe remaining.

West Indies meanwhile are far from certain to advance from the group, having won just two of their five matches.

Their fate will depend on the results of the remaining matches involving Ireland and Pakistan, and may come down to net run rate.

But despite the two sides’ contrasting fortunes, India’s victory was far from straightforward as they allowed West Indies to turn a one-sided contest into a scrap.

West Indies won the toss and chose to bat, having scored more than 300 in every previous match in this tournament in which they had batted first.

But that total was never on the cards after a shambolic performance from the top order.

With the new ball swinging prodigiously, Dwayne Smith, Chris Gayle and Denesh Ramdin perished to reckless shots – and in between Marlon Samuels was run out – as they collapsed to 35-4.

Wickets continued to fall at regular intervals, but Holder batted superbly with some support from Darren Sammy (27) to reach a respectable total.

The target seemed unlikely to test India, but after they lost Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan early to the impressive Taylor, they wobbled.

Andre Russell removed Virat Kohli (33) and Ravindra Jadeja (13), and Ajinkya Rahane (14) nicked behind, but West Indies could not prise the nerveless Dhoni from the crease.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket World Cup: Scotland’s Cricket hopes ended by Bangladesh

Kyle Coetzer scored Scotland’s first World Cup century but their tournament hopes were ended with a six-wicket defeat by Bangladesh in Nelson.

World Cup Pool A, Nelson, New Zealand:
Scotland 318-8 (50 overs): Coetzer 156, Taskin 3-43
Bangladesh 322-4 (48.1 overs): Tamim 95, Mahmudullah 62, Mushfiqur 60
Bangladesh won by six wickets

Scotland can no longer qualify for the knockout stages after losing their fourth match out of four in Pool A.

Coetzer’s 156 was the best World Cup score by an associate nation batsman and helped his team post 318-8, their highest score against a Test side.

But Tamim Iqbal (95) led Bangladesh to victory with 11 balls to spare.

It was the second-highest successful run chase in a World Cup game after the 329-7 Ireland managed against England at Bangalore in 2011.

The result means England must beat Bangladesh in Adelaide on Monday if they are to keep alive their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals.

Scotland, meanwhile, face Sri Lanka and Australia in their remaining group matches.

Their chances of a first World Cup victory looked promising after Coetzer brought up his century in style by hitting his second six.

The 30-year-old Northamptonshire batsman finished with 17 fours and four sixes in his 134-ball innings.

Scotland were reduced to 38-2 in the 10th over after being asked to bat but Coetzer put on 78 with Matt Machan (35) and 141 with captain Preston Mommsen (39).

His stand with Mommsen was Scotland’s first century partnership in 12 matches at World Cups.

After Coetzer was dismissed in the 45th over with Scotland 269-5, Richie Berrington (26) and Matt Cross (20) combined for a quickfire 39 that saw their side past 300 for only the third time in ODIs.

While Saxton Oval is a high-scoring ground, the total was made tougher for Bangladesh when opening batsman Anamul Haque appeared to dislocate his right shoulder when diving to stop a boundary and was unable to bat.

Scotland seamer Josh Davey took an early wicket but Tamim and Mahmudullah (62) made excellent progress before the latter was dismissed in bizarre circumstances.

The batsman was bowled by Iain Wardlaw for 62 after deflecting a leg-side delivery on to the stumps off his back foot.

Tamim was closing in on Bangladesh’s first hundred in a World Cup match but was trapped leg before wicket by Davey to renew Scotland’s hopes.

But Mushfiqur Rahim made a rapid 60 from 42 balls and then Shakib Al Hasan (52 not out) and Sabbir Rahman (42 not out) completed the victory with no further alarms as Scotland’s bowlers struggled.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket World Cup: Australia post World Cup record score in win over Afghanistan

Australia posted a World Cup record total of 417-6 as they beat Afghanistan by 275 runs – the biggest winning margin in the tournament’s history.

