Windies T20 captain Kieron Pollard is feeling a sense of relief after coming away from Sri Lanka with a series victory after being swamped in the One-Day Internationals before that.

The West Indies beat back the challenge of the hosts 2-0, completing the route with a seven-wicket win in Pallekele on Friday.

Sent into bat, Sri Lanka recovered from 48-4 in the 12th over to score 155-6 thanks to Dasun Shanaka’s 31 not out and Thisara Perera’s unbeaten 21 but that wasn’t enough.

In reply, the West Indies, despite the early loss of Lendl Simmons, 9, didn’t have too much trouble chasing the target with a long, powerful batting line-up, where Brandon King scored 43, Shimron Hetmyer was unbeaten on 43 and Andre Russell scored a remarkable 40 not out, inclusive of six sixes.

“Pretty satisfied to leave Sri Lankan shores with a victory, we hadn't won a T20I series in a while,” said Pollard.

The skipper lauded the team for the effort they put into the two games, saying he liked the fact that the intensity remained high over the course of the two games. The West Indies won the first encounter on Wednesdat by 25 runs.  

“The guys executed nicely, the foundation was laid by Brandon King, the young man is finding his feet in international cricket, Russell finished it off and the bowlers were brilliant,” said Pollard.

On Wednesday, the West Indies had a scare after Kusal Perera threatened to take the game away from them. Pollard had said then, that he would reveal his plans for there not to be a repeat.

“He is always looking for the length ball, every time we bowl fuller he tends to miss, our analyst has done a brilliant job, and as I said, it was a total team effort,” he said.

The bowling effort, Pollard said, was better than in the last game and better than it has been in a while.

“We were trying to make them hit to one side of the park only,” he said, pointing out that his team had previously been leaking runs on both sides of the wicket, making it difficult to contain scoring.

Now, Pollard said, it was just for the team to create those performances consistently.

Big-hitting Windies all-rounder Andre Russell believes the team is set to peak at just the right time, with the ICC T20 World Cup just on the horizon.

Russell played a starring role as the Windies closed out its T20 series against Sri Lanka, with a convincing 7 wickets win at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium on Friday.  The 2-0 win triumph for the West Indies was the team’s first series win against an opponent since Bangladesh in 2019.

For a re-tooled Windies team looking to win an unprecedented third world title, the all-rounder believes that while the team has a long way to go, the victory is timely encouragement.

“We are peaking at the right time but we still have some areas to work on as a team,” Russell, who was named man of the series, said.

“We have a new set of guys who have the professional mind-set and we know what we have to do to better than what we have been doing.  I just hope everyone is in tuned in and ready to make the sacrifices moving forward to work on our cricket.”

Russell ended the series with a decisive 75 runs and one wicket.

 

 

A friendly international between Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz and the Spanish region of Catalonia has been postponed amidst ongoing fears relating to the spread of the Coronavirus.

Reports emanating from Spain have suggested that the Jamaica team did not want to travel to Europe for the March 30 friendly, as the region struggles to come to grips with the virus.  The number of cases reported in Spain has now reached 340, with the region of Catalonia accounting for 28.  None have, however, been reported in the city of Lleida.

Earlier this week Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) had promised to rely on advice from the ministry of health before finalising travel plans for the fixture.  The friendly was expected to be contested by an all European Jamaica international contingent, which head coach hoped to evaluate.  According to reports the JFF and the Spanish Football Association (SFA) are expected to reschedule the fixture just ahead of the World Cup qualifiers. 

The national team will return to action next week at the Montego Bay Sports Complex, where an all local contingent will face Bermuda.  The Reggae Boyz have made the CONCACAF Hexagonal round for the first time since the 2014 cycle and could be in line for a second appearance at the FIFA World Cup.

 

The Everest Premier League (EPL), which was expected to see the likes of West Indies star Chris Gayle, has been postponed over fears of spreading the coronavirus.

