Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) Sunil Narine unfurled a miserly spell of death bowling as they edged out IPL strugglers Kings XI Punjab by just two runs in the Indian Premier League.

In the end, Glenn Maxwell agonisingly missed out on a six that would have forced a Super Over. 

Kings XI had looked to be cruising towards a target of 165 but, just as they did in their previous match with Chennai Super Kings, some excellent death bowling turned the tide in Kolkata’s favour. 

It left Maxwell needing a six off the final ball to prolong a see-saw contest and while he lofted a ball high over cover, it dropped just shy of the rope for four in a remarkable finish. 

The Knight Riders have eight points from their six matches while Kings XI have just one win from seven outings. 

A 29-ball 58 from captain Dinesh Karthik helped Kolkata post a useful target, Shubman Gill (57 off 47) also providing a valuable half-century. 

It appeared as if their efforts would be in vain, as KL Rahul (74) and Mayank Agarwal (56) combined for a first-wicket stand of 115. 

Even when Agarwal eventually fell to Prasidh Krishna (3-29) there appeared little sign of a turnaround, Nicholas Pooran coming to the crease after a sparkling 77 against Sunrisers Hyderabad last time out. 

However, the game turned when Pooran was undone by a slower ball from fellow West Indian Narine, departing for 16 as Kings XI stuttered badly as the pressure mounted.  With 14 required off the final over, KKR opted for Narine and he conceded 11 runs to win the match for his side. 
 

FELL APART TO THE SEAMERS 

The excellent Prasidh utilised an off-cutter to dismiss Prabhsimran Singh (4), then drew an inside edge from Rahul to leave Kings XI needing 14 off the final over. 

When Mandeep Singh holed out from the penultimate delivery, it was left to Maxwell to rescue Kings XI. Despite his best efforts in attacking a wide outside-off delivery, his shot did not have the power to get over the line. 

KNIGHT RIDERS STUTTER 

Kolkata struggled for momentum in the first half of their innings after opting to bat first, slipping to 63-3 in the 11th over when Eoin Morgan departed for 24. 

However, skipper Karthik raised the tempo as he combined with Gill to put on 82 for the fourth wicket. The former was run out from the final ball of the 20th over, having hit eight fours and two sixes.

West Indies star batsman Chris Gayle is predicted to replace Australia Glenn Maxwell in the King XI Punjab line-up for the upcoming match-up against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on Saturday.

The 41-year-old big hitter had been expected to come into the line-up on Thursday, for the first time this season, but was forced to watch from the sideline after battling with a bout of food poisoning.  The team plummeted to a 5th loss of the season, from its first six games.

Frustration has grown with Maxwell as the all-rounder has managed just 48 runs in six matches.  It was hoped the player would replicate his heroics from the previous edition but another low score on Thursday has put his place in jeopardy.

"The message was very clear that they were not happy with Maxwell. It’s a clear statement if Chris Gayle walks in, Maxwell walks out," Former India spinner Pragyan Ojha told Sports Today.

 Ojha believes the team’s batting struggles have also impacted KL Rahul who he does not believe is playing like his usual self.  Ojha believes the issue is the burden of supporting what has proven to be a rather fragile middle-order.

. “I think he was just trying to play because he knew that the middle order is not doing well, that pressure and this game you know when you have over 200 runs to chase, any batsman would feel the pressure. And Rahul knows that if he and Mayank don’t do well, they have a fragile middle order. Anil Kumble mentioned Chris Gayle, they wanted him to play but he was not well.”

A superb bowling display helped the Delhi Capitals earn a 46-run win over the Rajasthan Royals and move top of the Indian Premier League table on Friday. 

Shimron Hetmyer's electric 45 off 24 balls and 39 from Marcus Stoinis was crucial in the Capitals' innings of 184-8, having been 79-4.

Andrew Tye's penultimate over went for 23, with a slip resulting in five runs when his no-ball raced to the ropes and the following free hit dispatched for six by Harshal Patel.