World Cup Pool A, Perth:
Australia 417-6 (50 overs): Warner 178, Smith 95, Maxwell 88
Afghanistan 142 all out (50 overs): Mangal 33, Johnson 4-22
Australia won by 275 runs

David Warner hit 178 off 133 balls, Steve Smith scored 95 while Glenn Maxwell struck 88 in 39 deliveries in the Pool A encounter in Perth.

Afghanistan were then dismissed for 142, with Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc taking six wickets between them.

Australia’s score surpassed the 413-5 India made against Bermuda in 2007.

It continues the pattern of bat dominating ball in this tournament as the third 400 plus score achieved in the pool stages, following South Africa’s 408-5 and 411-4 against West Indies and Ireland respectively.

The winning margin beats the 257-run amount by which India beat Bermuda in Port of Spain in 2007, which was equalled five days ago by South Africa in their victory over West Indies in Sydney.

Australia’s total is their second-highest score in a one-day international, after their 434-4 against South Africa in 2006.

The ODI record score remains the 443-9 made by Sri Lanka against Netherlands in 2006.

Afghanistan elected to bowl having won the toss, and removed opener Aaron Finch in the third over, but they were dominated thereafter.

Warner played the aggressor, ably assisted by the more conservative Smith, with the pair adding 260 – a record Australian partnership for any wicket in ODIs – before the former was caught at mid-on by Mohammad Nabi off the bowling of Shapoor Zadran in the 38th over, just seven runs short of Shane Watson’s record Australian ODI score of 185.

If Afghanistan thought this would bring them some respite they were wrong as Maxwell took over, hitting six fours and seven sixes in a brutal 39-ball innings, during which he scored 88, as Smith increased his own scoring rate to reach 95 before driving one straight to Najibullah Zadran off Shapoor with seven overs remaining.

Despite the fall of three further wickets, returning captain Michael Clarke did not come out to bat, allowing James Faulkner (7), Mitchell Marsh (8) and Brad Haddin (20 not out) to help Australia to their record total.

As expected, Afghanistan were unable to cope with the Australian bowling attack, with their top order removed before they could reach three figures.

Johnson played a major role, having Usman Ghani, Nawroz Mangal, Asghar Stanikzai and Hamid Hassan all caught and Josh Hazlewood picked up two wickets, while Clarke unexpectedly got in on the act with a five-over spell of off-spin, during which he had Samiullah Shenwari caught by Johnson at short fine leg.

Starc – who almost salvaged a win against New Zealand in a dramatic encounter in Auckland four days ago – came to the fore later in the innings with two wickets to help seal the record win.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket World Cup 2015: Pakistan cruise past UAE in Napier

Pakistan kept up their push for a place in the quarter-finals of the World Cup with a routine 129-run victory over the United Arab Emirates in Napier.

World Cup Pool B, Napier:
Pakistan 339-6 (50 overs): Shehzad 93, Haris 70, Guruge 4-56
UAE 210-8 (50 overs): Anwar 62, Khurram 43
Pakistan won by 129 runs

Ahmed Shehzad hit 93 and both Haris Sohail (70) and captain Misbah-ul-Haq (65) weighed in with half-centuries as Pakistan ran up 339-6.

UAE were reduced to 25-3 early in their reply and though in-form Shaiman Anwar made 62, they fell well short on 210-8.

Pakistan join Ireland and West Indies on four points in a congested Pool B.

Ireland meet Pakistan on 15 March, the final day of the group stage, in a match that is looking increasingly likely to decide qualification for the last eight.

For Pakistan, a second win in four days represents a build of momentum after heavy defeats by India and West Indies in their opening two matches.

The 1992 champions will almost certainly earn a place in the next round if they win their final two games against South Africa and the Irish.

“That was a much needed win for us,” said Misbah.

“We won by a margin so we can relax now, the next game is really important and we need to focus on that. We have a good net run rate now also.”

Pakistan were rarely troubled in this comfortable win against a UAE side who did not disgrace themselves, particularly by sticking to their task with the ball on a good wicket with one very short square boundary.

Indeed, the Associate side will rue two missed opportunities off Shehzad, the opener put down on two and nine.

