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Opener Brandon King drives during his top score of 112 in the opening ODI against UAE, on June 4, 2023. (Photo courtesy CWI Media)

Windies win opener

June 5, 2023

CMC – Brandon King’s maiden One-Day International lifted West Indies to a comfortable seven-wicket victory over minnows United Arab Emirates, in the opening game of the three-match series there on Sunday.

In pursuit of a modest 203 at Sharjah Cricket Stadium, West Indies produced a measured chase to overhaul their target in the 36th over, with the 28-year-old King top-scoring with a run-a-ball 112 in his 23rd ODI, notching a dozen fours and four sixes.

Shamarh Brooks struck 44 and Johnson Charles 24, both partnering with King in key early stands which provided the platform for West Indies’ dominance.

Earlier, seamer Keemo Paul claimed three for 34 in his first ODI in nearly a year as the Caribbean side restricted the hosts to 202 all out in the 48th over.

Leg-spinner Yannich Cariah (2-26) and debutant left-arm seamer Dominic Drakes (2-29) chipped in with a brace of wickets apiece, to ensure the UAE never found any real momentum after choosing to bat.

Debutant Ali Naseer, a 19-year-old left-hander, top-scored with 58 from 52 deliveries while Vriitya Aravind struck a patient 40 from 77 deliveries and Asif Khan, 27 from 41 balls.

Both openers perished cheaply, captain Muhammad Waseem to only the second ball of the match, bowled through the gate by Paul and Aryansh Sharma (5), also bowled missing a drive at Drakes in the fourth over.

Aravind patched up the innings in a third wicket stand of 75 – first with Rameez Shazad who made 12 before retiring hurt in the 12th over and then with Asif, who belted two fours and a six.

Aravind struck three fours off 77 deliveries before nicking a wide ball from Cariah behind in the 25th, and Shazad’s return yielded little, adding just four before departing in the following over, lbw to off-spinner Roston Chase.

Wickets fell steadily to leave UAE on 145 for seven in the 38th over before Naseer, who lashed five fours and two sixes, put on 48 for the eighth wicket with Karthik Meiyappan (11) to ensure the tail wagged.

In reply, the result was never in doubt once King put on 48 with Charles for the first wicket and then added a further 91 for the second wicket with Brooks.

Charles, in his first ODI in seven years, lashed four fours and a six in a 19-ball cameo before missing a drive at seamer Zahoor Khan and having his leg-stump pegged back in the ninth over.

Brooks, meanwhile, faced 58 balls and counted five fours and looked a good bet for a half-century before he perished in the 28th over, lbw missing a sweep at steady left-arm spinner Aayan Afzal Khan.

King’s first fifty was a cautious one, requiring 74 balls and achieved with a single to deep mid-wicket in the 21st over. His second fifty was more robust, however, needing only 33 balls. 

He reached the landmark with the second of his three sixes in the 34th over from 22-year-old leg-spinner Karthik Meiyappan – clearing the ropes at long on with a clean strike.

King dominated a 54-run, third wicket stand with Keacy Carty (seven not out) before finally departing with victory in sight, caught at the wicket trying to steer off-spinner Karthik Meiyappan square on the off-side.

Captain Shai Hope arrived to end the game quickly, thumping sixes off the first two deliveries of the 36th over from Meiyappan.

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