Guyana Amazon Warriors continued to match Trinbago Knight Riders win for win at the top of the 2019 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) table after subjecting St Kitts & Nevis Patriots to a trial by spin at Warner Park.

The Warriors and Knight Riders have both now won four from four after this all-too-easy seven-wicket victory for the Guyanese side.

Imran Tahir (2/17) and Qais Ahmad (3/28) led a four-man spin attack for the Warriors that reduced the Patriots to 53/5 and, although Shamarh Brooks engineered a recovery of sorts with a well-made 34 from 25, the innings fell away after he departed, seam finally making an impression as Keemo Paul took the last two wickets in the space of three balls. A final total of 121 was never going to be enough and was immediately put firmly in perspective by a 24-ball 49 from Brandon King at the top of the Warriors chase.

He smashed three fours and a huge Hero Maximum over midwicket from Sheldon Cottrell’s second over to make it clear the Warriors were not about to linger over chasing down their target.

And when the Patriots tried some spin it didn’t work quite as well as it had for the visitors, with Fabian Allen’s first over taken for 16 – including two more big sixes for King.

He was run out one short of a half-century from the final ball of the Power Play, but it mattered little. By then the Warriors were already 64/1 and over halfway to their target.

Shimron Hetmyer toe-ended Mohammad Hafeez to long-off for just a single looking to keep the attack going, prompting Chandrapaul Hemraj and Warriors skipper Shoaib Malik to throttle back and make sure nothing went wrong.

Hemraj edged behind off Rayad Emrit for a watchful 22, leaving Nicholas Pooran (19*) to apply the finishing touches alongside Malik (24*) as the Warriors got home with 25 balls to spare.

The start of the game was delayed by a brief shower and when play did begin the Warriors had got through four overs and three different spinners before a seamer was seen.

The tactic paid off, with Devon Thomas bowled by Chris Green’s first ball and just 19 runs on the board after the first four overs from Hemraj, Green and Tahir.

And even when the quicker bowlers did come on, it was still the spinners making the difference. Evans had stroked four fours in reaching 26 and was looking dangerous when he was superbly run out by a direct hit from Tahir at short fine-leg.

With the seam bowling of Romario Shepherd and Paul proving relatively expensive, Malik turned to the fourth spinner in his ranks with instant reward as Qais Ahmad had Hafeez caught for 14 by Hetmyer at long-off in his first over. Tahir then trapped Jason Mohammed plumb lbw for just 4 to reduce the Patriots to 51/4 in the 9th over.

The Patriots took the bold decision to promote left-hander Dominic Drakes to number six in a bid to counter the leg-spin threat on the back of his record-breaking 34 not out – the highest ever T20 score by a number 11 – against Barbados Tridents last time out.

It didn’t work. He was dropped by Hetmyer on nought but caught by Ahmed two balls later to give Tahir a second wicket off an eventful over and sum up a night to forget for the Patriots.

Tim Paine joked he will enrol on an umpiring course after conceding Australia are having "a mare" with their reviews during the Ashes.

Australia finished day three of the fifth and final Test trailing England by 382 runs. The tourists need to avoid defeat to win the series outright having already retained the urn but endured a challenging day in the field as England closed on 318-8.

Joe Denly was the star for England with 94, though Australia could have dismissed him for considerably fewer runs had they reviewed after Mitchell Marsh struck the opener on the pads.

Denly was given not out on the field but Hawk-Eye showed the ball would have gone on to hit the stumps, as it would later in the innings when Australia again chose not to review after Nathan Lyon hit Jos Buttler, who made a fluent 46, in front.

Asked in a media conference what he can do to improve his judgment, the Australia skipper responded sarcastically: "I'm going to do some umpire school when I get home, I'll enrol in a level three umpiring course and see if I can get them right.

"I'm getting it wrong, I don't know what else to say, we're having a mare. We've got it wrong, we're not deliberately getting together and saying, 'Gee I reckon that's out Gaz, you want to refer it? Nah let's let him keep batting.'

"We're getting it wrong, it happens, it's fast, it's a tough job. As I've said throughout the whole Test series, I've got a new respect for umpiring, particularly in Test cricket because it's a bloody hard job.