Reprieved, he compiled a 160-run stand with Haris, missing out on a century when his dive to complete a second run was not enough to prevent a run-out.

With Haris then caught at mid-on off Mohammad Naveed, Pakistan were in danger of wasting a good platform, but Misbah steadied with Sohaib Maqsood (45).

When the time came, they opened their shoulders, beginning a blitz that would see 124 runs added in the final 10 overs. In that time, Shahid Afridi’s 21 from seven balls made him only the second man, after Sanath Jayasuriya, to score 8,000 runs and take 300 wickets in one-day internationals.

If they were to pull off an unlikely chase and a great World Cup shock, the UAE needed a solid start with the bat, but their top order could not handle the Pakistan pacemen.

Rahat Ali bowled Amjad Ali before Sohail Khan had both Andri Berenger and Krishna Karate caught behind to effectively end the contest.

Anwar and Khurram Khan shared a defiant partnership of 83 until Khurram flicked Maqsood to square leg for 43.

The match meandered to its inevitable conclusion, but for Anwar, an innings that ended when caught at long-off off Afridi took him to a total of 270 runs, the highest of the tournament so far.

UAE captain Mohammad Tauqir said of Anwar: “He’s a brilliant batsman and I’m very happy for him. He’s such a confident individual that we call him ‘Sir Viv’.

“He missed out on a hundred, but if he’d stayed to the end of the innings he would have got it. It was an excellent performance.”

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket World Cup: Pakistan beat Zimbabwe to keep hopes alive

Former champions Pakistan survived a scare to pull off a dramatic 20-run victory over Zimbabwe and record their first win at the 2015 World Cup.

World Cup Pool B, Brisbane:
Pakistan 235-7 (50 overs): Misbah-ul-Haq 73, Riaz 54 not out, Chatara 3-35
Zimbabwe 215-9 (49.5 overs): Taylor 50, Irfan 4-30, Riaz 4-45
Pakistan won by 20 runs

Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq’s stubborn 73 and a fiery half-century from pace bowler Wahab Riaz helped the 1992 winners recover from 4-2 to reach 235-7.

Brendan Taylor’s 50 looked to have put Zimbabwe on course for a famous win.

But Mohammad Irfan, with career-best one-day international figures of 4-30, and Riaz (4-45) won it for Pakistan.

Riaz became the first Pakistani to score a fifty and take four wickets in the same World Cup match – and only the eighth cricketer to achieve the feat.

And victory was important for Misbah’s men, who, after heavy defeats by India and the West Indies, would have faced an uphill battle to progress to the quarter-finals had they lost again.

“It was really tough because it was a make or break game for us,” said the Pakistan captain. “You can’t believe how happy we are because we were out of the tournament if we’d lost this game.”

Despite a backdrop of fierce criticism from the public and former players back home – and with chief selector Moin Khan forced to return from the World Cup after visiting a casino – Pakistan posted their highest score of the tournament so far, though their innings got off to a wretched start.

After winning the toss and choosing to bat, Pakistan were rocking at 1-1 and 4-2 as Tendai Chatara claimed the wickets of openers Nasir Jamshed and Ahmed Shehzad.

But skipper Misbah played a vital innings, steadying the ship as wickets regularly fell around him – including two in one over when Williams dismissed Umar Akmal and Shahid Afridi in the space of three balls. Afridi, celebrating his 35th birthday, went for a duck.

Only a late flurry from Riaz – his 54 coming from 55 balls – injected some urgency into the Pakistan innings and gave them a meaningful total to defend.

Zimbabwe lost Sikander Raza and Chamu Chibhabha cheaply – Irfan taking both – but Taylor’s half-century and Sean Williams’ 33 from 32 balls took them to 128-3 and appeared to put them on course for victory.

However, Riaz repeated his batting heroics with the ball, sharing eight wickets with fellow left-arm paceman Irfan as Zimbabwe crumbled.

Injured captain Elton Chigumbura, who was helped off the field with a suspected quadricep tear while fielding, tried valiantly to steer Zimbabwe to victory but was last man out for a run-a-ball 35.

