King maiden century hands WI opening win
SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates (CMC):
Brandon King's maiden one-day international (ODI) century lifted West Indies to a comfortable seven-wicket victory over minnows United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the opening game of the three-match series yesterday.
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 12 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 West Indies restricted the hosts to 202 in the 48th over.
Leg-spinner Yannich Cariah, with two wickets for 26 runs and debutant left-arm seamer Dominic Drakes, with two for 29, chipped in 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, 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 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.