"For years players have whinged about umpiring and now we've got it in our hands a little bit and we're finding that it's hard."

Australia appeared tired and frustrated as their long and chastening day in the field dragged on, though Paine had no issues with his side's application on Saturday.

"The last hour of today, our energy is still really good in the field, our bowlers have run in every single day we've asked them to, they've done a fantastic job," added Paine.

"The only thing that's been a little bit disappointing in this Test match is our catching and our referrals."

Joe Denly missed out on a first Test century but the England batsman could still reflect on a "pretty special couple of days" on the field and in his personal life.

Denly fell six runs shy of a hundred on day three of the fifth and final Ashes Test, edging Peter Siddle to Steve Smith in the slips.

However, his 94 still proved crucial in helping England build a massive lead of 382 at The Oval as they look to draw the series after Australia retained the urn at Old Trafford.

The score was the highest of Denly's brief Test career and came after he left the ground on Friday to witness the birth of his second child.

Denly missed the birth of his first child by a few minutes having received a call from his wife early in the morning when he was playing for Kent at Derby.

However, he was there on time to see his wife bring a baby girl into the world and was able to appreciate the big picture despite the disappointment of not reaching three figures.

"I obviously headed back a couple of days ago, fortunate enough to be able to leave early," Denly told a media conference. "I missed the birth of my first child so it was good to get there and see my little girl come into the world, pretty special couple of days.

"It would have been nice to get to that milestone having worked so hard to get into that position, but England are in a very good position, going into day four hopefully we can get a few more runs and put them under pressure."

Asked how much sleep he had been able to get since the arrival of his daughter, Denly said: "Very good last night because I stayed at the hotel, I got about 10 hours I think, the previous night I had about three hours, certainly caught up on that last night."

Denly's position in the team has come under scrutiny during a series in which he has surpassed 50 only three times.

After his hugely valuable effort at The Oval, however, Denly is hopeful of a place in the squad for England's tour of New Zealand.

"I think when you're batting at the top of the order for England there's always that pressure and expectation from England supporters for you to score runs and do well," he added.

"It's been frustrating this series to get starts and not being able to capitalise. I felt pretty good today, it's a very good bowling attack we're coming up against each game, which you expect at Test level but this Australia attack is certainly up there and make you work hard for every single run.

"Hopefully I've impressed the selectors and those guys that pick these winter tours and we'll just have to wait and see."

Joe Denly narrowly missed out on a first Test century but England punished the Australia attack to close day three of the fifth and final Ashes Test with a 382-run lead.

Needing a win to draw the series having already missed out on regaining the urn, England began day three with an advantage of 78 at The Oval.

Denly, whose wife gave birth to their second child on Friday, was the talisman for the hosts as they pressed home that advantage, the right-hander confident and fluent in compiling the highest score of his brief Test career.

The opener stuck 14 fours and a six and combined with Ben Stokes (67) for a crucial third-wicket partnership of 127 to take away any realistic chance the tourists had of winning the match.

Australia face the prospect of having to bat out the majority of the final two days to claim a first series win in England since 2001.

They did, however, deny Denly as the Kent batsman fell six runs shy of his maiden three-figure score in the longest format, though that will come as little solace following a chastening day in the field that ended with England 313-8 and 382 runs ahead.

Denly and opening partner Rory Burns provided an early indication of what was to follow by adding 45 to their overnight total before the latter bottom-edged Nathan Lyon (3-65) behind.

Lyon bolstered Australia's hopes by removing Joe Root cheaply for 21, but England's Headingley hero Stokes provided the ideal partner for Denly.

Their entertaining 221-ball stand saw the duo build an advantage that should prove a match-winning one, though they were each the subject of fortunate reprieves.

Stokes was dropped by Steve Smith and he and Denly, who reached his fourth Test half-century by striking Josh Hazlewood for four, made Australia count the cost of that missed opportunity.

In a theme that developed throughout the day, they consistently dispatched anything pitched wide, while Stokes showed relish in attacking the spin, sweeping Lyon for a four and six in successive deliveries.

He brought up his fifty by smacking a Marnus Labuschagne full toss for six, compounding Australia's frustration after Denly survived an lbw appeal off Mitchell Marsh they elected not to review, Hawkeye showing the ball would have hit the stumps.

