Jamaica Tallawahs captain Ravmon Powell insists the team must continue to target improvement ahead of a crucial match-up against the Guyana Amazon Warriors on Wednesday.

Mohammad Nabi slammed a crucial 31 and then took 3 for 10 as the Tallawahs secured a 33-run win over the St Lucia Kings, despite getting off to a slow start.

On Wednesday, the Tallawahs will look to add to that achievement when they face off against the hosts for a place in the final.  The two-time champions have not reached the final in four seasons but Powell believes that could be set to change.

 “We are ready, we are expecting a full house but we won’t pay any attention to that,” Powell said after the team’s win on Wednesday.

“We are not focused on that, all the guys need to do is to keep on improving.  We need to keep improving batting in the first ten overs and I think if we do that we will be on our way.”

Newly appointed Jamaica Reggae Boyz head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson believes a 3-0 scoreline might have flattered Argentina, insisting his team was made to pay for a loss in concentration in the defeat at the Red Bull stadium on Tuesday.

Argentinean superstar Lionel Messi came off the bench to score twice as the Albiceleste, who, in truth, looked comfortable despite holding a slim 1-0 lead, blew the game wide open in the last 10 minutes.

By the time the world-famous number 10 entered the fray, in the 56th minute, Argentina were already 1-0 up courtesy of Julian Alvarez’s tidy finish in the 13th minute. from there they had struggled to find real goalscoring momentum, that is until Messi entered the pitch.

After stinging the palms of Jamaica goalkeeper Andre Blake with an early attempt, the forward made no mistake blasting his shot well to the left of the keeper, when he got another opportunity, to double the lead in the 86th minute.  However, sloppy play in midfield led to the dangerous player taking possession at the edge of the area.

Three minutes later, there was real anxiety when the wily forward was brought down just at the top of the 18-yard box.  Those concerns were proven valid when Messi picked himself up and scored the resulting free-kick.  Again the Jamaicans might well feel dissatisfied with their defensive play, as Messi found space through a somewhat disheveled wall to beat Blake again.  The match was the first for Hallgrimsson and he believes despite the errors they were a few positives.

“We lost 3-0 and you are never happy to lose.  Three, zero is a big number but I don’t think it reflects the game on a whole,” Hallgrimsson said.

“It does not reflect the performance of our players, I think we showed an excellent team performance for 80 minutes and we lost a little focus in possession that led to the first and the second goal and then from that lost more focus for the third goal and that cannot happen,” he added.

“Those were the negatives from the match.  We kept them from creating goal-scoring chances, more or less, until the 80th minute.  After 10 minutes we were finding our feet but after that, we were comfortable with how we played our defensive game.”

 Jamaica Reggae Boy forward Leon Bailey is convinced the unit can produce plenty of quality once they get things right, but admittedly expects a tough outing against Argentina.

The Jamaicans will clash with Argentina, at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, for only the fourth time in the team’s history and the debut outing for new head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson, who officially took over the post last week.

The Reggae Boyz have lost all three previous encounters but performed creditably in the team’s last meeting at the 2015 Copa America Centenario, where they narrowly lost 1-0 to the Lionel Messi-led outfit.  Bailey is looking forward to his first taste of the high-profile fixture.

“There are a lot of quality players in the team, we just need to put together, obviously it’s a system that the coach will be improvising but we should be able to do good things and hopefully come away with a result,” Bailey said.

“It’s going to be a good game, the first game for the manager as well, but it should be exciting for everybody playing against a good opponent and I think we just have to be focused and work hard for the whole game.”

Reggae Boyz starting line-up

Andre Blake

Leon Bailey

Daniel Johnson

Ravel Morrison

Shamar Nicholson

Bobby Reid

Damion Lowe

Michael Antonio

Adrian Mariappa

Javain Brown

Amari'i Bell

 

Guyana Amazon Warriors secured their place in the 2022 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) play-offs with a 37-run win over Trinbago Knight Riders.  

Trinbago Knight Riders won the toss and chose to field in this must-win game, with Amazon Warriors opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz giving the fans at Providence stadium a spectacle, scoring 60 from 42 balls to ignite the Warrior’s innings and help take them to 173-6. 

