Shimron Hetmyer’s magnificent 139 of 106 was the spearhead of the West Indies successful run chase yesterday in Chennai. His swashbuckling stroke play and brutally powerful ball striking was supported masterfully by a typically elegant touch hundred from Shai Hope. Combined, this partnership of 218 from 206 deliveries enabled the West Indies to comfortably chase down India’s healthy looking total of 287 with 13 balls remaining and 8 wickets in hand.
At the start of the West Indies reply, WinViz gave the Windies a 29% chance of taking the win. The pitch had been slow and was offering significant turn, so with three quality spinners in the Indian ranks the smart money would have been on the hosts to spin a web around the men from the Carribean. But the 4th biggest hundred from West Indian on Indian soil enabled the tourists to set the standard, and take a 1-0 lead in the series.
Typically, Hetmyer’s innings are often brutal and brilliant with a career strike rate of 104.92 and a boundary percentage of 11.5% before this innings. He lived up to his billing yesterday, with a strike rate of 131.13 and with 16.98% of deliveries disappearing to the boundary.
Throughout his career, Hetmyer has shown little in the way of favouritism between the slower and quicker bowlers, and this innings followed a similar narrative. Facing 53 balls of each, he plundered 66 runs from the quicker bowlers with 18.9% in boundaries, and 73 runs off the spinners with 15.1% boundaries.
Hetmyer demonstrated an excellent temperament throughout his innings, and enough intelligence to know when to attack, and when to defend, a quality that the best batsman possess.
As the table above shows, there was a clear increase in attacking intent throughout the innings as the strike rate through the innings phases slowly increased. Coincidentally the dot ball percentage throughout the innings generally fell, and the boundary percentage generally rose towards the latter stages of the innings. This suggests that as well as the brutal power that characterised the end of the innings, Hetmyer also displayed the cricketing brain essential to play at the highest level, as the field spread he was able to bring down the dot percentage to keep the run chase ticking over nicely.
The innings wagon wheel shows that Hetmyer clearly favours the leg side, with 75 of his runs coming in front of square on the leg side. In his ODI career, his scoring habits remain mostly similar to this innings, with the majority of his career runs coming through the very same region in front of square on the legside.
It’s wonderful timing for Hetmyer personally, given the IPL auction is just around the corner – but more to the point, this could be another staging post for the young man, marking his evolution from talented youngster to star performer, delivering more often than not. Two more games to go in this series which, if all goes to plan, could mark the coming of age of another Caribbean genius.