The tournament, which was slated to be held from March 14-28 at TU Cricket Ground, in Nepal, became just the latest in a number of sporting events to disrupted by the global pandemic.  The decision comes on the heels of the National Sports Council (NSC)’s decision to halt all the sports-related activities in view of the fast-spreading coronavirus.

The NSC’s decision came on the heels of the government instituting a ban on holding mass meetings and gatherings. 

The 40-year-old Gayle was set to be among a host of other stars booked for the tournament.  The list also included retired West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Smith.  Gayle was slated to represent the Pokhara Rhinos with Smith drafted by the Bhairahawa Gladiators.

Former West Indies Players Association (WIPA) president Dinanath Ramnarine has given a vote of confidence to the new Windies cricket team leadership tandem of captain Kieron Pollard and coach Phil Simmons.

The team has experienced mixed results since the duo took charge, with Simmons taking the reins in September of last year and Pollard taking charge of the ODI and T20 teams the following month.  Simmons previously served as head coach of the regional team in 2015 and led the Windies to their second T20 World title the following year.

Though the team is yet to put together a strong string of positive results, as they were most recently swept aside by Sri Lanka in three one day internationals, Ramnarine believes the youthful Windies squad has the ingredients to eventually get things right.

“Talent has always been there, no question about that. It takes time to groom them,” Ramnarine told the Sportstar.

“Governance is one aspect always been lacking significantly in sports generally, we in the West Indies have our own share of not-so-good people. The current captain Kieron Pollard, whom I know well, is a fantastic leader. He and Phil Simmons (head coach) bring a lot of positive things to the game, these are good guys. With time, these two have the ability, the skill and leadership to transform cricket in the West Indies.”

 

Windies T20 captain Kieron Pollard is very aware that while his side cruised to victory against Sri Lanka in the first game of a T20 series in Pallekele could have gone very differently had Andre Russell not bowled Kusal Perera in the 18th over.

The West Indies won the game by 25 runs after scoring an imposing 196-4 on the back of Lendl Simmons’ unbeaten 67 and 30s from Brandon King (33), Russell (35) and Pollard (34).

It almost wasn’t enough, as Kusal counter-attacked brilliantly, slamming 66 from 38 deliveries, despite Oshane Thomas’ soul-crushing 5-28.

Wanindu Hasaranga was also dangerous against the West Indies, scoring 44 from 34 deliveries, to keep the run chase alive after helping his recover from 56-5 in the sixth over.

While Pollard understands that Kusal was dangerous and could be so again, he was not yet willing to divulge what his bowlers needed to do hold on to a more powerful position.

“I'll tell you our plan to Kusal Perera after the next game, he's obviously their mainstay,” he said.

Rather, Pollard wanted to focus on the effort the team put into creating a fairly comfortable victory in the end.

Thomas came in for some praise, with Pollard speaking about the work he had put in recently after questions arose about his fitness.

“Total team effort, Oshane Thomas brilliant, he has been doing hard work back home and it's showing,” said Pollard.

Pollard also thought highly of Rovman Powell’s performance with the ball.

Powell removed Hasaranga in the 16th over, trapping him leg before and changing the course of the game, as well as Thisara Perera, who was also scoring quickly when he had him caught by Sheldon Cottrell.

“We had an unsung hero in Rovman Powell with the ball late in the innings,” said Pollard, recognizing that the efforts of Thomas and Simmons may have overshadowed the allrounder’s contribution.

Angelo Mathews took four wickets to propel Sri Lanka to a six-run win over West Indies in the third one-day international on Sunday and a 3-0 series sweep.

Batting first after winning the toss, Sri Lanka was bowled out for 307 in 50 overs. Kusal Mendis top-scored with 55 off 48 balls and Dhananjaya de Silva made a 47-ball 51. West Indies in reply narrowly fell short at 301-9.

West Indies seam bowler Alzarri Joseph took 4-65.

Shai Hope top-scored for the West Indies with 72 off 88 balls. Fellow opener Sunil Ambris made a run-a-ball 60 and Nicholas Pooran scored 50. Mathews took 4-59 in 10 overs and was player of the match.