Stokes, playing as a specialist batsman due to a shoulder injury, went to a stunning delivery from Lyon that should provide encouragement for England spinner Jack Leach in the final innings.

Denly came up short three overs later when he edged Peter Siddle (2-52) to slip, though his departure did not halt England's momentum.

Jos Buttler ​– who also escaped what should have been a successful claim for lbw – unfurled a series of wondrous cover drives en route to an eye-catching 47. He and Chris Woakes (6) were each dismissed by stunning catches as Australia made late inroads on a difficult day for the tourists.

 

A GAME TOO FAR FOR AUSSIES

The Australia attack, led by Pat Cummins, has had the edge for the majority of the series, but they looked tired, frustrated and out of ideas as England piled on the runs. Perhaps this was a game too far for Cummins and company.

STOKES ROUNDS OFF INCREDIBLE SUMMER

From his World-Cup winning display in arguably the greatest game ever at Lord's to his heroics in the third Test in Leeds, this truly has been the summer of Stokes for England. Though unable to contribute with the ball in this match, the all-rounder was again imperious with the bat in the second innings, and his stand with Denly looks like being one that ensures a drawn series.

MOMENT OF THE DAY

Denly will have been bitterly disappointed not to get to his century, with Siddle earning his reward for applying consistent pressure after he reached the nineties. However, the ovation he received as he left the field was richly deserved following a performance that should do his hopes of retaining a place in the line-up the power of good.

OPTA FACTS

- Ben Stokes has more 50s in this Test series than in any other (4).

- Stokes has surpassed 400 Ashes 2019 runs - the only England batsman to do so.

- Joe Root has averaged 32.5 in this Ashes; only once before has he recorded a lower rate in a multi-game home Test series (v Sri Lanka, 2016 - 21.8).

- Only the wicketkeepers have claimed more catches than Steve Smith (12) in the series.

- Only Alastair Cook and Keaton Jennings have scored more Test runs as an opener for England since Andrew Strauss' retirement than Rory Burns.

The playoff double-header for the 2019 Hero Caribbean Premier League has been confirmed as taking place in Guyana for this season. This means that there will be seven Hero Caribbean Premier League matches taking place in Guyana, with five group matches and the crucial playoff games which will decide which teams head to the final.

This year will see all four teams who make the knockout stages of the tournament featuring in matches taking place on Sunday 6 October. The first match on that day will be the Eliminator which will see the 3rd place team play the 4th place finisher. The winner of this game will play the loser of Qualifier 1 in the semi-final on Thursday 10 October.

The second match of the day is Qualifier 1 which will see the first place team after the group stages take on the side who finished second in the table. The winner of this game will go straight to the final on Saturday 12 October 2019.

Pete Russell, the COO of Hero CPL, said: “We are blessed to get to bring games to Guyana where the fans are out of this world. The playoff matches were a huge success last year, and with the games being a double header there will be even better value for supporters as they will get to see two games between the four best teams on one day. We know the support we will get from Guyanese fans, at both the group games and the playoffs, will be second to none.”

Director General, Hon. Joseph Harmon, MSM said: “We are very pleased to have the Caribbean Premier League returning to Guyana in 2019. The tournament has made a huge impact, showcasing our beautiful country to viewers around the world as well as creating jobs locally. We are delighted that the proud and passionate Guyanese cricket fans can look forward to this world-class spectacle this season. With seven matches, including the two crucial playoff games, Guyana will be at the heart of the tournament in 2019.”

  

PLAYOFFS

 

Sunday 6 Oct

Eliminator – 3rd v 4th, Providence, Guyana

Sunday 6 Oct

Qualifier 1 –1st v 2nd, Providence, Guyana

Najibullah Zadran and Mohammad Nabi combined for seven consecutive sixes as Afghanistan cruised to a 28-run T20I tri-series victory over Zimbabwe.

A day after losing to Bangladesh in a close opening match of the tournament, Zimbabwe's defeat this time always looked likely as they had no answer to some big Afghanistan hitting in Dhaka.

After Afghanistan posted 197-5, Zimbabwe only managed 169-7 and never looked like reaching the target.