“It is always disappointing to lose a game like this when you feel you have a chance to win,” said Zimbabwe captain Elton Chigumbura.

“Our weakness has been that we have not had one guy scoring a hundred or batting through the innings.”

While Zimbabwe will be frustrated not to have registered only a fourth ODI win over Pakistan, Misbah’s team now head into their next Pool B game against the United Arab Emirates on 4 March with renewed hope of making the last eight.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket World Cup: England thrashed by Sri Lanka

England slipped to a third crushing defeat in four World Cup games as Sri Lanka comfortably chased 310 to win by nine wickets in Wellington.

World Cup Pool A, Wellington (Regional Stadium)
England 309-6 (50 overs): Root 121, Bell 49
Sri Lanka 312-1 (47.2 overs): Thirimanne 139*, Sangakkara 117*
Sri Lanka won by nine wickets

Lahiru Thirimanne hit an unbeaten 139 and Kumar Sangakkara 117 not out to seal victory with 16 balls to spare.

Earlier, Joe Root made 121 as England accelerated late on to post 309-6.

But Sri Lanka showed that to be nowhere near enough and England will almost certainly be eliminated if they lose either of their final two games against Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

If opening defeats by Australia and New Zealand and victory overScotland were expected, then this fixture was supposed to be the best indicator of England’s chances of progressing far into the World Cup.

As it turned out, a third one-sided reverse at the hands of Test opposition leaves England clinging to their hopes of reaching the last eight.

Indeed, if Bangladesh beat Scotland on Thursday, then England will go out if they lose either of their remaining group games.

While their previous game in Wellington, an eight-wicket thrashing by New Zealand, was humiliating for its rapid nature, this latest loss was perhaps more dispiriting.

England put in their best batting display of the tournament thanks to Root’s accumulation and creativity and Jos Buttler’s late power.

But Thirimanne and Sangakkara made a mockery of the chase as England’s pace-dominated attack struggled to make chances on a sluggish wicket.

When they did create opportunities, they were not taken. Thirimanne was dropped on three by Root at slip, although the edge off Stuart Broad should have been claimed by wicketkeeper Buttler.

The left-hander also had a let-off on 98, Moeen Ali failing to take a low chance in the covers off James Anderson.

After that, Thirimanne, whose innings was laced with classy cover drives, became the fourth Sri Lanka batsman to score a hundred in this World Cup.

He shared an unbroken stand of 212 with Sangakkara, who moved third on the list of World Cup run scorers  with a 70-ball century, scoring through 360 degrees.

On the completion of the chase, Sri Lanka – 10-wicket winners against England in the quarter-finals of the last World Cup – became only the second team to overhaul a score of 300 or more with nine wickets in hand.

It also cemented England’s unwanted record of being the least successful of all the Test nations when defending a target in excess of 300.

That Eoin Morgan’s side posted their highest total of the tournament came as a result of 24-year-old Root becoming the youngest England batsman to score a World Cup century.

Given a good start by Ian Bell’s 49, England were pegged back as Sri Lanka’s attack improved by taking pace off the ball, Tillakaratne Dilshan having Gary Ballance caught and bowled to extend the left-hander’s poor sequence to only 36 runs in four innings.

At 101-3 in the 21st over, Root arrived to stabilise the innings with Morgan, with the Yorkshire batsman – dropped on two at slip – then dominating a stand of 98 with James Taylor.

Strong square of the wicket, Root reached a fourth ODI hundred at a run a ball, then accelerated by inventively reverse-sweeping the seamers.

After Root fell, England were pushed past 300 by Buttler. Their total seemed competitive, Thirimanne and Sangakkara proved that it was not.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket World Cup: New Zealand beat Australia by one wicket

New Zealand survived a late collapse to beat Australia by one wicket in a thrilling World Cup Pool A game.

World Cup Pool A, Auckland
Australia 151 (32.2 overs): Haddin 43, Boult 5-27
New Zealand 152-9 (23.1 overs): McCullum 50, Williamson 45*, Starc 6-28
New Zealand won by one wicket

Chasing a meagre 152 to win, the Kiwis slipped from 131-4 to 146-9 as Mitchell Starc claimed 6-28.