Sri Lanka won the first ODI by one wicket and the second by 161 runs.

Legendary Australian seamer Glenn McGrath has picked West Indies great Brian Lara as a tougher opponent to face than Sachin Tendulkar.

The Australian bowler dismissed the West Indian star more than any other batsman, claiming Lara’s wicket 15 times in 24 matches.  McGrath also had good success in seeing off the Indian legend 13 times, one less than fellow Australian Brett Lee.

“I may have got him out 15 times, but he also scored big hundreds and double hundreds against us when both me and Warnie (Shane Warne) were playing together for Australia,” McGrath told the Times of India.

 “When it was his day, he could do absolutely anything. Sachin was equally as good, but there was something about Brian where he could just keep going and he was slightly harder to bowl to than Sachin. He was more fearless,” he added.

Lara holds the record for the highest individual score in a Test after scoring 400 not out in 2004 against England.  The batsman could also be particularly brutal against Australia.  Lara struck 277 runs against Australia in Sydney, his maiden Test century and the fourth-highest maiden Test century by any batsman.

 

 

 

 

A pugnacious hundred from Kyle Mayers pulled current leaders Barbados Pride out of trouble against Windward Islands Volcanoes in the West Indies Championship on Thursday.

Put into bat, Pride stumbled to 132 for five in the first hour after lunch on a rain-marred day.

But Mayers transformed the complexion of the innings with an array of meaty strokes to all parts of the ground to complete his second hundred of the season, against these same opponents, following his 106 in their first-round match at the Arnos Vale Cricket Ground in St. Vincent

The left-hander, playing for his home franchise after spending four seasons with the Volcanoes, built strong alliances with the lower order to drag the Pride from the precipice, gaining admirable support from Kevin Stoute and West Indies pacer Kemar Roach in successive half-century stands.

Mayers shared 92 with Stoute for the sixth wicket and put on a further 92 for the seventh wicket with Roach to frustrate the Volcanoes in between two brief stoppages for rain.

Stoute scored 46, Roach made 41, Justin Greaves added 38, left-handed opener Shayne Moseley got 36 and West Indies batsman Shamarh Brooks gathered 33.

Mayers’ innings carried him to the brink of becoming the first batsman this season to clear the 500-run mark. He needs only two more.

 

 Guyana Jaguars spin sensation Veersammy Permaul led a stunning fightback for the defending champions, who had seemed on course to be hit for a big total on day one of the West Indies Championship, at Florence Hall.

Led by a half-century from Test batsman Jermaine Blackwood the Scorpions appeared to be on course for a more promising total at 118 for three.  Permaul, however, then grabbed 7-59 from 30.5 overs to destroy the Scorpions batting.

Having racked up wins in their two previous matches, the Scorpions were dismissed about 25 minutes before the close of play.  Blackwood led the way with a typically flamboyant 59, his third half-century in four innings, and Denis Smith made 23 and was the only other Scorpions batsman that passed 20.

 Scorpions were 60 for three when Blackwood and Nkrumah Bonner put on 58 for the fourth wicket.

But there was little resistance be found in the Scorpions batting line-up after Blackwood was dismissed lbw to Permaul, the home team found themselves wobbling on 156 for five.

There was to be no comeback for the Scorpions, and they lost their last five wickets – three to Permaul – for 44.  The spinner has carried his tally of wickets to 37 this season.

The West Indies, despite coming up short in the series opener against Sri Lanka, will have plenty of positives to take into a must-win second ODI against the hosts, at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.

The regional team would have been encouraged by its batting, despite the failures of the middle order, with most of the top four coming good before the lower order showed a lot of grit in laying the finishing touches to an innings that had lost significant steam.  Their bowlers couldn’t quite haul them to victory, but they pushed Sri Lanka to the limit, making the home team earn their win.

Sri Lanka will also have been encouraged, most notably the number of contributions they received from all around the batting order.  Now, the key for them would be to retain that level of consistency and seal the series, something they haven’t been quite adept at doing in the recent past.  But with the familiarity of home, and a hard-earned win to boot, they sure do have the belief that it can be done.