The Royals' chase fell apart when Yashasvi Jaiswal (34), Jos Buttler (13) and Steve Smith (24) could not build on starts, with Rahul Tewatia's 38 only prolonging the inevitable before they were all out for 138.

Each of the Capitals' bowlers claimed at least one wicket, with Kagiso Rabada (3-35), Ravichandran Ashwin (2-22) and Stoinis (2-17) all doing damage.

The Capitals are now top having won five of their six matches, while the Royals are languishing in seventh after the defeat in Sharjah. 


HETMYER BRINGS THE HEAT

Hetmyer has not always had the opportunity in this season's IPL due to the Capitals' strength before him in the batting line-up.

But with five sixes and a four in his blistering knock, the West Indies batsman played a big hand for Delhi in the middle order.


MORE ASHWIN WOE FOR BUTTLER

Last season Buttler was controversially subjected to a Mankad by Ashwin and the same bowler accounted for the England star's wicket again.

There was no controversy on this occasion, as Buttler went for the big hit over long-on but could only pick out Shikhar Dhawan at square leg.

Legendary West Indies fast bowler Courtney Walsh believes a lack of patience proved to be a major hindrance to the development of pacer Jerome Taylor, once considered one of the region’s brightest prospects.

Bowling with express pace, Taylor had the uncanny ability to cut the ball back into the right-hander, which had many predicting a long and fruitful international career. Taylor made his debut for the West Indies in a One Day International (ODI) in St. Vincent, against Sri Lanka, and did well enough, taking 2 for 39 from 10 overs. He made his Test debut nine days later on June 20, in St. Lucia, against the same opposition. He was just 18.

Years later, however, injury, illness, and some indifferent form saw his appearances for the West Indies become mostly sporadic.  He had a consistent run after returning from injury in 2014, and prior to him retiring from Tests in July 2016 but he never delivered on early potential.

“The first time I saw Jerome Taylor I was excited, but this longevity wasn’t there.  The one thing I kept saying to him is just I don’t think he was patient enough,” Walsh told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“He was a much better bowler than the stats show, but he wasn’t patient enough.  In my estimation, that’s why he didn’t do as well as he could have or should have in Test cricket.  He was one of the most promising players I saw.”

Taylor ended his career with a haul of 150 Test wickets.

West Indies legend Curtly Ambrose has revealed that he expected the pace bowling tandem of Franklyn Rose and Corey Collymore to pick up where he and strike partner Courtney Walsh left off.

Walsh and Ambrose are widely considered the last in a long line of dominant and fearsome West Indies bowlers that had stretched on for several generations.

Before the heyday of Walsh and Ambrose, West Indies quicks like Wes Hall, Charlie Griffith, Andy Roberts, Colin Croft, Joel Garner, Michael Holding, and Malcolm Marshall hunted in packs as they menacingly stalked the crease of fearful opposition batsmen.

It came to an end with Walsh and Ambrose, however, and so it seems did the West Indies fortunes as a winning team.

“Before Courtney and I left the team, we had around six fast bowlers around us.  We thought maybe three or four of them could become great,” Ambrose told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“We had Franklin Rose, Rayon King, Dillon, Nixon McClean, Pedro Collins, and Corey Collymore.  Six who I thought would have carried on the tradition of fast bowlers,” he added.

“Courtney and I talked about it and we always felt that Franklin Rose and Corey Collymore would be the two guys to lead the rest of the attack.  These were two guys who had tremendous potential to lead the rest of the attack," Ambrose said.

“Franklin Rose turned out to be a bit of an enigma, you never know which side of the bed he’ll wake up on up.  So, you can never be too sure with him.  Collymore, when he first played against Australia in 1999, I said to Courtney ‘hey we have a young man here who looks the part’ and then, unfortunately, his back went out soon after that and he has never been the same.”

In recent times, Kemar Roach, who recently claimed his 200th Test wicket, has come to the fore along with Shannon Gabriel, Jason Holder, and Alzarri Joseph to give the bowling line-up more credibility.

