Hetmyer, Cottrell lead Windies fight-back to level series

WI v Eng, 2nd ODI, report

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A stunning collapse handed the Windies a series-levelling victory in the second ODI against England by 26 runs.

As the last ball of the 40th over was about to be bowled by the Windies’ captain, Jason Holder, England needed 62 to win from 61 balls with six wickets in hand.

After losing two early wickets – openers Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow made two runs between them – sensible batting with the odd dash of power from Joe Root, captain Eoin Morgan, Ben Stokes, and Jos Buttler had almost put the result beyond doubt. England had chased 360 with ease two days ago; a target 70 runs less than that seemed little more than an opportunity for middle practice.

But Stokes edged the last ball of that over behind, and squandered a review thinking he’d hit the ground; he had, but he’d hit the ball at the same time. If that gave the homse side an opening, they didn’t start believing until Holder’s next over, when he struck twice in two balls, deceiving Buttler with a slower ball which he chipped to cover before pinning Tom Curran LBW. It would have been overturned on review, but Stokes had used it up.

In a matter of minutes the Windies had become favourites, and they didn’t relinquish their grip. Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid added a plucky 27, but another double-strike, this time from the saluting Sheldon Cottrell who bowled excellently and claimed his first five-for in ODIs, put the hosts a wicket away.

The next over, Liam Plunkett hoisted Carlos Brathwaite to Holder at long-on, and that was that. England had lost 6/35, and a game and series that had seemed in the bag was suddenly alive and kicking.

Earlier, the Windies had made 289/6 largely thanks to a stellar 82-ball century from Shimron Hetmyer.

Chris Gayle had helped lay the platform with a half-century, continuing his good form from the first ODI, when he struck a belligerent century on his comeback. Though he took his time to get set again, on this occasion he launched slightly earlier – having scored just six runs from his first 28 balls, he plundered 20 off his next 12.

John Campbell fell for a scratchy 23, pulling Liam Plunkett to mid-on, and soon after Adil Rashid was introduced, earlier than in the first ODI. He soon struck with a ripping leg-break to dismiss Gayle. Having set him up with googlies, the left-hander’s eyes lit up on seeing a wider ball, only for it to turn back in and clip the top of off.

Shai Hope and Darren Bravo each took their time to bed in and gave their wickets away before making it count. Hope pulled Stokes to Bairstow at deep square, and Bravo was caught dozing and run out by a Rashid direct hit.

When another direct hit – this time brilliance from Roy, with one stump to aim at – accounted for Holder, it seemed West Indies might struggle to make 250.

In the event, Hetmyer’s brilliance saw them closer to 300. Stokes and Curran were each pummelled for massive sixes, and it soon became a question not of whether England could get him out, but whether they could stop him reaching his hundred.

Even that was beyond them as he creamed Stokes down the ground from the penultimate ball of the innings to move past three figures. Perfectly timed, as was everything about his knock.