Shimron Hetmyer blasted the West Indies to a 2-0 lead in their five-game T20I series against Australia with a 56-run at St Lucia on Saturday.

Hetmyer arrived at the crease at 44-2 in the sixth over but blasted four sixes on his way to 61 from 36 deliveries.

Australia captain Aaron Finch had won the toss and elected to field, but the West Indies amassed 196-4 buoyed by Hetmyer's knock, piling on 123 runs in the latter 10 overs.

Hetmyer had excellent support from Dwayne Bravo (47* from 34) and Andre Russell (24* from eight), feasting on a wayward Mitchell Starc (49-0 from four overs).

The tourists struggled again with the bat, losing openers Matthew Wade (duck) and Finch (six) cheaply, before being bowled out for 140.

Mitch Marsh, elevated to first drop, top scored with 54 from 42 balls, as Hayden Walsh took 29-3 while Sheldon Cottrell claimed 22-2.

Australia lost 39-7 after Marsh's dismissal to Walsh, with the tourists struggling to offer any significant resistance, managing only two sixes for the innings, compared to the West Indies' 13.

HETMYER HITS 'EM

After Chris Gayle failed, Guyana left-hander Hetmyer stepped up with his 61 being his international T20I best, and also only his second half-century for the West Indies.

Hetmyer said: "I think it was one of my best T20 innings. I paced it quite well. The guys backed me to take it as deep as possible. Once you do that, you have a licence."

The 24-year-old capitalized on that licence, hitting Ashton Agar, Marsh and Adam Zampa for sixes in consecutive overs.

Hetmyer was run out with 13 balls left in the innings, before Bravo and Russell added another 34 runs to set an imposing target.

The pair took a liking to Starc, with 15 runs coming from four balls in the penultimate over.

AUSSIES T20I WOES

Finch declined the blame his decision to bowl first for the defeat, while he also refused to give the series away despite trailing 2-0 and being outplayed so far.

The Australia skipper said: "I don’t think the wicket changed a huge amount. I thought it played pretty well. Chasing 190, you have to get off to a pretty good start and when your two openers get out cheaply, it puts a lot of pressure on a reasonably inexperienced international middle order."

On the series, Finch added: "We have to win three games in the series, doesn’t matter if you do it at the start of the series or come from behind."

This is Australia's first games since losing 3-2 in a five-game T20I series in New Zealand in February and March.

Finch's side also lost 2-1 in a T20I International series away to England in September last year as they strive to find their groove in the shortest format.

West Indies took six Australia wickets for just 19 runs as the hosts secured victory in the sides' T20 opener.

The Windies put on 145-6 in St Lucia, where Obed McCoy and Hayden Walsh did most of the damage with the ball in an 18-run triumph.

Andre Russell's maiden half-century was also a telling contribution in what was a fifth win in six for the Windies against Australia in this format

Australia had looked in good shape after restricting the home side to 35-3 off 7.4 overs, but Russell's 51 came from 28 deliveries to help his side to a credible total.

The tourists lost the dangerous Aaron Finch in the second over of their response before rallying to reach 108-4 at just past the midway point.

With Australia firmly on track for the win, the Windies needed something special and it was McCoy and Walsh who produced the goods.

Wickets tumbled as McCoy took 4-26 and Walsh claimed 3-23, with seven of Australia's batting order limited to a single-figure contribution in an innings where they were all out for 127 in 16 overs.

THE REAL MCCOY

It was a devastating spell with the ball for McCoy, who accounted for Josh Philippe, Ashton Agar, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.

But it wasn't just his wicket-taking that impressed, with McCoy suppressing Australia's run rate by delivering 13 dot balls in a man-of-the-match display.

"It feels great," said McCoy. "I've been working really hard. It was just all about execution and sticking to the team plan.

"Normally on that surface the ball has nice bounce and carry but I was just trying to mix up my pace as much as I can."

NO EXCUSES FROM FINCH

Australia captain Finch offered no excuses for what was a shocking collapse from his side.

Finch admitted his team needed to show a little more intelligence in their approach.

He said: "We've been working on trying to be a little more aggressive in the middle overs but maybe just need to rein it in and have some more smarts.

"I thought the wicket played a little better batting second. There's no excuses for our batting display there.

"You've got to dust yourselves off and come again with the same attitude but just execute a little bit better under pressure."

Captain Stafanie Taylor took four wickets and scored an unbeaten 43 to lead the West Indies Women to a six-wicket victory over Pakistan Women at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua Sunday.

Quinton de Kock and Aiden Markram paved the way for South Africa to claim their first Twenty20 series win since March 2019 as they held off West Indies to secure a 25-run victory.

Having decided to bat first in Grenada, Temba Bavuma's side went on to seal a decisive triumph to round off a 3-2 series success.

De Kock's 60 and Markram's 70 set the tone as the tourists reached 168-4 from 20 overs.

It proved the difference, with Evin Lewis' 52 not enough to inspire the Windies, who also lost the Test series against the Proteas 2-0.

South Africa could hardly have got off to a poorer start, however, with captain Bavuma dismissed on the third delivery of the day.

Yet thanks to the efforts of De Kock – who struck his third straight half-century – and Markram, the Proteas were on 128 by the time they next lost a wicket.