 

Jonny Bairstow fell three shy of an Indian Premier League century before Rashid Khan claimed three wickets as Sunrisers Hyderabad thrashed Kings XI Punjab by 69 runs.

An opening stand of 160 between David Warner (52) and Bairstow (97) put Sunrisers firmly in control, though they would have been slightly disappointed to finish on 201-6 given the platform laid for them.

Kings XI required something special if they were to chase down 202 and a 17-ball half-century from Nicholas Pooran (77) certainly gave them hope.

However, he was one of three victims for Rashid (3-12), whose stingy four-over spell proved pivotal as bottom side Kings XI collapsed to be dismissed for 132 inside 17 overs.

There were five wides in the first over of the match, setting the tone for an innings that was only slightly rescued from a Kings XI perspective by Ravi Bishnoi (3-29) and Arshdeep Singh (2-33), as Sunrisers scored only five boundaries in the last 38 balls.

Kings XI were three down inside seven overs, the dangerous KL Rahul - the leading run-scorer in this IPL - falling for 11, but Pooran's brutal hitting ensured Sunrisers were far from home and hosed.

However, Kings XI slumped from 105-3 to 132 all out, with Sunrisers claiming a win that moved them up to third in the table.

 

BAIRSTOW OUTSHINES MILESTONE MAN WARNER

Warner hit five boundaries from his first 14 balls and went on to make his 50th IPL half-century.

However, it was opening partner Bairstow's boundary-laden knock that really caught the eye, the England batsman smashing seven fours and six maximums in a fine effort.

POORAN HITS TARGET

West Indian Pooran scored the fastest half-century of this IPL by bringing up the milestone in just 17 deliveries.

Prior to the tournament he said making the most rapid 50 was on his agenda, and boy did he deliver as he smashed Abdul Samad for three sixes and a four to get there.

Pooran also has three of the five biggest sixes in this edition of the IPL - all over 100 metres.

Convener of selectors, Roger Harper, has revealed that Jason Holder will retain the captaincy of the West Indies team for the coming tour New Zealand.

The West Indies will play two Tests against New Zealand in November and according to Harper, there is no reason for a change in the captaincy.

“We have discussed a lot of things and all of those things (leadership) we discussed but I think at this point we’re not thinking of changing the captaincy at all,” Harper said of Holder.

West Indies have won seven of their last 20 Tests and are eighth in the ICC Test rankings. The team was beaten 2-1 in their three-Test series against England in July.

However, Harper said Holder remained the first choice captain since there was a dearth of leadership qualities not only throughout the ranks of the Test side but across the regional game.

“I looked at a lot of the four-day championships. I had the opportunity to see most of the captains on show and I think that there are some decent captains out there but there is also a lot of improvement that can be made,” he said.

“I think some of our captains need to know when to attack, when not to attack, how to defend and how to put pressure on the opposing batsmen and those sort of things. These are the areas we need to improve on.”

West Indies legend Curtly Ambrose’s 7 for 1 demolition job of Australia, in Perth, is widely considered to not only be his best performance but one of the best of all time.  From his perspective, however, the bowler does not rank it as highly as one would imagine.

The 1993 winner-takes-all showdown between the teams was decided by Ambrose’s magical 32 ball spell - from 85 for 2, the Australians tumbled to 119 all out. West Indies closed the first day on 135 for 1, and that was effectively that. The match was over by lunch on the third day. 

In recently reflecting on the match itself, however, the bowler explained that the almost perfect circumstances for fast bowling was one reason the spell did not rank at the top of his list.

“When people ask me about some of my top spells, I will include that, because seven wickets for one run in 32 deliveries is unheard of but I’ve never had it at the top of the tree,” Ambrose told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“It was the best spell, yes, but when you looked at the game itself, the first morning of a Test match, the pitch was ripe for fast bowling.  Everything was there for a fast bowler.  I was not under any pressure or anything, that is why I never rated it as my best spell,” he added.

  Interestingly, the WACA groundsman was subsequently dismissed for preparing such a home away from home pitch for Ambrose and the other Windies bowlers.