In their chase, the Trinbago Knight Riders built a steady opening partnership through Tim Seifert and Colin Munro, but wickets then fell throughout their innings as the Amazon Warriors were spurred on by a vocal home crowd. The Knight Riders finished 136 all out and lost by 37 runs. 

Guyana Amazon Warriors suffered an early setback in their innings as Ravi Rampaul showed his effectiveness in the PowerPlay by taking the wicket of Chandrapaul Hemraj. Gurbaz would then play some spectacular shots to accelerate the run rate. Sunil Narine, who did not bowl until the 12th over, would claw the Knight Riders back into the game by taking the key wickets of Shakib Al Hasan and Romario Shepherd. A remarkable late blitz from Odean Smith, scoring 23 runs from 7 balls, would then catapult the Warriors to 173/6. 

Trinbago Knight Riders had a good start in their chase, Seifert and Munro keeping up with the run rate, but led by Shakib, the Warriors fought back to take wickets, including some spectacular fielding to dismiss Nicholas Pooran. Once captain Kieron Pollard was out stumped, the Knight Riders faced an uphill battle and finished on 136 all out.

The result means that Trinbago Knight Riders have been eliminated from play-off contention. 

 

Newly appointed Jamaica Reggae Boyz head coach Heimir Hallgrímsson is hoping to conduct a valuable assessment during the team’s upcoming friendly international against Argentina.

The Reggae Boyz and the Albiceleste, led by football superstar Lionel Messi, will lock horns at the Red Bulls Stadium in New York, on Tuesday, for the fourth time in history.  Hallgrímsson, who officially took charge of the team last week, admits the former world champions are a difficult prospect to face on his debut but hopes to gleam some valuable insights.

“It going to be a good contest and at least we’ll know where we stand and what we need to improve," Hallgrímsson said.

“For me, it’s a time to learn, a time to observe, time to evaluate.  Then after this camp, we can see what we need to change if we need to change anything.  Find out what is working and what is not working.”

In three matches Jamaica has not managed to secure a result against Argentina losing all three matches that the teams have played.

 

Waterhouse defender Ricardo Thomas has been drafted in to replace injured Ipswich Town defender Greg Leigh ahead of Jamaica’s friendly international against Argentina.

Leigh was expected to join up with the rest of the team in the United States on Friday but suffered an injury in the team’s 2-2 draw against Sheffield Wednesday earlier this week.  Initially, the defender was thought to have just suffered a bruise to the area but subsequent scans revealed a compression fracture.

The injury is now expected to keep the player out of action for an extended spell.

“He, unfortunately, picked something up at the back end of the Sheffield Wednesday game, which was initially thought to be bone bruising,” the team’s manager Kieran McKenna said.

“At that point, it was touch-and-go whether he was going to go away for international duty.

 “He’s had some scans this week, just to make sure, and unfortunately he has a compression fracture of his leg and will be out for a longer period of time. That’s a disappointing one for Greg and for us as well," he added.

The 29-year-old has made 8 appearances for the Jamaica national team and last played against Honduras in March.  Thomas has played 10 matches for the national team and was last on the bench in the team’s Nation’s League match against Mexico in June.

Legendary West Indies fast bowler Sir Andy Roberts believes not having a settled team could make things difficult for the team in the upcoming T20 World Cup qualifiers.

In order to officially book a spot in Australia next month, the two-time champions must advance from a play-off group that will also feature Ireland, Scotland, and Zimbabwe.  The team will start as heavy favourites to advance from the group but the squad will feature several players that have not been in the squad for the last few months and even some who have never played the format internationally.

Since a disastrous campaign at the 2021 World Cup, the Windies have played 22 matches, but a few of the players added to the squad have not played in the majority of them over the past year.  For instance, Evin Lewis has not played since the last tournament, Johnson Charles has not played for the team since 2016, Sheldon Cottrell has played sparingly since the start of the year, and Yannic Cariah and Raymond Reifer are yet to play in the format.

Having played so many matches Roberts believes the team should have been already been using a settled squad ahead of the tournament.

“We don’t have a settled team and that is the biggest problem.  You don’t know what your teammate is capable of doing because he has just come into the team,” Roberts told the Mason and Guest Radio program.

