Saturday, April 20, 2024

There were scenes of uninhibited jubilation in the stands at Kensington Oval

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last night for the triumphant West Indies team.

Spurred by Shimron Hetmyer’s scintillating fourth ODI century and a career-best five-wicket haul by leftarm pacer Sheldon Cottrell, spectators celebrated a thrilling 26-run victory over world No.1 England.

The winning moment came a few minutes before 7:15 p.m., with captain Jason Holder fittingly taking the final catch to level the five-match series 1-1.

It ended a topsy-turvy second daynight Colonial Medical Insurance One-Day International before another sellout crowd when the exciting 22-yearold left-handed Hetmyer and Cottrell were the unquestioned stars.

Guyanese Hetmyer stroked seven fours and four sixes in an unbeaten 104 off 83 balls to lift the Windies to a respectable 289 for six in their 50 overs.

But it was Cottrell, who didn’t play in Wednesday’s six-wicket loss, who rocked England at the start of their innings and towards the end as they were dismissed for 263 in 47.4 overs.

Cottrell, the muscular 29-yearold Jamaican soldier playing only his seventh ODI, finished with the figures of five for 46 in nine overs after rocking England by firing out openers, Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy for first-ball “duck” and two, respectively.

Proudly making his trademark salute after each wicket, Cottrell was supported by Holder, who swung the pendulum the Windies’ way in a second spell.

Holder took the key wickets of England’s top-scorer Ben Stokes, who made 79 off 85 balls and dangerous wicketkeeper Jos Buttler, who had featured in 79-run fifth-wicket stand.

Holder ended with three for 53 in his ten overs as England lost their last six wickets for 35 runs in 7.5 overs.

Hetmyer, who has been renamed “Hit-myer” by adoring fans, stole the spotlight from veteran opener Chris Gayle after the West Indies were sent in on the pitch next to the one used for Wednesday’s record-breaking 724-run feast.

Gayle followed up his 135 with an even 50 off 63 balls, decorated with four sixes and a four after sharing an opening stand of 61 in 12.1 overs with fellow Jamaican left-hander John Campbell, who made 23.

Much to Gayle’s delight, England introduced off-spinner Moeen Ali after just seven overs. Gayle nonchalantly lifted his third ball over long-on for six and in his next over, swung him over mid-wicket for another six before launching a third six over long-on.

Gayle also pulled pacer Liam Plunkett for a fourth six over backward square leg, while new batsman Shai Hope whipped the same bowler for another six over mid-wicket.

But after reaching his 50, Gayle swung at leg-spinner Adil Rashid and was bowled.

Hope soon followed, pulling a short ball from Stokes straight to Bairstow on the square leg boundary after making 33 off 45 balls with a four and two sixes.

Hetmyer entered the fray at that stage and added 76 for the fourth wicket with Darren Bravo who was run out for 24. After Holder was also run out for just three, Hetmyer took over as Carlos Brathwaite struggled for 13 off 22 balls.

Hetmyer straight and cover drove Plunkett for boundaries before smashing Ali for two sixes in one over as he reached his 50 off 47 balls.

Brathwaite, who took 13 balls to get off the mark, smashed Stokes for one massive six over long-off in an over which cost 18 runs as Hetmyer also lashed the last ball over long-on for his third six.

After Brathwaite was bowled by Wood, the innings got a late boost with Hetmyer and Ashley Nurse adding 52 in 5.3 overs in an unbroken seventhwicket

In reply, Cottrell trapped Bairstow lbw for a first-ball duck and with the first ball of his second over, he induced first ODI hero Jason Roy to play on.

England’s captain Eoin Morgan entered with his team in early strife on 10 for two, and batted beautifully for 70 off 83 balls with five fours and three sixes.

Joe Root also played attractively for 36 before falling to pacer Oshane Thomas. Morgan then featured in 99run partnership with Stokes but once Holder returned for a second spell, he swung the match Windies’ way as three wickets fell in the space of five runs.

With England needing 72 off 11 overs, Stokes pulled Holder for a six, but the bowler got his revenge when the batsman edged to wicketkeeper Hope. Holder then deceived Buttler with a slower ball which he scooped to Hetmyer at extra cover.

The Windies were fortunate to get Tom Curran off the next ball from Holder, when he was given out lbw by umpire Gregory Brathwaite.

But even though England got a reprieve when Holder dropped Rashid in the covers off the luckless Bishoo before he had scored, Cottrell made two more decisive strikes when he returned for a final burst.

The equation came down to 40 runs off the last five overs but Cottrell claimed his fourth wicket, having Rashid caught by Hope for 15 as England declined to 260 for eight.

One run later, Cottrell captured his fifth wicket, bowling Ali behind his back for 12 and in the next over, Brathwaite took the final wicket when Plunkett was caught inside the longoff boundary by Holder, triggering unrestrained celebrations by the players and spectators.

by

ezrastuart@nationnews.com

(Picture by Kenmore Bynoe.)

West Indies batsman Shimron Hetmyer hitting out during his unbeaten 104.

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