ST JOHN’S, Antigua – West Indies batting star Shimron Hetmyer sparkled with his seventh List A hundred while starring in a record fifth wicket stand, as Guyana Jaguars clobbered Windward Islands Volcanoes by 95 runs to secure their berth in Saturday’s final of the Regional Super50 Cup.
With his side floundering on 63 for four in the 13th over after being asked to bat first in the second semi-final at Coolidge Cricket Ground here Thursday, the 24-year-old produced an innings of the highest class to hit 113 off 80 deliveries and propel Jaguars to 305 for seven off their 50 overs.
West Indies all-rounder, Raymon Reifer, in his first outing of the tournament following the Test series in Bangladesh, struck an entertaining career-best 90 off 104 balls in an innings of no less importance.
Together, he and Hetmyer plundered the Volcanoes bowling especially in the middle overs, posting 194 to break a 23-year-old Guyana record for the fifth wicket.
In reply, the left-handed Alick Athanaze top-scored with 58 off 75 deliveries but found no support, and Volcanoes were dismissed for a disappointing 210 with 22 balls remaining.
Kavem Hodge, also in his first match after returning from Bangladesh, chipped with 28 along with Kevin Stoute while captain Sunil Ambris got 27, but Volcanoes declined quickly from 144 for four in the 35th over, losing their last six wickets for 66 runs.
Left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie, Jaguars’ leading bowler in the tournament, grabbed the key wickets to finish with four for 53 while another left-armer, Chandrapaul Hemraj, weighed in with two for 35.
With the victory, Jaguars set up a meeting in the final with Trinidad and Tobago Red Force, who brushed aside Jamaica Scorpions on Wednesday night.
Jaguars captain Leon Johnson afterwards praised the effort by Hetmyer and Reifer, noting they had taken responsibility as senior players.
“We had a wobble there in the middle and we lost four quick wickets but our international players, Hetty and Raymon showed [their] class today. They dug us out of that hole,” said Johnson.
“We’ve asked the senior players to put their hands up at crucial times and they did that today.”
It was fast bowler Ray Jordan (3-45) who shook up Jaguars with a hostile spell, accounting for opener Tevin Imlach (14), all-rounder Chris Barnwell for eight and the prized wicket of Johnson for a first ball ‘duck’.
Fellow seamer Ryan John, who claimed three for 42, knocked over Chandrapaul Hemraj for a breezy 24, caught at short third man in the eighth over after putting on 34 for the first wicket with Imlach.
Jordan then had Imlach caught down the leg-side by wicketkeeper Emmanuel Stewart off an innocuous delivery in the 11th over before removing Barnwell and Johnson in successive deliveries in his next over.
He pinned Barnwell lbw with a yorker on leg stump with the fourth delivery of the 13th over before getting Johnson to top-edge the very next ball for Stoute to take an excellent diving catch at fine leg.
Dropped on 12 by Stewart off Jordan diving to his left, Hetmyer made the most of the opportunity to belt 11 fours and five sixes in a remarkable combination of power and finesse, while Reifer stroked eight fours and three sixes.
Hetmyer moved to 99 with a cover-driven four off left-arm spinner Larry Edward in the 39th over before following up with a single to long off to reach triple figures.
The left-hander eventually perished to a catch at the wicket off seamer Stoute in the 41st over and when Reifer holed out to deep cover 17 balls later off John, the innings fell away with Jaguars managing only 49 runs from the last 10 overs and going without a single boundary for the last 46 deliveries of the innings.
“When we dropped Hetty there I think that was the turning point in the game. He’s a really crucial player for them and I think he played a very special innings after that,” said a disappointed Ambris.
In reply, the 22-year-old Athanaze put on 54 for the first wicket with Hodge but the partnership required 79 deliveries, placing enormous pressure on the chase and leaving the required rate at nearly seven runs per over.
Once Hodge was run out by Imlach’s direct hit at the non-striker’s end in the 14th over, Athanaze put on 23 for the second wicket with Andre Fletcher (8) and another 23 for the third with Ambris, before missing a reverse sweep at Motie and falling lbw in the 27th over after striking four fours and a six.
Keron Cotty (11) holed out to long on off off-spinner Kevin Sinclair in the 30th at 113 for four with the required rate at nearly nine and Ambris struck three fours in a run-a-ball knock, featuring in a 31-run fifth wicket stand with Stoute, before becoming Motie’s second wicket in the 35th over.
Tottering on 144 for five, the pressure told on Volcanoes lower order and it collapsed beneath the weight. (CMC)