“When West Indies was at its best, we had a settled team for five, ten years.  If you check out Australia, Australia has a settled team, and Pakistan has a settled team.  India is fiddling around with the team and just look at the issues they have been having.  You need settled teams,” he added.

“We are going with a number of new players, new to the international scene.  We knew for a long time that the World Cup was going to be this year, so we should have been trying our best to make sure we have a unit that is ready to go from ball one.”

 

 

Jamaica defender Curtis Tilt admits to being excited by the prospect of facing legendary Argentinian Lionel Messi and the rest of a start-studded South American squad, ahead of the team’s clash in New York next week.

The 31-year-old was a late addition to the team that will face the Argentineans on Tuesday.  The defender has not represented the team since June of last year against Serbia but will hope to make his case under new Jamaica coach Heimir Hallgrímsson.  Tilt, who plays for English Championship team Wigan Athletic, is enjoying a whirlwind year having secured promotion from League One with the team at the start of the season.

Now he is excited at the prospect of not just returning to the country’s line-up, but also facing one of the best players in history and added to that a first-time trip to the Big Apple.

  "I'm buzzing to be fair, not only to be selected for my country but playing against the best player in the world really," Tilt told Wigan Today.

"I was called up late, so I've not had much to process it yet. I'm sure I'll get more anxious nearer the time, wondering what it's like to play against the very best,” he added.

"But New York as well...I've never actually been, I was thinking of going out during the winter break.

"It's come a little bit early, so hopefully we'll get a chance to have a look round at some of the sights."

 

Guyana Amazon Warriors captain Shimron Hetmyer was full of praise for all-rounder Odean Smith who played a pivotal role for the team in a 12-run win over Jamaica Tallawahs in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) on Wednesday.

With the Warriors desperately needing a result, in their first match on home soil this season, Smith impacted the game decisively at both ends.  Batting first, the Warriors found themselves in deep trouble at 98 for 7 before Smith bludgeoned 42 from 16 and shared in a seventh-wicket partnership of 74 from 27 with Keemo Paul to push the team to a respectable 178 for 8.

At the other end, on the back of a defiant 104 from Brandon King, the Tallawahs seemed poised for an unlikely victory, needing just 20 off the last over.  King got things started off with a 6 but Smith shut the door, taking 2 wickets and effecting a runout for an overall 26 runs. He was named the man of the match.

“I actually had no idea we would have actually gotten that many I was actually thinking let’s get to 140, 150 and we’ll fight but as we saw today it was a fantastic innings from him (Smith), hats off to him,” Hetmyer said of Smith's contribution.

“He played one of the most special innings that I’ve had the pleasure of seeing and he’s one of those guys that anything can happen on a given day.  He’s just one of those special guys.”

Former West Indies opening batsman Philo Wallace believes the 15-man squad selected for the upcoming T20 World Cup in Australia has the issue of being short of genuine batsmen.

It’s safe to say that the selection announced by the Desmond Haynes-led panel, earlier this week, included quite a few surprises.  The list included some players on the fringes of the T20 unit for a while, with the likes of Sheldon Cottrell and Johnson Charles recalled and the inexperienced Yannic Cariah also earning somewhat of a shock selection.  

In some ways, Wallace believes the team is similar in composition to the West Indies squad selected for last year's failed World Cup campaign, which had focused on stacking up power hitters.

“We’re going to Australia on bigger cricket grounds and we are carrying a lot of hitters of the cricket ball.  I think when these guys are asked to bat, they are going to find themselves in problems.  A lot of them are not even in form,” Wallace told the Mason and Guest radio program.

The former opener also had questions regarding how different pieces of the team would fit together.

“If you play Johnson Charles you have four openers on that T20 squad right now.  Is he going to keep wicket or is he going to field out.  Yannic Cariah is a wildcard, he doesn’t play T20 cricket, and he’s not involved in CPL.  If he plays where is he going to fit into the 11?”

 

 

Jamaica goalkeeper Andre Blake has once again been named to Major League Soccer’s Team of the Week.

The 31-year-old shot-stopper has been in inspired form for Major League Soccer (MLS) club Philadelphia Union so far this season and claimed his spot in goal for week 32’s best selection, with another inspired performance.

The custodian was at his very best in a draw at Atlanta United FC on the weekend and made at least 5 big saves to earn his team a share of the spoils.  In truth, the Union found themselves on the back foot for most of the encounter.

