It was a perfect birthday gift for St. Lucia which is celebrating its 34th anniversary of independence today, Friday, Feb. 22.
Centuries from St. Lucian Johnson Charles and Darren Bravo saw West Indies on their way to a comprehensive 156-run win over Zimbabwe in the opening one-day international at St George’s.
Charles made 130 after sharing in an opening partnership with Kieran Powell worth 168 while Bravo took eight off the final over – five from the final two balls – to reach an unbeaten 100, taking the West Indies to 337 for four.
It was a target which always looked beyond Zimbabwe and although Malcolm Waller scored 51, their batting failed to get going as they reached 181 for nine in reply.
The tourists had won the toss and elected to bowl, but it did them few favours as the West Indian top order dominated.
Charles’ innings included four sixes and 12 fours before he was bowled by Chris Mpofu’s yorker.
His was the second wicket to fall, and by the time it did the score was already on 248.
Powell went first for 79 also to Mpofu, who tempted the batsman into a pull shot that was caught by Craig Ervine at deep square leg.
Andre Russell followed soon after Charles, making just four, and Dwayne Bravo then departed for nine, but his half-brother Darren kept piling on the runs.
It was going to take a monumental effort from Zimbabwe to chase down their target and they fell well short despite the best efforts of Waller.
His fifth-wicket stand of 58 with Ervine helped the tourists recover from 34 for four after Vusi Sibanda (12), Chamu Chibhabha (six), Hamilton Masakadza (four) and captain Brendan Taylor (eight) had all come unstuck against the Windies’ bowlers.