Windies bowlers produced some late drama as Sheldon Cottrell’s maiden five-wicket haul helped Windies seal a series-levelling 26-run win over England in the second ODI in Barbados on Friday (February 22). There were solid half-centuries from Eoin Morgan and Ben Stokes but Windies bowlers made a sensational comeback in the last ten overs to snatch the contest from the visitors. Windies total, however, was set up by the flamboyant ton from Shimron Hetmyer as he smashed unbeaten 104 to lift the side to 289 for 6.
England made an absolutely horrific start with both openers falling to Cottrell with just 10 on the board. While Jonny Bairstow fell for a first-ball duck, Jason Roy chopped one back on to leave the team wobbling. Eoin Morgan and Joe Root steadied things and put the chase back on track with a half-century stand. Root was the aggressor and gave the England captain enough cushion to settle in after a slow start. However, the vice-captain fell to Oshane Thomas – caught behind trying to cut a wide one – as England slipped to 60 for 3.
Having being pushed on the backfoot, Morgan launched a solid counter attack and picked up the scoring rate. He took on Ashley Nurse and Thomas to ease the pressure and reached his half-century in the 25th over. Chris Gayle was brought into the attack and even he was dismissed over the boundaries as England continued to march towards the target. The Stokes-Morgan collaborating fetched England 99 and the duo really imposed themselves on the bowlers to transfer the pressure back on Windies. Cottrell produced another moment of brilliance in the 31st over as he dismissed Morgan for an 83-ball 70.
England were 159 for 4 at that stage and needed 131 more to seal the contest. Jos Buttler got going quickly as the next 9.4 overs produced 69 runs to put England within touching distance. However, with ten overs to go and 62 more needed, England lost their way. Stoke fell to Jason Holder and five runs later Buttler too succumbed to the Windies captain. Tom Curran was trapped lbw on the first ball he faced as the side slipped from 228 for 4 to 233 for 7. Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid got the equation down to 40 off the last five overs before Cottrell came and sealed the game for Windies.
Bowling the 47th, the left-arm pacer first had Rashid caught behind on the third ball and then two balls later bowled Moeen to complete his maiden five-wicket haul in ODIs. Liam Plunkett too was consumed by the growing pressure as he fell in the very next over to Carlos Braithwaite and gave Windies a morale-boosting win.
Earlier in the day, Hetmyer’s timely assault was crucial in Windies posting a challenging total after being reduced to 237 for 6. Windies scored 72 runs in the last seven overs with the left-hander doing plenty of damage. That period changed the game in Windies’ favour after England had done well to keep things in check for the first 45 overs in the day. Gayle and John Campbell scored 61 for the opening wicket after Windies were put in to give the side a solid start. Gayle scored his 50th half-century in the format but fell with 98 on the board.
Windies then slipped to 121 for 3 before Darren Bravo and Hetmyer repaired the damage and set the side on course for a target of more than 250. Bravo fell in the 38th over just when it seemed the duo will bully the English bowlers. England tightened the noose from there on and reduced the hosts to 237 for 6.
Hetmyer timed his assault perfectly and got to his half-century off 47 deliveries. He, however, kept losing partners and was forced to delay the late blitz. Bravo played the ball straight to third man and took off for a single. Rashid, from short third man, got in a direct hit and find Bravo short. Holder too failed to get going as was dismissed for 3. Distracted by an lbw appeal in the 39th over, the Windies captain left his crease trying to find a single. Roy inflicted another direct hit from point to ensure England got on top just at the right time.
Carlos Brathwaite struggled for 21 deliveries before he was bowled by Mark Wood as Hetymer continued to lose partners. To his credit though, Hetmyer didn’t back away from playing attacking strokes to keep Windies marching. In the 44th over, he collected 18 off Stokes to take the score past 250. Wood was exceptional in the end and Stokes too managed to keep things in check as Hetmyer threat loomed large in the last five overs. The left-hander completed his ton in the very last over – off 82 balls – and ensured the bowlers had more than enough to work with on the day.
Brief scores: Windies 289/6 in 50 overs (Shimron Hetmyer 104*) beat England 263 (Ben Stokes 79; Sheldon Cottrell 5-46) by 26 runs.
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