Shimron Hetmyer Fifty Puts West Indies on Brink of Series Win

Shimron-Hetmyer-west indies
Left-hander Shimron Hetmyer salutes the dressing room after scoring his second T20 International fifty on Saturday night. Photo: cmc

Shimron Hetmyer reiterated his immense promise with a swift half-century as West Indies stormed to a 2-0 lead in the five-match series against Australia with an emphatic 56-run victory on Saturday.

Shaking off the lethargy which plagued their batting effort in Friday’s opener, West Indies produced one of their most complete performances in recent times, piling up an imposing 196 for four off their 20 overs, with the left-handed Hetmyer carving out 61 off 36 deliveries.

Veteran all-rounder Dwayne Bravo rolled back the years with an unbeaten 47 off 34 balls while Lendl Simmons chipped in with 30 and Andre Russell, a typically robust eight-ball unbeaten 24.

In reply, Australia were never really in the hunt after losing both openers to slide to 19 for two in the fourth over, and once Walsh ripped out the middle order to finish with three for 29 from his four overs, the visitors collapsed to 140 all out with four balls to spare.

The result marked the hosts’ largest margin of victory in seven years batting first, and followed on the heels of Friday’s 18-run win in the series opener.

“[In the pre-game meeting], I reminded the guys that in the last 19, 20 games we haven’t done well with the bat and I think we need to send a strong message and prove to ourselves, regardless of what people might say, that we still are the best team and best T20 players in the world,” Bravo said afterwards.

For Australia, the loss was their ninth in the last 13 T20 Internationals, leaving them on the brink of their fourth series defeat, and Marsh conceded they had been “thoroughly outplayed”.

“West Indies played really well. Anytime you’re chasing [197] against a very good West Indies side, it’s always going to be tough,” said the all-rounder.

Sent in, West Indies lost Andre Fletcher for nine in the third over and even though Simmons belted three sixes and a four off 21 balls in a 31-run, second wicket stand with Chris Gayle (13), the opening power-play still produced only 46 runs and surrendered two wickets.

The out-of-sorts Gayle spent 16 balls at the crease before dragging on a length ball from Marsh in the eighth over, as his personal crisis that has now yielded a paltry 122 runs from his last 11 innings, continued unhindered.

On three then, Man-of-the-Match Hetmyer transformed the game for West Indies in partnership with the promoted Bravo, the pair posting 103 off 61 deliveries in a record fourth wicket stand.

Hetmyer lashed two fours and four sixes while Bravo, twice dropped off leg-spinner Adam Zampa, chimed in with a four and three sixes.

With West Indies motoring, Hetmyer raised his fifty off 29 balls in the 17th over with a scoop for six off left-arm seamer Mitchell Starc, before finally perishing in the next over after bringing up the century stand with two successive fours, run out scampering a quick single.

Russell then took charge with a couple of fours and sixes in a 34-run, unbroken fifth wicket stand off 13 balls with Bravo, West Indies gathering 61 runs from the last four overs all told.

In reply, the Windies struck with the second ball of the innings when Russell snared Matthew Wade low at mid on off Sheldon Cottrell without a run on the board.

Speedster Fidel Edwards then bowled captain Aaron Finch with a full toss in the fourth over for six before Marsh patched up the innings, first in a 39-run third wicket stand with Josh Philippe (13) and then in a 43-run fourth wicket partnership with Moises Henriques (19).

On 101 for three at the start of the 14th, Australia faced an asking rate of nearly 14 runs an over but Marsh’s dismissal – caught by Bravo at long off off Walsh – complicated matters even more.

Ben McDermott (7) skied Russell to Bravo this time at long on in the next over and Walsh also got Henriques to hole out to mid-wicket in the 16th over, as Australia lost their last seven wickets for 39 runs.

CMC

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