“The spell against South Africa, I would put it ahead because of the nature of the game.  Our backs were against the wall.  When we bowled England out in Trinidad for 46, I would have that spell ahead of it as well because of the nature of the game.  The 8 for 45 against England in Barbados is the same thing.  The situations were all different but that 7 for 1, I was not under any pressure on the first morning with a good pitch.”

All-rounders Sunil Narine and Andre Russell bounced back with the ball to spearhead Kolkata Knight Riders' 10-run win over Chennai Super Kings in a low-scoring Indian Premier League encounter.

Narine, who has struggled with the bat throughout this IPL, and fellow West Indian Russell were two of those who failed to deliver as Kolkata were bowled out in 20 overs for 167, a total that owed much to Rahul Tripathi's 81 as he repaid the decision to promote him to open.

Chennai were confident of chasing their modest target when Shane Watson (50) and Ambati Rayudu (30) made 69 for the second wicket.

However, some brilliant death bowling from Narine (1-31) and Russell (1-18) meant the Super Kings came up short with 157-5.

Kolkata were indebted to Tripathi's 51-ball knock, which included eight fours and three sixes, as their star-studded middle order for once failed to show up.

Narine, who had been opening, was dropped down to four but could only make 17, while Eoin Morgan (7) and Russell (2) had rare off-days as Dwayne Bravo (3-37) led the Super Kings' fine bowling display.

There was then a boundary in each of Chennai's first 10 overs and they were coasting when requiring 69 off the final 48 balls with nine wickets in hand.

Yet Narine - who bowled overs 12, 14, 16 and 19 - applied the handbrake, along with Russell, whose two-over figures would have look much better had Ravindra Jadeja not struck the final three balls of the innings for an ultimately frivolous 14.

 

BATTING SHAKE-UP PAYS OFF FOR KNIGHT RIDERS

Kolkata's problems in the early stages of the tournament were due to a lack of big scores, with top scorer Shubman Gill down in 13th in the IPL for runs.

However, Tripathi hit their highest individual score in their five games so far, and boy was it needed given the rest of the order's struggles.

 

BOUNDARY DROUGHT COSTS SUPER KINGS

At 90-1 at the halfway point, Chennai were cruising and required only 78 from 60.

However, they failed to find or clear the ropes across the next 33 deliveries and were then left needing 55 off 27. It was that barren patch in the middle of their reply that ultimately proved their undoing.

Lead selector for West Indies Women Ann Browne-John has echoed sentiments expressed by former team captain Merissa Aguilleira earlier this year that members of the current team lack the required passion for the game.

Aguilleira was speaking on Sportsmax’s Commentators Podcast in April when she made reference to the team's 5-nil home series defeat by India in November 2019 ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia in February.

The team subsequently failed to advance from their group after losing two of their preliminary round matches. Another was rained out.

"Somehow the drive, the passion is not there and that's a huge cause for concern.,” Aguilieira said then. “We as West Indies players love to express ourselves, not just play cricket but have fun playing cricket, so when you look at the players and you realize they are not having fun, you realize that the passion is not there." 

Following their recent 5-0 drubbing at the hands of England, Browne-John said that lack of passion remained an issue of concern.

“We would like to see the passion we had before,” Browne-John said during an interview on Sportsnation Live on Nationwide Radio on Jamaica on Saturday.

“I have been involved with the team over a length of time even before I became a selector and that is one of the things I always hear the coaches mention to the girls. They want to see the intensity, they want to see the drive, the passion that we are supposed to have.”

The issue has been the subject of conversation on a number of occasions, she revealed, adding that she believes that the players have to embrace the idea of taking responsibility.

“It has been discussed a lot whether it is a lack of confidence, whether it is a dependency on one or two persons, and we always try to say to the girls, each individual must take responsibility. If you are batting at the top and opening, then you must take responsibility. If you are batting at three or four, anywhere you are you need to take responsibility for that position,” Browne-John said.