Perhaps his biggest and most important save came in second-half stoppage time as Atlanta found its all-time leading goalscorer alone at the back post but Blake was there for the close-range reaction stop to keep Josef Martinez from unlocking the tie.

On the back of another outstanding season, the Jamaican is firmly in the running for the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year honours, an award that he won in both 2016 and 2020.  Earlier this month, the player achieved another significant milestone for the Philadelphia Union after reaching 200 appearances.

One big-hitting left-hander Evin Lewis has surpassed another, Chris Gayle, for the most sixes scored in Caribbean Premier League (CPL) history.

On Sunday, the 30-year-old managed just 19 for St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in a lopsided 49-run loss to the St Lucia Kings but despite the defeat, there was a positive side.  Lewis's two sixes in the innings moved him level and then one clear of legendary T20 star Chris Gayle.

Gayle has remained at the top of the six-hitting leader board for some time on 172 from 85 matches.  Lewis's new high of 173 has come in 86 matches.  Kieron Pollard is in third place on 152.

Lewis, who was recently named to the West Indies World Cup squad, has long listed the big Jamaican as the player he idolized the most over the years.  Gayle arguably the most dominant batsman to ever play the format leads many of the boundary-hitting statistics, including the most sixes with 1056.

Cricket West Indies chief of selectors Desmond Haynes is confident veteran fast bowler Sheldon Cottrell remains able to provide the team with plenty of firepower up front despite a recent spell of indifferent form and injury.

Two years ago, the 33-year-old was one of the most explosive fast bowlers in the sport and was bought by the Kings XI Punjab ahead of the Indian Premier League season.  The bowler has, however, since struggled to build on that momentum and has also been plagued by recurrent injury.

His selection would have come as somewhat of a surprise for many having not represented the T20 team since earlier this year when he played in series against India and England.  The player also missed out on this season’s IPL and has not featured regularly in the CPL so far.

  The left-arm seamer, who recently recovered from injury, only just returned to action for the St Kitts Patriots and has not made a telling impact so far.

 In 8 overs bowled, in the three CPL matches to date, he has produced figures of 2 for 73 at an average of 36.50. The economy rate for his 8 overs bowled has also been an unimpressive 9.12.  Haynes, however, believes once fully fit the player will have plenty to contribute to the campaign.

“He does the job for us up front but he is coming back from an ankle injury, so everyone is going to be assessed before we go to Australia,” Haynes said.

“I think that with Cottrell we know that he has been very good for us and that’s the reason we would select him.”

Afghan all-rounder Mohammad Nabi will join the Jamaica Tallawahs at the 2022 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL). Nabi has played 237 times for Afghanistan in international matches and brings a huge amount of experience from T20 cricket across the globe. 

This will be Nabi’s third time playing for a Hero CPL franchise having previously represented the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots and the Saint Lucia Kings.  In 12 matches at the tournament, the player has taken 9 wickets and managed to average 24.50.

Nabi will be available for selection for the Tallawahs from the start of the Guyana leg of the tournament.

The Tallawahs were left a man short following the departure of Nepalese bowler Sandeep Lamichhane.  Sandeep left the Caribbean last week to return to his homeland to answer charges after an arrest warrant was issued in his name.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) Desmond Haynes says the panel decided to not pick T20 big-hitter Andre Russell for the Windies World Cup squad based on a combination of his long-term absence from the regional team and recent struggles.

The 34-year-old has not played for the West Indies since representing the squad at the World Cup last year, despite controversially featuring in several lucrative T20 tournaments since then, including the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Vitality T20 Blast.

In addition, the player has failed to make much of an impression in this season’s Caribbean Premier League (CPL), which is admittedly closely watched by the panel of selectors.  In six matches the all-rounder has averaged 7.40 and has a top score of 17.  With the ball, he has taken four wickets.

“We just didn’t consider Russell for selection and that was it,” Haynes said of the player’s exclusion.

“We haven’t really seen a lot of Russell in playing cricket for the West Indies recently and judging from what is happening now we just decided that we would move on,” he added.

Russell has played 67 matches for the West Indies and averaged 19.50 with a strike rate of 150.  He has taken 37 wickets at an economy rate of 9.18.

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