Dashing left-hander Shimron Hetmyer transferred his already immense powers into the Twenty20 format, smashing a audacious unbeaten half-century to carry Guyana Amazon Warriors to a comfortable six-wicket win over Chris Gayle’s St Kitts and Nevis Patriots here Thursday night.
Gayle’s 86 from 65 deliveries had helped Patriots to 146 for five off their 20 overs after being sent in at the Guyana National Stadium, in the second match of the Caribbean Premier League.
And though Amazon Warriors slumped to 24 for three inside the first three overs of their run chase, the 21-year-old Hetmyer counter-attacked with an astonishing 79 from just 45 balls in only his fourth T20, to deliver victory for the home side with 21 balls remaining.
Nepalese leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane (2-12) and left-arm quick Sheldon Cottrell (2-21) rocked Amazon Warriors to put the game in limbo.
Cottrell bowled Luke Ronchi without scoring with a full length delivery at the end of the first over and off the first ball of the next over, Lamichhane claimed the other opener Chadwick Walton for nine, caught at mid-on.
When captain Shoaib Malik feathered a catch to the keeper in Cottrell’s second over for 14, Amazon Warriors were reeling.
However, Hetmyer arrived to transform the contest in a hurry, belting nine fours and four sixes to overpower the Patriots attack.
He dominated a 62-run fourth wicket stand with Jason Mohammed (16) and then took Amazon Warriors over the line in an unbroken 62-run, fifth wicket stand with Chris Green who finished on 25 not out.
Hetmyer ripped into West Indies teammmate Alzarri Joseph in the fifth over which leaked 20 runs before raising his maiden T20 half-century in the 11th over off 29 balls.
Ben Cutting felt his wrath in the 16th over, hammered for two fours and a six and Hetmyer fitting ended the game by smashing Joseph straight for four in the next over.
Veteran Gayle had earlier threatened to notch his 22nd T20 hundred but he perished in the penultimate over, leaving Patriots short of a really competitive total.
All told, Gayle struck seven fours and five sixes but failed to get support as no other batsman passed 20.
However, he added 61 with Top Cooper (15) for the second wicket after Evin Lewis fell cheaply for one in the fourth over, and put on another 43 for the third wicket with Cutting.
With three figures in sight, Gayle holed out in the deep to a brilliant running catch by 19-year-old Guyanese Sherfane Rutherford off South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir.
Windies seamer Keemo Paul was the best bowler with two for 16 from his four overs.