“Hopefully by doing that we could see some of the passion and drive coming back, but I am agreeing that we are not seeing that at the moment.”

 

 

 

 

 

West Indies legend Clive Lloyd has argued for a widening of the pool used to draft cricketers for the regional women’s team, in light of several poor showings in recent years.

The women team recently ended a disastrous tour of England, which ended with the ignominy of being swept aside 5-0.  The concerns for the 2016 World Cup champions, however, spread well beyond that.  The West Indies Women,  since being crowned world champions, have won just four of 10 series played and drawn one.  The wins have come against Pakistan and Ireland, with other results against more established teams like England, Australia, and India often featuring one-sided or heavy losses.

After watching the England series, however, Lloyd believes two things were clear.  There needed to be a better effort in developing the team’s grasp of the basics of the game and more competition was required to push players to do better.

“A lot of players are having technical difficulties.  Shrubsole, she is the opening bowler (for England), she bowls inswingers.  We’ve known that for years because we’ve seen her, and we’re trying to square-cut a woman with a new ball. If you look at the way they get out, they all play the same shots.  Everyone is getting out square-cutting.  Who is coaching these women?” Lloyd said recently on the Mason and Guest radio program.

“I think we need to have an overhaul of the situation and we have to try to get women from more islands playing cricket; so that these girls are going to be pushed, nobody is going to push them now because we are just choosing from a small crop of players,” he added.

The West Indies Women’s team has already made some changes to its program with men’s team bowling legend Courtney Walsh recently appointed as its new head coach.

Kings XI Punjab batting coach, Wasim Jaffer,  has assured fans they will see West Indies batting legend Chris Gayle soon and insists the player is hungry to make his debut in this season’s Indian Premier League (IPL).

The 41-year-old T20 superstar is yet to make an appearance for Kings XI who are off to a slow start to the IPL season.  After 5 games, the team sits at the bottom of the table with just one win and four losses.  The team has, however, so far not necessarily struggled with batting, having scored over 200 in two of the five games.

Jaffer, however, believes that Gayle’s match-winning capabilities could yet help the team turn their poor form around.

“It should happen soon. As I said, it needs to happen sooner than later. We don’t want to bring them when every game is a must-win game. Hopefully, we will have those guys featuring soon,” Jaffer told news agency Press Trust of India from Dubai.

“Chris looks very much ready and is keen to get on to the park, he has been training really well and has looked really good in the nets,” Wasim Jaffer said.

“He is such an impact player, we all know what he can do. I hope he turns up and turns it on straight away and changes the tide for all of us. He looks hungry and that is a very good sign for the franchise,” he added.

“I am hoping he plays quickly. We need match-winners, as many as possible. Not just for the next game, also for the rest of the tournament as he can easily win you four-five games on his own,” he further said.

Mumbai Indians won a third straight match and moved top of the Indian Premier League as they recorded a 57-run win over slumping Rajasthan Royals on Tuesday.

Suryakumar Yadav scored 79 not out from 47 balls as the Indians, who won the toss and elected to bat, set a strong total of 193-4 in Abu Dhabi.

Jos Buttler smashed 70 from 44 deliveries in response but he lacked meaningful support from any of his Royals team-mates, who will be eagerly anticipating the availability of Ben Stokes once his period of quarantine in the United Arab Emirates is over.

Jasprit Bumrah starred for the Indians with bowling figures of 4-20 – his best in the IPL – to ensure his team moved above the Delhi Capitals at the summit and condemned the Royals, who had won their first two matches, to a third consecutive defeat as they were bowled out for 136.
 

YADAV GOES BIG

After opener Quinton de Kock fell to IPL debutant Kartik Tyagi, Mumbai looked like they could be in trouble in their middle overs when Shreyas Gopal (2-28) removed Rohit Sharma (35) and Ishan Kishan (0) with successive deliveries.

Krunal Pandya went to Jofra Archer for 12 but Yadav pushed the Indians forward, bringing up his fifty with a four off Tom Curran.