The West Indies team has been fined for a slow over rate in the one-run loss to Sri Lanka, in the first One Day International (ODI), in Colombo on Saturday.

The sanctions were imposed after the Kieron Pollard-led side was found to be two overs short of the target, even with time allowances considered.  Pollard pleaded guilty to the charges, which will negate the need for a formal hearing.

According to Article 2.22 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which relates to minimum over-rate offences, players are fined 20 per cent of their match fees for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time.

The charges were brought by on-field umpires Paul Wilson and Ruchira Palliyaguruge, third umpire Marais Erasmus and fourth official Lyndon Hannibal.  Earlier, South Africa and Australia played the Johannesburg T20I where the visitors Australia claimed a big victory by 107 runs.

After that match, South African players faced 20% fine of their match fees for maintaining a slow over-rate. The hosts were one over short of the target after time allowances were taken into consideration.

West Indies captain Kieron Pollard believes there were a number of missteps that led to his side’s one-wicket loss to Sri Lanka in Colombo on Saturday.

The West Indies, thanks to a century from Shai Hope at the top of the order, scored 289-7 before going from losing positions to winning positions and back again, as Sri Lanka got to 290-9 with five balls to spare.

According to Pollard, after leaving a few runs with the bat, the West Indies were also not at their very best with the ball and coughed up too many presents for the Sri Lankans.

But Pollard did enjoy the game, saying it was well contested by both teams.

“Good game of cricket came down to the last over with the crowd on its feet,” he said.

“Normally guys like me and Pooran finish it off but it couldn't happen today. Couple of soft dismissals in the middle really set us back,” said Pollard.

“I think we bowled too many bad balls in the start, gave them too many freebies, that's where we lost the game. Our discipline was not there,” he said.

Sri Lanka started well with a 111-run first-wicket partnership between Avishka Fernando (50) and captain Dimuth Karunaratne (52).

The Windies fought back brilliantly but Thisara Perera played an important innings, slamming a 22-ball 32. When Perera was caught off the bowling of Alzarri Joseph, the match was very much in the balance with Sri Lanka on 253-7.

However, Hasaranga (42 off 39) produced a performance that belied his ODI average of 14.37 to get Sri Lanka over the finish line.

Hasaranga's ability to find the rope – he struck a quartet of fours and one maximum – and inaccurate death bowling from the Windies left the scores level going into the final over.

A direct-hit run out from Sunil Ambris to remove Lakshan Sandakan frayed the nerves a little, but the one run Sri Lanka needed came from a Keemo Paul no-ball off the next delivery as if to highlight the way little mistakes had cost the Caribbean side.

Guyanese prodigy, Shimron Hetmyer, has earned a recall to the West Indies squad scheduled to play against Sri Lanka in two Twenty20 Internationals on March 4 and six after the completion of the current One-Day International between the teams.

Hetmyer and Evin Lewis were spectacularly dropped after an announcement they had both failed fitness tests Cricket West Indies selectors had implemented as a requirement for selection.

There is still no recall for Lewis, who had, not long before, overcome poor form in typically destructive fashion.

The squad also includes a recall for Andre Russell and Oshane Thomas.

Allrounder Russell, 31,  hasn't played for the Caribbean side since pulling up short midway through the 50-over World Cup in June 2019. However, he has taken part in other matches, most notably in the Bangladesh Premier League in December and January

Russell is a two-time ICC T20 World Cup winner, having played a crucial role in the triumphs back in 2012 in Sri Lanka and 2016 in India. He has successfully completed the Cricket West Indies (CWI) return-to-play assessment programme under the supervision of CWI Medical Team in his native Jamaica. He has so far played 47 T20Is for the West Indies.

Fast bowler Thomas, who turned 23 earlier this week, is selected after making a full recovery from a car accident in Jamaica recently. Additionally, wicket-keeper/batsman Shai Hope has been included alongside left-arm spinner Fabian Allen.

