Hetmyer expects West Indies to keep improving as UAE take 'only positives' from World Cup Qualifier display
Left-handed batsman top-scored for the Caribbean nation who opened their campaign in Zimbabwe with a 60-run win over the UAE
Shimron Hetmyer expects West Indies to go from “strength to strength” after starting their World Cup Qualifier with a 60-run win over UAE in Harare.
Many had speculated quite how much appetite the West Indies players would have for a tournament they are playing in for the first time, which mostly involves nations from the second tier of international cricket.
They were given extra reason for doubt when the Caribbean side were beaten by Afghanistan, then bowled out for 115 by UAE in practice matches last week.
However, as soon as the competition proper was underway they showed their pedigree, savaging the UAE bowlers to the tune of 357-4 from their 50 overs.
The identity of one of the destroyers was predictable. Chris Gayle made 123. He was overshadowed, though, by a scintillating 127 from Hetmyer.
It was the 21-year-old left-hander’s maiden one-day international century, and the West Indies hope it will be the first of many.
“It is very important for me,” Hetmyer said. “The first hundred for any batsman, especially a young batsman, is very important. From here it is all about consistency, and I want to continue from where I left off. It means a lot to my confidence.”
The highly-rated Guyanese batsman said his side had had the perfect start to the tournament.
“We are moving from strength to strength, after the warm-up games moving to this game,” he said.
“We are really catching ourselves, as people from the Caribbean would say. We are just trying to string together good performances in every game.”
Dougie Brown, the UAE coach, was proud of the fight shown by his batsmen, with Rameez Shahzad ending unbeaten on 112, Shaiman Anwar making 64, and Adnan Mufti playing a sparkling cameo worth 45.
“I was delighted with the last 50 overs, it was everything we had been training for for the past 12 month,” Brown said.
“It was great to see one of our players scoring a hundred. For Rameez to score his second ODI hundred, against a very good attack, was very important.
“Chasing 358 was always going to be an ominous task, and many teams would have chucked the towel in. On reflection, there were only positives to take from the day.”
Despite the combined efforts of Gayle, Hetmyer and Rameez, the biggest cheer of the day at Old Hararians was totally unrelated to the action the crowd were watching.
As Rameez tried to navigate his way through the final over, the spectators roared with delight as news filtered through that Zimbabwe had beaten Afghanistan in Group B, over 400kms away in Bulawayo.
The host nation won a thriller by two runs, while the Afghans, who started the tournament as favourites, have lost both their opening matches.
Ireland and Scotland also have two wins from two, as they beat Papua New Guinea and Hong Kong respectively.
Updated: March 6, 2018 09:38 PM