However, Kane Williamson (45no) hit Pat Cummins for six to seal victory with 26.5 overs to spare in a wonderfully tense climax at Eden Park in Auckland.

Earlier, Australia lost eight wickets for 26 runs as they were bowled out for 151, with Trent Boult claiming 5-27.

“I was always going to try and hit a boundary at the end as I didn’t want to leave it too long,” Williamson told Test Match Special.

New Zealand, who have won all four of their group matches, need only one victory from their remaining two games – against Afghanistan and Bangladesh – to secure their place in the quarter-finals.

Tournament favourites Australia, meanwhile, have three points from their first three games, heading into Wednesday’s clash with Afghanistan in Perth.

Australia captain Michael Clarke, playing his first competitive international since December following hamstring surgery, said: “Our batting was horrendous, to put it mildly, but Mitchell Starc was a genius.”

This was only the sixth one-wicket win in World Cup history, although such a slender margin of victory appeared unlikely in the extreme as Brendon McCullum flayed a 21-ball fifty to lead the Kiwi pursuit.

Even after he fell in the eighth over to spark a collapse of three wickets in five balls – Ross Taylor and Grant Elliott were bowled by Starc either side of the interval – few doubted the outcome.

Williamson and Corey Anderson took New Zealand to within 21 runs of victory before Glenn Maxwell induced an ugly swipe from the left-hander that found only mid-on.

Starc, combining fast, full deliveries with well-directed bouncers, had an evasive Luke Ronchi caught behind off his glove, then Cummins accounted for a needlessly reckless Daniel Vettori.

New Zealand nerves were evident as Starc cleaned up Adam Milne and Tim Southee with successive deliveries, but Boult kept out the last two balls of the over and Williamson drove the first ball of the next over long-on to cap a remarkable game.

“My heart was racing at a million miles an hour when I went out there to bat. I’ve never been so nervous in my career,” Boult told Test Match Special.

Even Starc’s career-best return could not mask an inept Australia batting display that featured a precipitous collapse from 80-1 to 106-9.

While fellow left-arm Boult was the chief beneficiary en route to his best ODI figures, Vettori’s impact was crucial.

Introduced only six overs into an innings which began with a barrage of boundaries, the veteran left-arm spinner accounted for Shane Watson and Steve Smith either side of Tim Southee’s removal of David Warner for 34.

Vettori finished with 2-41, while Boult claimed five wickets for one run in 17 balls in front of a boisterous home crowd en route to his best ODI figures.

Even Brad Haddin’s pugnacious 43 in a last-wicket stand of 45 with Cummins – an Australia World Cup record – could not prevent Australia posting their lowest World Cup total batting first.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket World Cup: Ireland edge out UAE

Gary Wilson hit 80 to help Ireland to a nervy two-wicket World Cup win over the United Arab Emirates in Brisbane.

World Cup, Pool B, Brisbane:
UAE 278-9 (50 overs): Shaiman 106, Javed 42, Stirling 2-27
Ireland 279-8 (49.2 overs): Kevin O'Brien 50, Wilson 80, Javed 3-60
Ireland won by two wickets

Shaiman Anwar scored a maiden ODI century as the UAE part-timers hit 147 from their last 15 overs to post 278-9.

They then pegged Ireland back to 97-4, but Kevin O’Brien (50) and Wilson put on 72 from 36 balls for the sixth wicket to help rebuild the innings.

Ireland, who have two wins from their opening two Pool B games, next face South Africa in Canberra on 3 March.

O’Brien and Wilson were both dismissed as William Porterfield’s side closed in on the target, but Brisbane-born Alex Cusack and off-spinner George Dockrell kept their nerve to lead Ireland to victory with just four balls to spare.

World cricket’s governing body the ICC has decided to limit the next World Cup to 10 teams, but two associate sides who may struggle to qualify for the event in England in 2019 arguably played out the most exciting match of the tournament so far, one that was finally settled in the 100th and final over after 557 runs and 17 wickets.

