Hetmyer, Bravo and bowlers dominate as West Indies take 2-0 series lead
SUMMARY: West Indies 196-4 from 20 overs (Hetmyer 61, Bravo 47*, Simmons 31, Russell 24*, Marsh 1-18, Agar 1-28, Hazlewood 1-40) vs Australia 140 all out in 19.2 overs (Marsh 54, Walsh Jr. 3-29, Cottrell 2-22)
Australia will need to win three straight matches to avoid a fourth consecutive T20 International series defeat after a pummelling at the hands of the West Indies, who consigned them to a second defeat in as many days.
Shimron Hetmyer (61 off 36 balls) and Dwayne Bravo (47* from 34) put on 103 from only 61 balls in a dominant batting display before Andre Russell continued his hold over the Aussies, following up last night’s devastating half-century by thrashing 24* from just eight deliveries.
It fired the Windies to an imposing 196-4, which the visitors never looked like threatening and eventually fell short of by 56 runs – their fifth-heaviest defeat in T20 Internationals.
Mitch Marsh (54 off 42) was just about the only positive for the Australians, with the right-hander posting a second half-century from his new spot at number three in as many nights.
The Aussies’ rotten evening was summed up by a calamitous run-out between Dan Christian and Ashton Agar that saw the latter run-out after both players ended up at the non-striker’s end.
It came in a collapse of 7-39. On Friday, they had lost 7-38.
Batting collapses among them, the concerns are numerous for Australia ahead of the series’ third match in less than 48 hours at the same venue that is hosting the entire five-game series.
Australia have had no answers for explosive Russell, who is hitting a six roughly every five balls in this series and has a strike-rate of 208.
The all-rounder also had a significant impact with his athletic fielding on Saturday, saving a certain six off Marsh an over before the Western Australian was caught on the boundary.
Their death bowling – the Windies scored 61 from their final four overs – and catching – Bravo offered three chances, two of them dropped and a third that Adam Zampa was unable to get a hand on – was also lacking.
The sight of the 37-year-old Bravo taking a match-defining running catch on the long-off boundary, not far from coach-selector Justin Langer’s viewing room, only served to reinforce the importance of fielding.
Their play against spin will also come under the microscope as Hayden Walsh (3-29 from four overs) and Fabian Allen (0-22 from four) again restricted them through the middle overs.
The Australians would have noted Mitchell Starc’s ineffectiveness in going wicketless and conceding 89 runs from his eight overs in the series to date, though the left-arm quick’s otherwise impeccable T20 record has him with some credits in the bank.
Sheldon Cottrell had earlier made a dream return to the maroon when Russell took a sharp catch off a Matthew Wade miscue, and should have had a second when Andre Fletcher (recalled at the expense of the ill Evin Lewis) dropped a sitter off Aaron Finch at point.
It cost them little as he failed to pick up a dipping full-toss slower ball from Fidel Edwards, a few balls before the slingy paceman left the field with an tricep injury.
From 58-3 when Josh Philippe was bowled by Walsh, Marsh carried the torch with a crucial knock but, only an over after Russell had saved a certain six with a remarkable athletic save, Bravo’s brilliance prompted the procession.
The Windies were sent in for the second time in the series and Lendl Simmons, despite having a new opening partner in Fletcher, might have been having déjà vu as he again played a lone hand at the top.
After making 27 of the first 34 runs on Friday evening, the right-hander hit 30 off the first 44 on Saturday, playing a forehand slap off Josh Hazlewood that Wimbledon champion Ash Barty would have been proud of.
Again the Windies found themselves in trouble at 59-3 when a puzzling innings from Chris Gayle (13 off 16) was ended by Marsh, meaning the 41-year-old has now passed 20 just once in nine innings since his return to international cricket this year.
But an initial period of consolidation paid dividends as Hetmyer and Bravo got set before clearing the rope seven times before between them.
The class of the 24-year-old Hetmyer was evident in a stunning inside-cover drive for six off Adam Zampa, before a daring scoop off Starc that also went all the way.
A perplexing decision by Bravo to run a bye saw Hetmyer run-out though it worked out perfectly as Russell iced the innings to perfection by taking 16 off Dan Christian’s final over of the innings including a last-ball six. (cricket.com.au)