Shimron Hetmyer's explosive 36-ball 61 and his 103-run stand with Dwayne Bravo (47*) for the fourth wicket helped West Indies beat Australia by 56 runs in the second T20 International (T20I) at the Daren Sammy International Cricket Stadium, St Lucia. Andre Russell crashed 24 not out off only eight deliveries to leave the Aussies with a much tougher task. With this result, West Indies go 2-0 up in the five-match series.
Mitchell Marsh (54) scored his second fifty from as many matches but did not find enough support from the other end to take Australia anywhere close to their 197-run target. Marsh chipped in with a wicket with the ball as well.
After their brilliant batting display, West Indies were well supported by their bowlers as well, picking up wickets at regular intervals. Hayden Walsh bamboozled the Australian batsmen and finished with three wickets to his name, just like he did in the first match. Australia were eventually bowled out for just 140
This is the sixth time in the last seven T20Is when they have chased that Australia have lost, and in losing their last seven wickets for just 39 runs, they repeated the indiscretions and poor shot-selection which triggered their capitulation in the series-opener. In stark contrast to their own batting struggles in the first match, the West Indies found their scoring rhythm early and consistently via the Hetmyer-Bravo partnership, the best for the fourth wicket for the West Indies against Australia in T20 Internationals.
"This is probably the best innings I've played in this format and I really have to give credit to Dwayne (Bravo) for his support and guidance through the innings," said Hetmyer after receiving the "Man of the Match" award. "I was given the freedom to bat deep into the innings and everything worked out for us tonight."
Nicholas Pooran, once again leading the West Indies with Kieron Pollard still sidelined by injury, revealed after the match that it was Bravo who suggested a promotion to number five in the batting order, the highest position he has featured in a T20 International since 2016, the year the Caribbean team lifted the World T20 crown for a second time with a dramatic victory over England in the final in Kolkata.
Finch acknowledged the challenge for his bowlers in attempting to contain the attacking left-right-hand combination in the latter half of the innings. "That partnership between Hetmyer and Bravo was the difference in the game," the Australian skipper admitted. "And when you lose both openers early in the chase, it puts a lot of pressure on what is really an inexperienced middle-order, at least in this format of the game."
Australia are playing this series without household names like David Warner, Steven Smith and Glenn Maxwell who would normally be vital elements to their batting line-up. In contrast, a full-strength West Indies team appears to be regaining something like their best form after going down 3-2 to South Africa the previous fortnight in Grenada.
West Indies 196 for 4 in 20 overs (Shimron Hetmyer 61, Dwayne Bravo 41*; Mitchell Marsh 1 for 18) beat Australia 140 in 19.2 overs (Mitchell Marsh 54, Moises Henriques 19; Hayden Walsh 3 for 29) by 56 runs.
Player of the match Shimron Hetmyer
(With inputs from AFP)