The game ebbed and flowed, with Ireland reducing the UAE to 131-6 in the 35th over, before Shaiman (106 from 83 balls) and Amjad Javed (42 from 35 balls) put on a World Cup record seventh-wicket stand of 107 to set up a challenging total on a turning wicket.

Ireland struggled for any fluency in their reply, until the more expansively minded O’Brien joined Wilson at the wicket in the 39th over with 108 runs still needed.

O’Brien and Wilson’s six-over partnership seemed to turn the match decisively in Ireland’s favour, but when O’Brien, Wilson and John Mooney all fell in the final seven overs, the UAE sensed a first win over Ireland since 2001.

Dockrell and Cusack came together with 12 runs still needed from 15 balls, and after a series of wild swings and unconvincing hacks, the pair finally wrapped up victory in the final over.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket World Cup: Chris Gayle 215 sets up West Indies win

Chris Gayle hit the first double century in World Cup history as West Indies beat Zimbabwe by 73 runs under the Duckworth-Lewis method.

World Cup, Pool B, Canberra:
West Indies 372-2 (50): Gayle 215, Samuels 133*
Zimbabwe 289 (44.3 overs): Williams 76, Taylor 3-38
West Indies won by 73 runs (D/L method)

Chris Gayle hit the first double century in World Cup history as West Indies beat Zimbabwe by 73 runs under the Duckworth-Lewis method.

The left-hander smashed 215 off 147 balls, including 16 sixes and 10 fours, in West Indies’ 372-2 in Canberra.

He added an ODI record 372 for the second wicket with Marlon Samuels, who made a relatively sedate 133 not out.

Chasing a rain-revised target of 363 off 48 overs, Zimbabwe mustered 289 as Gayle took two wickets and a catch.

Having lost their opening game to Ireland, West Indies’ win took them level on points with India at the top of Pool B, going into their meeting with South Africa on Friday.

Although Zimbabwe’s bowlers suffered heavily at the hands of Gayle, their batsmen deserve credit for a respectable run chase that featured Sean Williams’s 76 and 52 for Craig Ervine.

Jerome Taylor claimed 3-38 and West Indies captain Jason Holder 3-48, but their figures were footnotes in a game that will be remembered for Gayle’s savage hitting.

Fortunate to survive an lbw review off his first delivery after opening partner Dwayne Smith fell to the second ball of the innings, Gayle batted with uncharacteristic patience in bringing up a 105-ball century.

However, his next hundred spanned only 33 deliveries – and his fourth fifty a mere 12 – as he and Samuels flayed 152 off the final 10 overs.

“It was a fantastic day from a personal point of view,” said Gayle.

“When I got past 100, I knew I wanted it to be a double hundred, so I’m glad I got the chance to deliver it.”

Samuels’s occasionally scratchy century went almost unnoticed as Gayle repeatedly cleared the boundary, swinging disdainfully over mid-wicket and driving powerfully straight.

He eventually fell off the last ball of the innings, having equalled the record of 16 sixes in an ODI innings shared by Rohit Sharma and AB de Villiers.

“Chris is an outstanding player,” said West Indies captain Jason Holder. “It’s great to have him back in form and hopefully he can carry it through the tournament.”

Despite losing Regis Chakabva and Hamilton Masakadza inside the first five overs of their reply, Zimbabwe scored at almost seven runs an over.

The resourceful Williams was the chief architect of a chase that unravelled only after he top-edged a pull off Holder.

Part-time off-spinner Gayle bowled Ervine round his legs six overs later to reduce Zimbabwe to 226-6 and remove any doubt over the outcome of the contest.

He finished with 2-35 and capped a remarkable day with an exaggerated dive and roll after catching Elton Chigumbura at extra cover off Taylor.

Zimbabwe skipper Chigumbura said: “There is a lot of work to be done. We were unlucky with the Gayle lbw but he played a massive innings today and it made a big difference.”

Read more at BBC Sport