Zadran fired a career-best 69 not out from 30 balls in an innings that included six maximums, while Nabi hit 38 from 18 as part of a 107-run fifth-wicket partnership that proved decisive.

The standout period of that double act, which saw Afghanistan surge from 90-4 to their final total, came in the 17th and 18th overs.

Nabi smashed four consecutive maximums off the bowling of Tendai Chatara (2-53), before Zadran started the next over with three sixes in a row against a hapless Neville Madziva, whose wicket-less three overs went for 34.

After a wide, Zadran thought he had an eighth straight six only for a video review to reveal his shot over point had dropped just inside the rope.

Opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz's 43 had earlier set the foundations, his effort ending when the impressive Sean Williams (2-16) trapped him lbw.

Zimbabwe's chase was doomed as soon as they lost two wickets in three balls to conclude the fourth over, Fareed Ahmad (2-35) ending the innings of Brendan Taylor (27) before removing Williams for a duck.

With captain Hamilton Masakadza (3) having already been run out, Zimbabwe were 30-3 and forced to consolidate, with Regis Chakabva's flamboyant 42 not out coming too late in the day as Rashid Khan claimed 2-29.

Hosts Bangladesh take on Afghanistan in the third match of the tri-series on Sunday, looking to avenge a Test defeat this week.

Joe Denly and Ben Stokes pressed home England's advantage with an unbroken century stand in a wicket-less afternoon session on day three of the final Ashes Test at The Oval.

England, striving to secure a 2-2 series draw after the tourists retained the urn at Old Trafford, were 193-2 at tea on a sunny Saturday in London - leading by 262 runs on a good pitch.

Nathan Lyon removed Rory Burns (20) and Joe Root (21) before lunch, but Denly was unbeaten on his highest Test score of 82 not out after putting on 106 for the third wicket with Stokes (57no).

Stokes was dropped on seven by Steve Smith, while Denly - whose wife gave birth to their second child this week  - was fortunate not to be given out leg before off Mitchell Marsh after being put down by Marcus Harris on day three.

Harris was unable to field after having seven stitches in his left hand to repair split webbing sustained when he spilled Denly before he had got off the mark on Friday.

Burns and Denly started positively after England resumed on nine without loss, but the highest opening stand of the series was halted at 54 when the left-hander chased a wide one from Lyon and feathered behind.

Root fell tamely, edging the spinner to Smith at first slip before lunch, and Stokes should have departed in the same fashion, only for the best Test batsman in the world to drop a simple chance.

Denly, struck on the box by Pat Cummins in the morning session, had a fourth Test half-century courtesy of a wristy boundary off Josh Hazlewood.

Stokes swept Lyon for four and six off back-to-back deliveries and there was more frustration for Australia when Denly survived an lbw appeal off Marsh that should have been answered in the affirmative and Tim Paine opted not to review.

Vice-captain Stokes, playing as a specialist batsman due to a shoulder injury, raised his bat after hammering a Marnus Labuschagne full toss for six. Denly then brought up the century stand by driving the spinner for four as he closed in on a maiden Test hundred.

Nathan Lyon dismissed Rory Burns and Joe Root but England were in a strong position at lunch on day three of the final Ashes Test at The Oval.

Lyon removed Burns for 20 to end an opening stand of 54 - the highest of the series - and also accounted for Root (21) to leave England 88-2 at the interval, leading by 157 runs.

The positive Joe Denly, whose wife gave birth to their second child ahead of day two, was unbeaten on 37 as England continued their attempt to salvage a 2-2 draw after the tourists retained the urn at Old Trafford.

Marcus Harris was off the field with seven stitches in his left hand to repair split webbing sustained when he dropped Denly without scoring late on day two and the England batsman inflicted more pain on his fellow opener on a sunny Saturday morning.

Denly stated his intent by hitting Pat Cummins down the ground for four in the first over of the day and Burns cut Josh Hazlewood to the boundary in a great start for England after they resumed on nine without loss.

Lyon was given the treatment by Denly in the spinner's opening set of six, the right-hander dispatching him over his head for four with disdain and again using his feet superbly to launch the next delivery for a straight six.

