Shamik Das

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Lara leads Windies into last eight

The West Indies and Zimbabwe players observe a minute's silence at Sabina Park

Jamaica, World Cup, Group D: West Indies 204/4 (47.5 overs) beat Zimbabwe 202/5 (50 overs) by six wickets

Brian Lara led from the front as hosts West Indies became the first team through to the Super Eights following a routine win over Zimbabwe.

On the first day's cricket since the tragic death of Bob Woolmer, the teams lined up for a minute's silence before the start of play, impeccably observed as one would expect.

Lara (44*) top scored for the winners with cameos from Chris Gayle (40) and Dwayne Bravo (37*), as the Windies avoided the ignominies visited upon previous host nations South Africa (2003) and England (1999) who found themselves eliminated at the first stage.

Flags fly at half-mast during India's match with Bermuda in Trinidad, in memory of Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer, who died suddenly on Sunday    Brian Lara plays a flashing front-foot drive all the way to the boundary against Zimbabwe

Earlier Zimbabwe failed to post a telling score, despite half centuries from Sean Williams - who finished unbeaten on 70 - and Brendan Taylor, comically run out for 50.

Zimbabwe now need to beat Pakistan tomorrow and hope Ireland come unstuck against the hosts on Friday.

In yesterday's other game India got off the mark with a 257 run win over Bermuda in Group B - the biggest margin of victory in one-day international history.

India scored 413/5 off their fifty overs - the first team to pass 400 in a World Cup - and fifth highest ODI total of all time. Virender Sehwag returned to form with 114, while Sourav Ganguly (89), Yuvraj Singh (83) and Sachin Tendulkar (57*) all joined in the fun.

"Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's Dwayne!" Bermuda's star turn Dwayne Leverock dives low to his right to dismiss Indian opener Robin Uthappa for just three at Queen's Park Oval

For Bermuda, cult hero Dwayne Leverock held a spectacular catch to dismiss Robin Uthappa in the second over of India's innings but it was all downhill from there, the 2003 runners-up equalling South Africa's record of 18 sixes - which they held on their own for all of three days!

With the bat, Glamorgan left-hander David Hemp scored an unbeaten 76 as the minnows folded for 156.


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