Yadav established an unbeaten partnership worth 76 runs with Hardik Pandya (30 off 19) and finished with 11 fours and a pair of maximums for his highest IPL score.

POLLARD DENIES BRILLIANT BUTTLER

The Royals' hopes of being competitive were effectively dashed inside their opening three overs as they lost Yashasvi Jaiswal and Sanju Samson to Trent Boult for ducks either side of Steve Smith swiping Bumrah to De Kock.

Rajasthan were in poor shape at 12-3 – the third game in a row they have been three down inside seven overs – but Buttler launched five maximums and found the rope four more times to give them hope.

However, a stunning catch from Kieron Pollard, who adjusted well in the deep after Buttler's shot initially hit his forearm, ended the wicketkeeper-batsman's electric knock.

Bumrah capped a commanding display from the Indians by dismissing Rahul Tewatia (5) and Gopal (1) in the same over before accounting for Archer at the end of his next set of six.

Former West Indies pace bowler Kenny Benjamin believes the development of regional and by extension West Indies cricket is stifled by the tendency of franchises to prefer players from their home countries.

A franchise system was introduced to the regional cricket set-up approximately six years ago. It has led to teams taking part in the regional One Day and Four Day tournaments as clubs, as opposed to just countries.

For the most part, however, with a few exceptions, the franchises have remained mostly composed of players from the countries in which they are based.  Benjamin believes some of that is due to a bit of nationalism, which he has pointed out is harmful to the professional set-up and the development of the game overall.

“One of the things in the Caribbean is that I think, patriotism is killing us.  Sir Viv would know that when we go to England to play and when he played for Somerset and Glamorgan that’s where you play for and that’s where you represent because that’s where you are at that time.  But I think in the Caribbean everybody wants to play for their country rather than play cricket and that is one of the problems we are facing,” Benjamin said in a recent interview with the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show.

“We need to be exposing our best players, it doesn’t matter where they come from and it would only make other players raise their standard.  If we are playing mediocre players just because of where they come from then the standard isn’t going to rise,” he added.

In previous seasons, players like Guyana’s Assad Fudadin, Keron Cottoy and several others have represented teams outside of their country of birth, but they remain in the minority.  Benjamin pointed to the case of Nicholas Pooran and Joshua Silver who both play for the Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel.

“You have Pooran and you have Da Silva but when you look at Da Silva and the type of cricketer he is, he is not a bad wicketkeeper either, so he could be pushing for one of the wicketkeeper spots as well.  But what if you have the number one and number two wicketkeepers in Trinidad.”

 

 

 

Courtney Walsh, the newly appointed head coach of the West Indies Women, said there is much room for improvement but he plans to leave no stone unturned in his quest to transform the fortunes of the current squad.

Walsh was appointed last week in the wake of a disappointing tour against England where the Caribbean women were swept 5-0 in an embarrassingly lopsided series.

Walsh, the only West Indies bowler to take 500 Test wickets, said he has a plan to inject a winning mentality into the team.

“There is room for improvement in all aspects of the game. My idea and plan and strategy is to re-focus, re-energize and to look at the talented players we have and work out how we can improve with the players we have and other young players to come into the set-up as well,” he said.

“To try to create that brand that we know we can play, that we used to play, going back a few years when we won the T20 world Cup in India and couple years ago when we were in the semi-finals and were doing so well.

“That is going to come from consistency, how we plan, how we strategize, how we execute and get our tactical awareness up. I’m not going to leave any stones unturned. I’m going to go right through everything to ensure we give ourselves the very best chance. We have a good solid base of players. Obviously, we have to perform. Those teams with players who perform get the best results.”

Walsh said he wants the players to go back to enjoying their cricket and that means working on building team confidence.

“I want to see them smiling again. The whole idea is to give them self-confidence and self-belief that they have a job to do and perform,” he said. “Once the players believe in themselves and they are smiling and enjoying the game that’s the right path.

“You will have some bad patches and failures here and there but that consistency and that will and pride to play for the West Indies is what I want to see more of.”

 

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