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Windies back in fight overcoming Zimbabwe threat

West Indies set a target of 154 for Zimbabwe to chase down and then bowled them out for 122 to sneak in a crucial win in their T20 World Cup encounter at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart.

The Caribbeans started well despite losing Kyle Mayers early, with Johnson Charles and Evin Lewis establishing a vital stand. The introduction of spin though caused much damage, with a flurry of wickets then going down.

Sikandar Raza did the bulk of the damage, ending with figures of 3/19 in his four overs. He broke the stand between Lewis and Charles, with the wicket of the opener. Charles also departed for 45 after a mix-up with Rovman Powell, leading to a run-out.

West Indies were struggling at 101/6, but a late flourish from Powell and Akeal Hosein allowed them to post a score of 153/7. Powell made 28, while Hosein was unbeaten on 23.

Earlier, in a must-win encounter, West Indies skipper Nicholas Pooran called it right at the toss and opted to bat first. The West Indies made one forced change, with Johnson Charles coming in for Brandon King in the batting order.

Zimbabwe were also been forced into a change, with skipper Craig Ervine missing the contest due to an illness. Regis Chakabva captains the side in his absence, with Tony Munyonga replacing him in the side.

Zimbabwe started off optimistically, knocking off 18 runs in the first over by Kyle Mayers and 11 runs in the next by Akeal Hosein. The introduction of Alzarri Joseph reaped rewards for the West Indies as the tall quick picked up two wickets in his first two overs.

Obed McCoy added another in the last over of the Powerplay and Zimbabwe were suddenly in a spot of bother. Raza came out all guns blazing, smashing a six early in his innings but a wild heave off Odean Smith shortly after forced him to take a long walk back.

Akeal Hosein sent back Milton Shumba while the dangerous Ryan Burl was trapped in front by Jason Holder to dent Zimbabwe further. A late fight back from Luke Jongwe was put to an end by Alzarri Joseph, who picked up 4/16, each of his dismissals splattering the stumps.

The late burst from Jongwe, where he hit 17 runs off one Odean Smith over, allowed Zimbabwe to get closer to the West Indies target even if they lost. In a group where net run rate will likely become a factor later on, Scotland and Zimbabwe are in the top two with West Indies and Ireland following them. All four teams have two points apiece.

Playing XIs
West Indies: Kyle Mayers, Johnson Charles, Evin Lewis, Nicholas Pooran(w/c), Shamarh Brooks, Rovman Powell, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Odean Smith, Obed McCoy.

Zimbabwe: Regis Chakabva(w/c), Wesley Madhevere, Sean Williams, Sikandar Raza, Milton Shumba, Tony Munyonga, Ryan Burl, Luke Jongwe, Tendai Chatara, Richard Ngarava, Blessing Muzarabani.