SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates – Opener Johnson Charles struck a robust half-century in only his second One-Day International in seven years as West Indies clinched a series win with an uncomplicated 78-run victory over the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday.
A late inclusion in the squad as a replacement for Devon Thomas, the 34-year-old lashed 63 off just 47 deliveries in a Man-of-the-Match effort as West Indies were dismissed for 306 in the final over at Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
Crucially, he put on 129 for the first wicket with Brandon King who top-scored with 64 from 70 balls, while Odean Smith (37), Keacy Carty (32) and Kavem Hodge (26) all chipped in.
In reply, UAE were limited to 228 for seven off their 50 overs with teenager Ali Naseer getting his second straight fifty with 57 from 53 deliveries and Basil Hameed, 49 from 84 balls.
Vriitya Aravind got 36 and Aayan Afzal Khan, 25, but the innings lacked the impetus needed to seriously challenge the required run rate of 6.18, as left-arm spinner Kavem Hodge (2-46) and off-spinner Roston Chase (2-49) struck key blows.
West Indies now lead the three-match series 2-0, with the final ODI scheduled for the same venue on Thursday.
Opting to bat first, West Indies were powered early on by Charles and Johnson who dominated, the visitors gathering 84 from the first 10 overs.
Charles lashed eight fours and three sixes while King notched four fours and four sixes, the pair bringing up the century stand in the 13th over.
However, Charles perished at the end of the 17th over holing out in the deep and King followed with at the start of the 22nd over, taken on the ropes at long on through smart work by Basil Hameed.
With the partnership broken, the innings declined somewhat as West Indies found difficulty stringing together partnerships.
The next best stand was 43 for the sixth wicket between Hodge (26) and captain Shai Hope (23), as seamer Zahoor Khan claimed three for 44 to halt some of West Indies’ momentum.
Smith arrived at number nine to lash three fours and a six in a 24-ball cameo as West Indies gathered 60 runs from the last 10 overs.
UAE was set back early when they once again lost openers Muhammad Waseem (6) and Aryansh Sharma (20) cheaply, and wickets continued to tumble to leave the hosts tottering on 95 for five in the 24th over.
Any hopes West Indies of a quick end to the contest were then dashed, however, as Naseer and Hameed put on 80 for the sixth wicket to frustrate the visitors.
The 19-year-old Naseer, who made his debut last Sunday, struck half-dozen fours and three sixes while Hameed belted a single four and three sixes.
Chase broke the stand when he got Hameed to hole out to mid-wicket at the end of the 43rd over, the dismissal signalling the end of UAE’s resistance.