Gayle leads Windies to tense victory (3rd ODI)

DUBLIN, Ireland – Chris Gayle hit an undefeated 85 off 94 balls to lead West Indies to a four-wicket victory under the Duckworth-Lewis Method with one ball to spare in their rain-hit third match of the Irish quadrangular One-day International series against Scotland on Thursday, July 12.

In pursuit of a revised target of 165 from their allocation of 30 overs at the rain-drenched Clontarf Cricket Club, West Indies reached their target off the penultimate ball, when Darren Sammy flicked a delivery from Dewald Nel through backward square leg for a single.

The Caribbean side entered the last three overs needing 29, after they lost six wickets for 38 runs in the space of seven overs, but Gayle and Sammy kept their composure to navigate them through the closing stages with a stand of 38 – unbroken – for the seventh wicket.

The victory gave West Indies maximum points from their two matches, following a 10-wicket victory over the Netherlands on Tuesday at the same venue, and sets up a likely top-of-the-table clash with hosts Ireland on Saturday at Clontarf.

West Indies found their Scottish opponents a much tougher nut to crack than the Netherlands two days before, as Navdeep Poonia top-scored with 40, Neil McCallum made 27, and skipper Ryan Watson got 21.

Daren Powell continued to show steady improvement and he was the most successful West Indies bowler with three wickets for 38 runs from six overs, while Fidel Edwards collected two for 17 from 17 from seven overs.

West Indies were then made to wobble, as off-spin bowler Majid Haq collected four wickets for 28 runs from his allotment six overs to send them toppling from the comfort of 95 without loss in the 20th over to 133 for six in the 27th over.
The breakthrough came when Devon Smith top-edged a sweep at Haq and was caught at slip for 32.

The game came alive, when Runako Morton and Lendl Simmons fell bowled to Haq off successive balls for eight and zero respectively.

Dwayne Smith played his obligatory big stroke, when he smashed a delivery from Scotland captain Ryan Watson for six, but the same bowler had the last laugh, when he tried to repeat the stroke next over and he gave a tame return catch.

Denesh Ramdin was the third Haq victim, when he too, was bowled for one, and Austin Richards was stumped off Watson for two ahead of another tense finish to a match which suffered two sizeable stoppages for rain saw the match reduced to a 30 overs-a-side affair, after West Indies won the toss and chose to field.

The first interruption came after two overs of the Scotland innings, and on resumption, Powell removed openers Fraser Watts caught behind for eight and Haq caught in the outfield for 11.
When the second break for rain came, the Scots reached 111 for five, after Edwards and Rampaul shared three wickets between them.

Rampaul had Watson caught in the deep, while Edwards accounted for Poonia to a keeper’s catch and Omer Hussain to an lbw decision.

With less than five overs of the innings remaining, McCallam boosted the Scotland total with a 23-ball 27, clubbing four boundaries, and John Blain struck a six off Powell in the final over.

The competition continues on Friday, July 13 when Scotland face hosts Ireland at Belfast’s Civil Service Ground (Stormont).

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