West Indies fast bowler, Alzarri Joseph, put in another solid performance for English County Cricket club Worcestershire, against Nottinghamshire, at New Road One cricket ground on Thursday.

At the end of the first day, Joseph remained unbeaten on 46 from 81 balls and sharing in an eighth-wicket stand worth 89 runs with Ed Barnard.  The partnership took Worcestershire to 305 for 7, after looking in some trouble at 216 for 7 earlier on.

The total marks Joseph’s second 40+runs innings of the young season, having opened up with 46 from 55 against Derbyshire last week.  On that occasion, the bowler also chipped in with 3 wickets drawing commendation from Worcestershire coach, Alex Gidman, who praised the player's mentality.

When play resumes Joseph could be looking for his first half-century in the competition, having signed a seven-game deal with Worcestershire for the first part of the season a few weeks ago.

The 24-year-old has taken 37 wickets from 15 Tests and shown plenty of ability with the bat of late, scoring half-centuries on successive Test tours of New Zealand and Bangladesh.

 

 

Devdutt Padikkal made a magnificent century and Virat Kohli became the first player to reach 6,000 Indian Premier League runs as Royal Challengers Bangalore thrashed Rajasthan Royals by 10 wickets.

RCB made it four wins out of four to go top of the table courtesy of a magnificent run chase from their openers at Wankhede Stadium on Thursday.

The second-bottom Royals posted 177-9 in Mumbai following a poor start to their innings after Kohli put them in, Shivam Dube top-scoring with 46 and Rahul Tewatia making 40.

Mohammed Siraj was the pick of the RCB bowlers with figures of 3-27, while Harshal Patel claimed 3-47.

The imperious Padikkal and Kohli made light work of chasing down their target in only 16.3 overs, dishing out some brutal treatment in a sublime stand.

Padikkal made his highest IPL total with a sensational 101 not out from only 52 balls and Kohli was unbeaten on a classy 72 from 47 deliveries when RCB reached their victory target.

Big-money signing Chris Morris was among the Royals bowlers to suffer, going for 38 from three overs, while Shreyas Gopal (0-35) also struggled and Tewatia's two overs cost 23 runs.

A dominant win for RCB puts them two points clear at the summit in what has been a dream start to the tournament for Kohli's side.


Siraj strikes big early blows

India seamer Siraj struck two huge early blows as the Royals were reduced to 18-3 in the fifth over after being put in by Kohli.

He rattled Jos Buttler's off stump to send the wicketkeeper-batsman on his way for only eight and saw the back of David Miller for a second-ball duck, trapping the South Africa batsman leg before with a yorker.

Washington Sundar removed the dangerous Sanju Samson straight after he had hit him for six, before clean striking and improvisation from Dube and Tewatia - who had two sixes apiece - got Rajasthan up to a more competitive score than they had been in danger of posting.

 

Padikkal and Kohli put on a show

Padikkal was the main aggressor as RCB got the run chase off to a flyer, dominating the strike as Kohli ticked over at the other end.

It took Padikkal just 28 balls to reach his half-century and Bangalore had 107 on the board just 10 overs in.

Kohli clicked through the gears as he reached yet another landmark and Paddikal brought up a maiden IPL century in the 17th over, with victory almost secure. He cleared the rope six times and hit another 11 boundaries, while Kohli struck three sixes and six fours in a batting masterclass from the openers.

Former Indian bowler Ajit Agarkar believes an out of sorts Chris Gayle creates a tricky situation for Punjab Kings XI who may be hesitant to drop the player.

The 41-year-old game began the season on a good note, scoring 40 from 28 balls in the first match, a victory against Rajasthan Royals.  The veteran batsman has struggled to connect since then, scoring 10, 11, and 15 in the team’s next three games.  The Kings have lost all three for a 1-3 start to the season.

Agarkar believes at this age, the Kings must weigh closely the benefits of keeping Gayle in the line-up, if he is not scoring the required runs.

"I don't know, he started well. He got 40 in the first game. The challenge with Chris Gayle is that he did not play the first few games last season and then came back, and he was as good as ever. So, I can understand it is a difficult decision to sit him out," Agarkar told Espncricinfo.

"If he is it and when he has done well, you always want to accommodate him. How long can you go on if he is not firing, especially at this stage of his career?" he asked.

Last season, Gaye was left out of the line-up for the team’s first 6 games but returned to play a pivotal role in their run for a place in the play-offs, following another slow start.  Gayle is not the only West Indian struggling at the moment, however, as Nicholas Pooran, a standout performer last season has only scored 9 runs in fours games, including three ducks.

