West Indies 357 for 4 (Hetmyer 127, Gayle 123) beat UAE 297 for 6 (Shahzad 112*, Anwar 64, Holder 5-53) by 60 runs
After losing to Afghanistan and surviving a scare against UAE in the warm-ups, West Indies launched their World Cup Qualifiers proper in style, amassing 357 for 4 against UAE in Harare. Chris Gayle led the way with a six-laden assault, finishing with 123 off 91 balls, while Shimron Hetmyer struck a maiden ODI hundred in his third match. Gayle’s innings contained 11 sixes and seven fours.
The carnage started when he smashed seamer Mohammed Naveed for three successive boundaries in the seventh over and followed it with two fours off offspinner Rohan Mustafa in the next over. In all, Gayle hit 35 runs off 25 balls from Mustafa, including three sixes. Evin Lewis added 31 in an 88-run opening stand before being pinned lbw by left-arm spinner Ahmed Raza in the 17th over.
Gayle then combined with Hetmyer to wreck UAE’s bowling attack. They plundered 103 runs at a run-rate of just over nine to set their side up for a tall score. After bringing up his first fifty off 47 balls, Gayle vaulted to his second off only 32 balls. He then celebrated the milestone with a hat-trick of sixes against Mustafa.
Soon after, legspinner Imran Haider had Gayle holing out, but Hetmyer continued to drive the innings. He hit 14 fours and four sixes before being dismissed in the 48th over. He was assisted by useful contributions from Shai Hope (35, before retiring hurt because of a sore knee) and captain Jason Holder (12 not out). West Indies, however, will be worried about Marlon Samuels’ form: he laboured to 15 off 34 balls. In the warm-up match against the same opposition, he had managed only 15 off 32 balls.
Five out of six UAE bowlers conceded more than six runs an over. Naveed gave away 53 runs in nine overs but could not find a wicket.
UAE did not go down without a fight in their reply. Rameez Shahzad scored a second ODI century, at over a run a ball, batting through after coming in in the 13th over. Shaiman Anwar hit a quick half-century, and another rapid cameo came down the order from Adnan Mufti. Still they hardly threatened the target, eventually falling 61 short of it. Jason Holder, meanwhile, picked up a second ODI five-for, taking five of the six wickets to fall in the chase.