Charles dedicates second ODI century to St.Lucia

St. George's (Grenada), Feb 24 (IANS): West Indies opener Johnson Charles has dedicated his second century in One-Day Internationals to his country of birth, St. Lucia, which celebrated its 34th anniversary of independence Friday.

The powerful opener made a career-best 130 off 111 balls against Zimbabwe in the first ODI to follow up his 100 against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground two weeks ago.

"This is a special knock for me and I want to dedicate it to the people of my country in St Lucia as we celebrate our independence," said Charles.

"I wanted to do something really memorable and I was happy I could deliver the goods."

Charles looked in charge from the start of the innings and hit 12 boundaries and four sixes.

He added a record 168 for the first wicket with left-hander Kieran Powell, who made 79 off 88 balls.

"I felt I batted really well. People know me as 'Johnson Charles the man who is a blaster', but I wanted to show that it's not about what you like, but what you have to do," he said.

"My role in the team as an opener is to give the team a solid start and look to bat deep into the innings, and I managed to achieve that."

Charles made his ODI debut last year against Australia in the Caribbean and struggled in the early stages.

He joined the West Indies High Performance Centre in Barbados and said that move played a significant role in his development.

"I used to look to hit everything but I have realised there is a job to be done as an opener," said Charles.

"If I get the ball to hit I will hit it, but I am more selective and I look to build a platform and build an innings. My time at the Sagicor HPC has been the turnaround in my career."

The home side, backed by a colourful holiday crowd at the Grenada National Stadium, completely outplayed the visitors.

West Indies made 337-4 from their 50 overs and Zimbabwe could only muster 181-9 as international cricket made a successful return to the Spice Isle.


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