Great survivor Ramnaresh Sarwan leads West Indies to victory

Ramnaresh Sarwan

Ramnaresh Sarwan capitalised on an outrageous bit of good fortune to hit his first one-day century for three years and guide the West Indies to a series-clinching seven-wicket win over Zimbabwe.

Responding to Zimbabwe's challenging total of 273 for eight, the 32-year-old Guyanese right-hander put aside the torment of a short tour of Australia earlier in the month and finally stamped his return to the international scene with an unbeaten 120 yesterday -- his fifth and highest ODI score.

It ensured the target was overhauled off the final ball of the penultimate over to the delight of a boisterous home crowd.

It could have all gone so very differently however as he benefited from an umpiring error while the Zimbabweans also missed the opportunity to have the decision overturned which would have seen Sarwan run out for 53.

Sarwan's generous slice of luck came as he dashed for a single and Chamu Chibhabha's throw to the non-striker's end hit the stumps directly.

Presiding umpire Peter Nero ruled "not out" on the appeal, choosing - against general convention - not to seek confirmation of the decision from the television umpire.

TV replays showed Sarwan to be well out of his ground when the bails were removed, and although it was reason for justifiable anguish for the Zimbabweans, they failed to exercise their right of referral via the same television technology before the next ball was bowled.

Opening the batting for only the second time in his near 13-year senior international career, the former captain gave the hosts an excellent platform in an opening stand of 111 with Kieran Powell (57).

After Hamilton Masakadza had removed Powell and Darren Bravo in the space of three deliveries in the 26th over, Sarwan got good support from Narsingh Deonarine (42) before Kieron Pollard belted an unbeaten 41 off just 20 deliveries to ensure that victory was achieved.

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