Burns brought up the fifty partnership with a glorious off-drive for four off Peter Siddle, but trudged off on his home ground after chasing a wide ball from Lyon and feathering a catch to Tim Paine.

Both umpires had a word with Matthew Wade after he welcomed Root with some verbals and Denly was on his knees wincing when Cummins struck him on the box.

England were ticking along nicely until Lyon accounted for Root 10 minutes prior to lunch after a change of ends, the captain tamely edging to slip.

Virat Kohli says he has learned a lesson after sending a tweet about MS Dhoni that significantly heightened speculation the wicketkeeper-batsman was about to retire.

Kohli shared a photo of himself and Dhoni from a 2016 World Twenty20 victory over Australia on Thursday, adding the caption: "A game I can never forget. Special night. This man made me run like in a fitness test."

The post prompted a frenzied reaction on social media, with many Indian cricket fans and news outlets questioning whether a retirement announcement was imminent from Dhoni, who is not part of India's squad for the Twenty20 series with South Africa that starts on Sunday.

Addressing reporters on the eve of the first T20 against South Africa, India's skipper insisted he had not intended to cause such a stir.

"I didn't have anything on my mind," Kohli was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.

"I was sitting at home and posted that photo normally. That became news and it's a lesson for me, that what I intend when I do something isn't how the world perceives it.

"I didn't even have the remotest idea that I should think about it before putting up that picture.

"Like I tweeted, I get memories of that game and I haven't talked about it before. So I thought I'll do a post about it and people inferred something else about it."

The future of Dhoni, 38, remains unclear. After featuring in the Cricket World Cup, he reportedly took a two-month sabbatical to spend time with his paramilitary regiment in the Territorial Army. 

Australia star Steve Smith accepted he was tricked by Jonny Bairstow during day two of the fifth Ashes Test against England.

Bairstow fooled Smith into diving to make his ground, pretending he was about to receive a throw as Jofra Archer took the ball at the bowler's end.

Smith, whose fine series continued as he made 80 and Australia were bowled out for 225 in response to England's 294, said Bairstow had tricked him.

"He got me there, didn't he? Dirtied my clothes. He didn't say anything I don't think, but he got me," the star batsman told a news conference.

"I didn't know where the ball was, bloody thing, he faked it. He got me, I don't know what else to say."

Smith revealed he battled the flu on Friday as Australia were left with a 69-run first-innings deficit.

Archer starred, taking 6-62, and England pushed into a lead of 78 runs at stumps to be well-placed in the fifth Test.

Smith praised the 24-year-old for his performance, saying: "He's a quality performer.

"We've seen him come out and he's got two five-fors in four Test matches. You don't get guys bowling 90 miles per hour growing on trees.

"With a skill set like he's got, he's a terrific bowler and there's no doubt he'll gain a lot of confidence from his first Test series, being an Ashes series, they're always huge as we know.

"Of course, he's got a very bright future."

Australia star Steve Smith accepted he was tricked by Jonny Bairstow during day two of the fifth Ashes Test against England.

Bairstow fooled Smith into diving to make his ground, pretending he was about to receive a throw as Jofra Archer took the ball at the bowler's end.

Smith, whose fine series continued as he made 80 and Australia were bowled out for 225 in response to England's 294, said Bairstow had tricked him.

"He got me there, didn't he? Dirtied my clothes. He didn't say anything I don't think, but he got me," the star batsman told a news conference.

"I didn't know where the ball was, bloody thing, he faked it. He got me, I don't know what else to say."

Smith revealed he battled the flu on Friday as Australia were left with a 69-run first-innings deficit.

Archer starred, taking 6-62, and England pushed into a lead of 78 runs at stumps to be well-placed in the fifth Test.

Smith praised the 24-year-old for his performance, saying: "He's a quality performer.

"We've seen him come out and he's got two five-fors in four Test matches. You don't get guys bowling 90 miles per hour growing on trees.

"With a skill set like he's got, he's a terrific bowler and there's no doubt he'll gain a lot of confidence from his first Test series, being an Ashes series, they're always huge as we know.

"Of course, he's got a very bright future."