"Their problem is that Nicholas Pooran is not scoring run either, who they must have had high hopes from. It's a tricky one. I don't know how long they can keep playing Chris Gayle if he is not getting runs.”

A wretched start to the Indian Premier League (IPL) continued for Windies and Punjab Kings XI batsman, Nicholas Pooran, as he was dismissed for a third duck in just four games against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Wednesday.

Last season, Pooran lit up the tournament as one of the competition’s most in-form players, scoring an impressive 353 runs in 14 games, with an average of 35.  He clearly has not started this campaign at a similar pace.

In four matches so far, the batsman has scored just nine runs, and that was in one match.  In the others, he has left the crease much too quickly to trouble the tally.

In addition to just the wretched run of form, however, some fans have poked fun at the order of the player’s scoreless dismissals. 

He was dismissed for a two balls duck against the Rajasthan Royals in his side's first game. He was then out for a first-ball duck against the Chennai Super Kings.  On Wednesday, Pooran got out for a diamond duck, without even facing a ball as he was run out as soon as he came to the crease.  Punjab Kings XI, who could muster only 120 runs in their 20 overs, lost the match by eight wickets and have recorded one win in their first four games.

 

West Indies legend Brian Lara has tipped for T20 captain, Jason Holder, as the Windies player who could shine most brightly in the India Premier League (IPL) this season.

 The all-rounder was retained by Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) for the new campaign, after only coming in as a substitute for Australian Mitchell Marsh last season.

Holder went on to score 66 runs, in seven matches, at an average of 33, and claimed 14 wickets, the third most on the team despite playing less than half the games.  Lara, who is part of a commentary panel for this season’s tournament, has tipped the player to carry on in the same vein.

“Jason Holder could do pretty well. He ended up replacing Mitchell Marsh in the 2020 IPL, so I expect him to maybe come up with trumps this year,” Lara told StarSports.

“The tracks are not so favourable to the pace where he is playing at present, but he is such a good all-round player that I hope he can maintain his play and really show that the West Indians are here to stay,” he added.

Holder could, however, have plenty of competition for the top West Indian player with the likes of Kieron Pollard, Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, and Nicholas Pooran also taking part in this season’s competition.

 

 

Jonny Bairstow ensured Sunrisers Hyderabad ended their winless start to the Indian Premier League with a thumping nine-wicket victory over Punjab Kings.

Punjab always looked likely to fall to a third straight defeat after they could only post 120 all out at M. A. Chidambaram Stadium on Wednesday.

After losing skipper KL Rahul for just four, their innings looked doomed when Mayank Agarwal (22) departed and Nicholas Pooran (0) in consecutive balls, with Chris Gayle (15) also dismissed before the halfway point.

Pooran was run out without facing a delivery after being promoted up to number four in the order.

Shahrukh Khan added 22 and scored the only two maximums of a disappointing Kings innings, as Khaleel Ahmed led the Sunrisers with figures of 3-21 from his four overs.

Openers Bairstow and David Warner scored 73 from the first 10 overs to ensure a maiden win of 2021 never looked in doubt for Sunrisers.

The Australia batsman fell for a run-a-ball 37 after Agarwal held on to a catch off the bowling of Fabian Allen (1-22).

But Bairstow (63 not out) remained for the duration of a comfortable run chase after being joined by Kane Williamson (16no).

SUNRISERS UP AND RUNNING

Sunrisers had lost their first three matches by just 10, six and 13 runs respectively, so they have not been far away despite their winless start.

Having also lost the last game they played in 2020, defeat in this game would have equalled their longest ever IPL losing run of five.

But having made the play-offs in each of the last five years, they will hope this much-needed victory kickstarts their season to ensure that impressive streak can continue.

BAIRSTOW FORM CONTINUES

It has been a good start to the competition for England batsman Bairstow, whose unbeaten 56-ball innings here contained six boundaries and included three maximums.

After coming into the match with scores of 55, 12 and 43 to his name, Bairstow now averages 57.66 and will be key to the Sunrisers' hopes of contending.

Mohammad Rizwan punished Zimbabwe for an early dropped catch as Pakistan claimed a hard-fought 11-run victory in the Twenty20 series opener on Wednesday.

Fresh from a 3-1 win in South Africa, Pakistan relied on Rizwan's unbeaten 82 to steer them to a competitive total of 149-7 after being put into bat at Harare Sports Club.