Commenting on the squad, CWI lead selector Roger Harper said: “Shimron Hetmyer missed out on selection for the ODI squad. He has since attained the required fitness level, becoming available for selection and has been included.

"Andre Russell is back in the squad, having been cleared by the medical panel and successfully completing CWI’s return-to-play protocol. Andre will add potency to every department of the team. Oshane Thomas appears to be focused and raring to go. He will add pace and penetration to the bowling unit.”

Harper added: “Shai Hope provides an opening option and cover as a back-up wicket-keeper also. Fabian Allen returns from the injury he sustained in the series against Afghanistan late last year. He will provide a spin-bowling option as well as adding depth to the batting group.”

Looking ahead to the T20I matches, Harper outlined that he will have one eye on the ICC T20 World Cup to be played in Australia later this year. West Indies are the defending champions and the only team to lift the trophy twice.

“I look forward to the team building on its recent performances and winning the T20 series in Sri Lanka. This is another opportunity for the team to build on its strengths and identify areas that need improvement while continuing the process of building up with the aim of peaking for the T20 World Cup in October,” said Harper.

The two T20Is will be played at the Pallakele International Cricket Stadium in Kandy.

West Indies and Sri Lanka are now contesting a three-match ODI series. Sri Lanka won the first match today by a wicket in Colombo.

The second match is in Hambantota on Wednesday.

 

West Indies T20I squad

Kieron Pollard (capt), Fabian Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Brandon King, Nicholas Pooran, Rovman Powell, Andre Russell, Lendl Simmons, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr, Kesrick Williams.

 

IN: Andre Russell, Oshane Thomas, Fabian Allen, Shai Hope.

 

OUT: Evin Lewis, Khary Pierre, Sherfane Rutherford, Romario Shepherd.

Roston Chase is a man in great form as West Indies prepare to face Sri Lanka in a One-Day International Series. The allrounder struck a century, took two wickets and held a brilliant caught and bowled, as West Indies warmed up for the opening One-Day International with a dominant six-wicket victory over the Sri Lanka Board President’s XI on Thursday.

Playing in their final pre-series contest at Chilaw Marians Cricket Club Ground in Katunayake, the visitors easily chased down their target of 277 for just four wickets with 21 balls to spare, thanks to Chase’s 136 off 113 balls.

Opener Shai Hope hit a typically composed 85 off 102 balls while Sunil Ambris saw West Indies over the line with an unbeaten 34 from 44 balls.

The President’s XI had earlier posted 276-8 off their 50 overs. Wicket-keeper Minod Bhanuka made a top score of 69 from 88 balls and Ramesh Mendis played well with a near run-a-ball unbeaten 64.

The West Indies bowling left a little to be desired, as Chase’s 2-45 was only matched by Keemo Paul, who ended with figures of 2-57.

Fabian Allen was economical in his five overs, taking 1-17, while Hayden Walsh Jr had 1-44 from seven and Jason Holder ended with 1-34 from eight.

Romario Shepherd went wicketless for his 62 runs off nine overs while skipper Kieron Pollard had none for 14 from three overs.

In the second half, West Indies found themselves in early trouble at 35-2 in the eighth over when opener Brandon King and Darren Bravo, who made a century earlier this week, both fell in single figures to catches at the wicket.

However, Chase arrived to turn the game in the visitors’ favour, inspiring two successive century stands, first with Hope and then with Ambris. He put on 133 for the third wicket with Hope who stroked 11 fours in his knock, and then added 108 for the fourth wicket with Ambris who counted a four and a six.

Overall, Chase hit 16 fours and a six before he was dismissed with scores level, bowled by new-ball left-arm seamer Vishwa Fernando (2-56).

West Indies will play the first ODI against Sri Lanka on Saturday at the Sinhalese Sports Club. First ball is 9:30am (12 midnight Eastern Caribbean Time/11pm Friday Jamaica Time). The second match will be at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium in Hambantota on February 26 with the third and final ODI on March 1 at the Pallakele International Cricket Stadium in Kandy.

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