When Andre Russell went down and out of Thursday night’s game between the Jamaica Tallawahs and the St. Lucia Zouks at Sabina Park, it proved to be a turning point in the game that ended with the visitors coming out victors.

Jofra Archer could sense Steve Smith was not at his best at The Oval, where England denied Australia's Ashes hero a fourth three-figure score of a remarkable series.

Smith, who revealed after his first innings 80 he has been struggling with flu, was trapped lbw by Chris Woakes on day two.

Even when not at full health, the right-hander still provided the most impressive resistance of any member of the Australia batting line-up, which wilted in response to England's 294 all out.

The tourists may have already retained the urn but Archer's six-for restricted them to 225, with England surviving four overs before the close to take a lead of 78 runs into day three.

Asked in a media conference about England's satisfaction in getting Smith out for what, by his standards, was a low score, Archer replied: "It's weird, every time he bats, I don't know what it is, he literally cannot get out.

"When he plays a bad shot the ball just lands in no-man's land. Obviously he's a good batter, he's got a good temperament but the ball just never goes to hand.

"He didn't look himself today, he didn't look as nailed on, he didn't seem the same way. 

"We know he's going to miss one. We always felt we had a chance."

Archer took the last wicket of the innings courtesy of a stunning one-handed catch from Rory Burns to dismiss Peter Siddle.

"When I saw him hit the ball I thought it was four to be honest, when I saw it going near him I didn't think it was going to carry either," said Archer of that final wicket.

"Special catch, even better to get us off the field. Sometimes if you don't get them out tonight they come back tomorrow and probably get another 30 or 40 runs and the lead isn't big.

"I don't think we should underestimate how good that catch was, especially with the position it's put us in."

Little stock will be put in England drawing the series to those outside the camp, but Archer still believes there is plenty at stake in the final Test.

"It would mean a lot for the team [to draw the series], there's still a lot to play for," Archer added. "There's still the Test championship and our own personal game, although the Ashes are lost we've still got a lot to play for."

Afif Hossain blasted a rapid half-century to ensure Bangladesh edged to a three-wicket Twenty20 win over Zimbabwe.

Afif put on 82 with Mosaddek Hossain, who made an impact with both bat and ball, to lead Bangladesh home to their target of 145 in an 18-over game in Dhaka on Friday.

Rain delayed the start of the opening game of the tri-series, which also includes Afghanistan, and Shakib Al Hasan opted to bowl after winning the toss.

Zimbabwe captain Hamilton Masakadza, in his final series before retirement, made 34 but his team needed Ryan Burl to smash an unbeaten 57 off 32 balls in an unbroken partnership with Tinotenda Mutombodzi (27) worth 81 to finish on 144-5.

Mosaddek's excellent figures of 1-10 off three overs helped restrict Zimbabwe's scoring and he returned to make 30 not out after the hosts had slipped to 29-4 when star man Shakib fell for one.

Sensational hitting from Afif, the 19-year-old smashing eight fours and a six in his 26-ball knock in just his second international appearance, put Bangladesh in the box seat after he came in at 60-6.

He was out in the 18th over to end the alliance but Mohammad Saifuddin (6 not out) finished the job with two balls to spare.

The series continues on Saturday when Zimbabwe take on Afghanistan.

Marnus Labuschagne denied Australia have let their intensity levels slip after retaining the Ashes despite England dominating day two of the final Test.

After Rory Burns saw a poor lbw verdict from umpire Kumar Dharmasena overturned on review from the final ball of Friday's play at The Oval, England lead by 78 runs with all 10 wickets in hand in their second innings.

Labuschagne made 48 but was one of six wickets to fall to England paceman Jofra Archer as Australia were bowled out for 225, Steve Smith offering the main resistance with a typically doughty 80.

England are well placed to close out a victory that would draw them level at 2-2 despite failing to reclaim the urn, but Labuschagne insists Australia remain determined to win the series.

"We came here today looking for a really solid batting performance and obviously we didn't do that but we're still in the contest," Labuschagne told BBC Sport.

"The intensity definitely has not dropped. It's hard to say that when our play on the field maybe reflects that. But we came to win the Ashes and we really want to do that.

"We don't want to just retain the Ashes. We have to come out tomorrow 100 per cent on it and ready to take any chance."

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