Athanaze and Sinclair lead Windies to series-sweeping win

A record half-century on debut from Alick Athanaze followed up a career-best spell from Kevin Sinclair and enabled West Indies to clinch a four-wicket win against hosts United Arab Emirates in the third One-day International on Friday and complete a 3-0 series sweep.

Left-hander Athanaze cracked nine fours and three sixes in the top score of 65 from 45 balls and equalled the record for the fastest half-century on ODI debut, and the Caribbean side successfully chased 185 in the day-night contest at the Sharjah International Cricket Stadium.

Off-spinner Kevin Sinclair grabbed a career best four for 24 for West Indies. (Photo courtesy CWI Media)

Sinclair, 23, playing in his fourth ODI, set things up with a spell of four for 24 from 7.1 overs to earn the Player-of-the-Match award, and leg-spinner Yannic Cariah supported with two for 34 from eight overs, and the UAE were bowled out for 184 in 36.1 overs after they chose to bat.

Opening the batting, Athanaze reached his half-century from only 26 balls when he drilled a delivery from off-spinner Rohan Mustafa through extra cover for his seventh four to equal the record Krunal Pandya of hosts India set against England two years ago in Pune.

The left-handed Dominican batsman opened his account with a four over mid-wicket off pacer Junaid Siddique in the first over of the chase, and stepped up a gear with two sixes in three balls over the square leg region in the next over off left-arm spinner Aayan Afzal Khan.

He added three fours– two in the arc behind square on the off-side – in the third over off Siddique, who he whipped through mid-on for another four in the seventh over before he pulled left-arm pacer Muhammad Jawadullah over backward square leg for six in the next over to move within reach of 50.

Athanaze dominated an opening stand of 35 with Johnson Charles, and he was the main driving force behind a second wicket partnership of 66 with Shamar Brooks that put the visitors firmly on track before he was lbw to Khan with 84 needed from 35.2 overs.

Brooks made 33, stand-in captain Roston Chase was not out on 27, and Keacy Carty made 20, but West Indies endured a crisis of confidence and a relatively straightforward chase became a bit dicey when they lost three wickets for 13 in the span of 18 balls.

They were 138 for three at the halfway stage after Brooks was caught at deep mid-wicket off Khan in the 23rd over, and they stumbled to 145 for five when leg-spinner Karthik Meiyappan nabbed Carty and Kavem Hodge off successive balls in the 26th over.

Left-hander Raymon Reifer joined Chase, made 15 and put 36 for the sixth wicket to get them back on track before he was caught at deep backward square leg off Jawadullah with four needed from 96 balls.

Chase did not have the honour of hitting the winning runs in his first international leading the Caribbean side, but he faced the eventual final delivery of the match, a wide from Jawadullah that sealed the win with 89 balls remaining.

The visitors rested their appointed captain Shai Hope and Chase led the side, and they also gave a break to Player-of-the-Series Brandon King, as well as pacers Odean Smith and Dominic Drakes, replacing them with Athanaze, Reifer, Sinclair, and all-rounder Keemo Paul after they won the first ODI by seven wickets last Sunday at the same venue, where they also won the second ODI by 78 runs.

UAE made six changes with Aryansh Sharma, Asif Khan, Basil Hameed, Sanchit Sharma, Adhitya Shetty, and Zahoor Khan all being left out, and Rameez Shahzad, Mustafa, Meiyappan, and Siddique coming in, as well as newcomers Ethan D’Souza and Jawadullah.

Earlier, Sinclair triggered a batting collapse after Vriitya Aravind anchored two successive half-century stands with his captain Muhammad Waseem and Shahzad in a top score of 70 off 75 balls, and the UAE reached 142 for two in the 23rd over.

Reifer got Waseem for 42 with his left-arm pace in the 12th over after the UAE captain put on 69 with Aravind, and Sinclair transformed the complexion of the match when he held a return catch to dismiss Shahzad for 27 after the batsman added 55 for the third wicket with Aravind.

Sinclair and Cariah carved up the rest of the batting with tidy bowling in the middle passage, and there were two needless run outs, and the hosts lost their last seven wickets for 34 in the span of 78 balls.

West Indies will now pack their bags and on Saturday head to Zimbabwe, where they will play with nine other teams in the final qualification tournament for the ICC Men’s ODI Cricket World Cup 2023 India.

The Caribbean side have been drawn in Group A along with Nepal, Netherlands, United States, and hosts Zimbabwe for the qualifiers, which starts on Sunday, June 18, and runs until July 9 in the cities of Harare and Bulawayo. (CMC)

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