The wicketkeeper-batsman hit 10 fours and a solitary six in his outstanding 61-ball knock; the next highest score in the innings came from debutant Danish Aziz, who made 15 before becoming one of two wickets to fall to Luke Jongwe.

Zimbabwe did not help themselves with a number of missed opportunities in the field, including Tinashe Kamunhukamwe at mid-on failing to grasp an opportunity presented by Rizwan when he had just 13 to his name.

The home team still looked in a promising position in reply when they reached 77-2 in the 11th over, despite two early strikes from Pakistan pace bowler Mohammad Hasnain.

Kamunhukamwe had batted well to reach 29 but his departure, stumped having charged down the track to off-spinner Mohammad Hafeez, signalled a collapse. Craig Ervine fell in the next over for a top score of 34 as Zimbabwe slipped to 95-6.

Usman Qadir did much of the damage as he claimed 3-29 and, despite some late boundaries from Jongwe (30 not out from 23 balls), Zimbabwe  finished up on 138-7.

The second T20 takes place at the same venue on Friday, with the final game in the series scheduled for Sunday.

Rizwan in the runs again

Opener Rizwan registered his third half-century in five T20 games – his other two outings in that stretch saw him dismissed without scoring in the four-match series against the Proteas. Zimbabwe were left to rue their failure to dismiss him cheaply, particularly as he helped plunder 20 runs from the final over.

Zimbabwe left in a spin

Qadir – the son of legendary leg-spinner Abdul – sparked a middle-order collapse by Zimbabwe that shifted the game in Pakistan's favour. He has now taken 11 wickets at an average of 8.09 against them in four appearances in the shortest format, as well as owning a miserly economy rate of 5.93 runs per over.

A yet-to-be-settled dispute currently roiling South Africa cricket threatens to scupper the team’s chances of touring the West Indies later this year.

The Proteas have been tentatively scheduled to tour the Caribbean in June of this year, most likely in Trinidad and Tobago, but a dispute between Cricket South Africa (CSA) and the government could lead to its cancellation.

The issue stems from the government's request that Cricket South Africa (CSA) adopt a new constitution for cricket administration in the country.  In a recent meeting, however, CSA voted against adopting the measure.  The country’s sports minister is as a result said to be considering taking serious measures against the board.

One option could be to take away the body’s right to designate itself as the official national representative of the country.  As such, CSA could not then select a national team for the tour of the Caribbean.

South Africa is one of several countries that are lined up to tour the Caribbean this year, as the region looks to recover from the financial setback of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Sri Lanka toured the region last month and Australia and Pakistan are also expected to tour the Caribbean later this year.  The South Africa series was previously reported to consist of two Tests and five T20s.

 

 Former England captain turned cricket analyst. Michael Vaughan. has questioned the overall fitness of West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell, despite the player’s fair start to the Indian Premier League (IPL) season.

In the second game of the campaign for the Kolkatta Knight Riders, Russell cleaned up the Mumbai Indians' tail for career-best figures of 5-15.  In the same match, however, the player was unable to finish the job with the bat as the Knight Riders slumped to a dramatic 10-run defeat as Russell added 9 from 15.

Vaughan pointed to the batsman’s work in the field and running between the crease as evidence the big hitter is not quite at his best.

“You got a player like Andre Russell, who has been a superstar, but on the field, when the ball is coming to him, he is always using his feet. He is obviously someone who cannot go down. It’s a very clever and careful aspect which Eoin Morgan will have to manage,” Vaughan told Cricbuzz.

“When he (Andre Russell) is at his best, he is great. But when you see him on the field, and when is bowling, he appears to be struggling. While batting he is not taking the twos,” he added.

“He needed to take the twos in the 19th over. Because you want him back on strike. Very difficult to manage for Brendon McCullum and Eoin Morgan.”

The Knight Riders have won 1 of their first 3 matches.

Chennai Super Kings made it 12 wins in the past 15 Indian Premier League meetings with Rajasthan Royals as they eased to a 45-run triumph on Monday.

Moeen Ali contributed with both bat and ball as the Super Kings proved far too strong for their opponents at the Wankhede Stadium.

The Royals had prevailed in four of their previous five games at the Mumbai ground - including last time out against Delhi Capitals in a thriller - but fell away badly in reply to Chennai's total of 188-9.

Jos Buttler provided the only innings of note from the top order in the run chase, making 49 from 35 deliveries with five fours and a pair of sixes.

