Bravo, Smith dazzle, as WI win
LONDON – Darren Bravo returned to form with a polished, undefeated hundred, and Dwayne Smith dazzled before falling within reach of the same milestone, as West Indies warmed up for their One-day International series against England with a crushing 225-run victory over Middlesex on Wednesday.
Left-hander Bravo cracked a run-a-ball, 112 not out and Smith unleashed an explosive 96, propelling the Windies to 335 for four from their allocation of 50 overs in the tour match at Lord’s.
Ravi Rampaul and Andre Russell then grabbed two wickets apiece, and Chris Gayle, playing his first match for West Indies in 14 months, ended the innings with two scalps in the space of three balls in his first over, as Middlesex were bowled out for 107 in 31 overs.
It was a welcomed result for West Indies ahead of their series of three One-day Internationals against England, starting on Saturday at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.
Rampaul and Russell wiped out the top-order batting of Middlesex, whose line-up was missing England international Eoin Morgan.
The two West Indies fast-medium bowlers left the home team tottering on 38 for four in the 13th over, but David Malan hit 21 and wicketkeeper Adam Rossington made 17, putting on 25 for the fifth wicket before three wickets fell for four runs in the space of nine balls, leaving the innings in disarray yet again.
West Indies met defiance from Josh Davey, whose 24 not out was the top score, and Tom Smith, as they added for 40 for the eighth wicket – the highest partnership of the innings – to see Middlesex past the 100-run mark.
But Gayle’s introduction in the 31st over, bowling his uncomplicated off-spin, brought a swift end to the game.
Earlier, Gayle sparkled, but only briefly with a typically aggressive 34, after West Indies were sent in to bat.
Left-handed batsman Gayle and fellow opener Lendl Simmons, with 23, put on 55 from 59 balls for the first wicket to get West Indies going.
Gayle looked threatening in smashing four fours and two sixes off 30 balls before he was caught at deep mid-wicket off Zimbabwean medium-fast bowler Anthony Ireland.
Simmons soon followed, leaving the Windies on 67 for two in the 15th over, but the younger Bravo and Smith came together in a punishing 156-run, third-wicket partnership that set the innings in motion.
Bravo struck seven fours and two sixes, while the right-handed Smith, playing his first One-day match for West Indies for over two years, faced just 81 balls and cracked eight fours and two sixes.
He was within reach of a century, when he was caught at mid-on, mistiming a drive off Tim Murtagh in the 39th over.
Kieron Pollard scored 18 with two chances before perishing at the end of the 44th over and it was left to the Bravo brothers to bring the innings to a resounding climax in an unbroken, 73-run fifth-wicket stand off just 36 balls.
The elder Bravo smashed two fours and three sixes in 40 not out off a mere 21 balls while Darren joined the fun, launching the final two deliveries of the innings for sixes off Davey.
WEST INDIES (maximum 50 overs)
L. Simmons st Rossington b Stirling 23
C. Gayle c Davey b Ireland 34
D.M. Bravo not out 112
D.R. Smith c Stirling b Murtagh 96
K. Pollard c Stirling b Davey 18
D.J. Bravo not out 40
Extras (b1, lb3, w7, nb1) 12
TOTAL (4 wkts) 335
+D. Ramdin, A. Russell, *D. Sammy, R. Rampaul, S. Narine did not bat
Fall of wickets: 1-55, 2-67, 3-223, 4-262
Bowling: Murtagh 10-0-75-1, Williams 4-1-20-0, Ireland 10-0-74-1, Stirling 7-0-26-1, Davey 10-0-71-1, Smith 2-0-17-0, Malan 4-0-34-0, *Dexter 3-0-14-0
MIDDLESEX (target: 336 off 50 overs)
S. Robson lbw b Russell 3
D. Malan c wkpr Ramdin b Rampaul 21
P. Stirling c D.M. Bravo b Rampaul 1
*N. Dexter c Pollard b Russell 12
A. London c Simmons b DJ Bravo 3
+A. Rossington run out 17
J. Davey not out 24
T. Murtagh c wkpr Ramdin b Narine 0
T. Smith b Gayle 16
A. Ireland lbw b Gayle 0
R. Williams absent hurt 0
Extras (b2, lb3, w4, nb1) 10
TOTAL (all out) 107
Fall of wickets: 1-10, 2-11, 3-31, 4-38, 5-63, 6-67, 7-67, 8-107, 9-107
Bowling: Rampaul 6-1-15-2, Russell 5-0-19-2, D.J. Bravo 4-0-21-1, *Sammy 6-0-18-0, Narine 7-0-21-1, Smith 2-0-8-0, Gayle 1-1-0-2
Result: West Indies won by 228 runs (114 balls remaining)
Umpires: R. Kettleborough, S. O’Shaughnessy