Rajasthan were in contention at 87-2 in their reply, but Buttler's departure - bowled by Ravindra Jadeja - sparked a collapse that saw five wickets fall for eight runs. They finished up on 143-9.

Jadeja finished with 2-28 but fellow spinner Moeen was the pick of the attack, the England all-rounder taking 3-7 from his three overs having earlier made 26 in Chennai's innings.

Faf du Plessis top-scored with 33 as all the top five reached double figures, while the Super Kings demonstrated their strength in depth when Dwayne Bravo made 20 not out from number nine in the order.


Royals run into trouble

Despite a miserable overall record, Rajasthan had won back-to-back matches against Chennai. However, they were unable to equal their longest winning run against them.

Buttler did his best but there was little support from the rest of the top order, the Super Kings' spinners emphatically turning the game in their favour.

All-round balance helps Chennai

Moeen Ali is the only player to reach three figures for runs and also claim a wicket so far in the 2021 IPL season.

His signing by the Super Kings in the auction appears an astute piece of business, particularly as the left-handed batsman has capitalised on his opportunities to bat up the order.

The Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) has joined forces with the Caribbean Cricket Podcast to bring even more engaging and entertaining content to their ever-growing social media following.

Despite admitting that their finances were in dire straits, President of Cricket West Indies (CWI) Ricky Skerritt has revealed that staff and players are now receiving their full salaries again after agreeing to a 50 per cent pay-cut last year.

It was in July 2020, at the height of the COVID19 pandemic which left CWI facing a major loss of income in the absence of regular cricketing activities, that CWI enforced pay cuts across the board, but the president now said all salaries are back to normal, even if only temporarily.

“The cut doesn’t exist at the moment…but let me just remind you (the cut) was part of the crisis management strategy,” he told Line & Length on Sportsmax over the weekend.

“We had put in place what we had called a financial strategy advisory committee which was a small task force combined from our finance committee and our audit risk along with the compliance committee, the CEO (Johnny Grave) and myself.

“The pandemic isn’t over but we have relaxed one of those conditions, which is we are back to full remuneration,” said the 64-year-old Kittitian.

According to auditors KPMG, the Board’s financial records show that CWI’s liabilities exceeds assets and raised the “material uncertainty” about the sports organization’s ability to keep operating indefinitely.

“We draw attention to Note 2 to the consolidated financial statements, which describes that the group’s revenue is cyclical in nature and depends on the popularity of the various reciprocal tours undertaken by West Indies teams,” the independent auditor’s report said.

“As at September 30, 2020, the group’s current liabilities exceeded its current assets by US$14,836,946 and its total liabilities exceeded its total assets by US$10,747,720.

“These events or conditions, along with other matters as set forth in Note 2, indicate that a material uncertainty exists that may cast significant doubt on the group’s ability to continue as a going concern. Our opinion is not modified in respect of this matter.”

Skerritt, who was just handed another two-year term along with his vice president, Vincentian Dr Kishore Shallow, also indicated there were much better relations with stakeholders, players and staff over the last two years.

“The whole process is to not distract players away from their focus on cricket as far as possible and doesn’t give any interventions or any intrusions from an administrative or management level that can cause the players any kind of distress or any kind of unnatural concerns to do with the environment they find themselves in whether on tour or not,” the CWI president said.

Shikhar Dhawan smashed 92 to lead Delhi Capitals to a six-wicket win over Punjab Kings in a high-scoring Indian Premier League encounter.

Half-centuries from KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal helped Punjab post 195-4 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai after being put into bat by Capitals skipper Rishabh Pant.

However, Delhi – who came into the contest having alternated between defeat and victory across their previous seven IPL games – bounced back from a three-wicket loss to Rajasthan Royals last time out in stunning fashion.

Dhawan dominated the Kings attack in a well-paced chase, following up his 85 in his side's opener against Chennai Super Kings with a marvellous knock that included 13 fours and two sixes.

Opening partner Prithvi Shaw contributed 32 at the top of the Capitals' order while Marcus Stoinis finished the job in a hurry, the all-rounder making 27 not out from just 13 balls.

Punjab's total had been built on the solid foundation provided by openers Rahul and Agarwal as they shared a 122-run stand, the latter the more aggressive of the pair as his score of 69 came from 36 deliveries.

West Indian duo Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran made just 11 and nine respectively as the innings briefly stuttered, but late cameos from Deepak Hooda – who hit two sixes to make 22 not out from 13 deliveries – and Shahrukh Khan (15 off five balls) lifted the Kings.

Delhi had lost five of the past seven meetings between the franchises but Dhawan made sure they prevailed this time, in the process becoming the competition's leading run-scorer in 2021.

 

Kings run into a spot of trouble

Rahul hit seven fours and two sixes while at the crease, but his 61 runs came from 51 deliveries at a strike-rate of 119.60.

Punjab Kings would have had designs on making in excess of 200 following the start they were given by their openers, but an inability to get after Ravichandran Ashwin – his four overs of spin went for just 28 runs – saw them come up just short.

Capitals gain from in-form opener

Dhawan received the orange cap after the game as he moved above Glenn Maxwell of Royal Challengers Bangalore in the run-scoring table. The left-hander is scoring at 163.15 runs per 100 deliveries in the 2021 edition of the Twenty20 tournament, despite having only hit four sixes.

Bowled within sight of a century as he attempted to sweep Australian seamer Jhye Richardson, Dhawan then watched on as Stoinis rushed his team home with 10 balls to spare.

Royal Challengers Bangalore continued their unbeaten start to the Indian Premier League as AB de Villiers and Glenn Maxwell powered them to victory over Kolkata Knight Riders.

The sole team yet to taste defeat in this season's competition, RCB surged to 204-4 thanks to an exceptional innings from Maxwell (78) and De Villiers' unbeaten 76.

Their respective displays contributed to three successive partnerships of over 50 runs to help RCB emphatically recover from a shaky start and post an imposing total.

KKR never found the necessary momentum to threaten that target despite a late salvo from Andre Russell (31) as RCB eased to a 38-run win.

Varun Chakravarthy removed both Virat Kohli (5) and Rajat Patidar (1) in the second over to reduce RCB to 9-2.

However, Maxwell and Devdutt Padikkal constructed a stand of 86 for the third wicket, laying the platform for De Villiers to hit the accelerator upon his arrival at the crease.

Maxwell and De Villiers combined for 53 off just 37 deliveries and, after the Australian was bounced out by compatriot Pat Cummins, the South African took command as he contributed 43 runs to a 20-ball, 56-run stand with Kyle Jamieson.

KKR saw a promising start to their reply undone as they slumped from 57-1 to 114-5 when skipper Eoin Morgan sliced Harshal Patel to opposing captain Kohli.

Russell gave them hope of a remarkable turnaround in the 17th over, in which he struck Yuzvendra Chahal for a six and three fours.

He then hit Jamieson for a maximum in the next over but that preceded the exits of Shakib Al Hasan and Cummins at the hands of the New Zealand international.

And the contest was settled by some superb death bowling from Mohammed Siraj in the penultimate over, with Russell then playing Harshal onto his stumps as a seemingly exciting finale gave way to a meek end.

Devastating De Villiers

Having been dismissed for one in RCB's last game with Sunrisers Hyderabad, De Villiers was back to his best with a 34-ball 76. His strike rate of 223.52 is the second-highest of any innings this season where the batsman has scored at least 50, behind Deepak Hooda's 28-ball 64 (228.57) for Punjab Kings against Rajasthan Royals.

Siraj stems the tide

Russell's surge was stopped firmly in its tracks by Siraj, who effectively clinched victory for RCB as his final over went for just one run, producing five successive dot balls as a frustrated Russell kept the strike while unable to find the boundary.

Big-hitting West Indian batsman, Kieron Pollard, joined elite Indian Premier League (IPL) company when became one of only a handful of players to hit 200 sixes, during Mumbai Indians' third match of IPL 2021 against Sunrisers Hyderabad.

After a slow start to the campaign, Pollard exploded into life on Saturday hitting 35 from just 22 balls, lifting Mumbai to 150.  The West Indian’s knock consisted of three sixes, in the end playing a crucial role in a 13-run win.

 Pollard became the 6th batter to get past 200 sixes in the IPL.  The list is led by his compatriot Gayle who has hit 351 sixes, 114 more than 2nd-placed AB de Villiers. Rohit Sharma is third on the list followed by MS Dhoni.  Pollard went level with Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli after finishing the Mumbai Indians innings on Saturday with 201 sixes.

Pollard is, however, the only man among the top 10 on the list for most boundaries in the IPL with more sixes than fours — 201 sixes, 199 fours.  Pollard also became only the third overseas player after Gayle and de Villiers to hit 200 sixes.

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