After helping to muster the highest partnership of the series for either side, De Kock picked out Andre Russell off Fidel Edwards' bowling, before Markram, who has now scored 50 or more in four of his last nine T20s, succumbed two overs later.

David Miller added 18 off 16 deliveries to ensure South Africa finished with a flourish.

Lewis went on the attack to get Windies off to a strong start, but by the time he was caught by Markram, the hosts were 75-3, having lost Lendl Simmons and Chris Gayle.

Shimron Hetmyer's 33 included two sixes, but the loss of Kieron Pollard and Andre Russell in swift succession ultimately left the Windies with too much to do, with Nicholas Pooran's dismissal the final blow to their hopes.

DE KOCK LEADS THE WAY

Though Markram was awarded with player of the match, De Kock has enjoyed a brilliant series.

His innings also included four boundaries along with a pair of sixes, while De Kock's total of 225 runs are also the most by a batter in a bilateral series. 

Lungi Ngidi (3-32), was the pick of the bunch from South Africa's bowling attack.

BOUCHER GETS A MONKEY OFF HIS BACK

This was also a huge win for South Africa coach Mark Boucher. The Proteas have hardly had much in the way of consistent success under his coaching unit, albeit the coronavirus pandemic has certainly played a part in that.

Indeed, South Africa were on a five-series losing streak in T20s, but they may just have started to turn things around.

West Indies made it 2-2 in the five-match Twenty20 series against South Africa on Thursday, captain Kieron Pollard top-scoring with 51 and Dwayne Bravo taking four wickets. 

The Windies posted 167-6 and successfully defended the total to ensure everything is still left to play for in Saturday's final match in the T20 series. 

South Africa, who last won a T20 series in March 2019 against Sri Lanka, have not successfully chased a target above 160 since February 2018 when they beat India.

West Indies enjoyed a superb opening over, plundering 20 from the bowling of Aiden Markram – their most in the first over of a T20 and the most by any team batting first in this format.

South Africa responded well to that early setback, however, taking six wickets in the next 15 overs, with George Linde in particularly impressive form, the 29-year-old putting in the most economical performance of his T20 career, conceding just 16 runs in four overs.

The Proteas undermined their efforts in the closing stages as they conceded 66 runs in the final four overs. 

Pollard and Fabian Allen scored six sixes in that period, while the former hit three in three balls off Kagiso Rabada, who bowled his most expensive T20 over.

The impressive Pollard brought up a sixth T20 half-century and his highest score in seven innings as Lungi Ngidi's (0-48) two death overs cost 30 runs. 

Allen suffered what looked like a dislocated shoulder as he tried to cut off a Temba Bavuma sweep as South Africa attempted to start their chase strongly, with his overs made up for by Pollard and Andre Russell. 

Quinton de Kock did his best to drive his team forward, the former captain scoring a second successive half-century (60) and a sixth T20 fifty in his last 15 matches, but no other South Africa batter scored more than 20.

Bravo rolls back the years

Bravo made light of Allen's absence with a superb display. He took the wickets of Linde, de Kock, Tabraiz Shamsi and Ngidi in 12 balls in the closing stages of the match to eventually finish with career-best figures of 4-19.

Rabada sums up Proteas' woes

South Africa's chances of victory collapsed during a dismal final four overs, with Kagiso Rabada particularly generous. His penultimate over of the innings proved to be the most expensive at 25 runs, while he did not complete a full quota of four overs for the first time in a T20 match since his debut in 2014. 

South Africa moved 2-1 ahead in the five-match Twenty20 series against West Indies on Tuesday, Kagiso Rabada holding his nerve to clinch a one-run win in Grenada.

Quinton de Kock marked his 50th international appearance in the format by smashing 72 from 51 deliveries, helping the Proteas to post 167-8 - their highest total so far.

Aiden Markram and Rassie van der Dussen contributed 23 and 32 respectively, yet South Africa lost a clatter of wickets in the closing stages.

Obed McCoy claimed two in the penultimate over as he finished with career-best figures of 4-22. There was also a run out to follow in the next, the last of five wickets to go down for the addition of just 20 runs across the final 18 deliveries.

Evin Lewis (27) and new opening partner Lendl Simmons (22) added 51 for the first wicket in West Indies' reply, yet for the second outing in a row they faltered in the face of high-class spin.

Having claimed 1-16 last time out, Tabraiz Shamsi seemingly turned the match in his team's favour by taking 2-13, Lewis and Shimron Hetmyer (17) the batsmen to depart to the left-arm slow bowler.

Andre Russell blasted 25 in a hurry but his departure at the end of an expensive Anrich Nortje over shifted a see-saw contest back in favour of South Africa. Left needing 15 off the last, West Indies came up just short despite a final-ball six from Fabian Allen.


Proteas set the pace thanks to De Kock

De Kock celebrated reaching a personal milestone with a brutal display of hitting, his 51-ball knock at the top of the order including five fours and two sixes. The wicketkeeper-batsman is in impressive form, having now scored 266 runs in his past five T20 innings away from home.

Call of duty needs a reboot

The West Indies have batted second in each of their past 10 T20I meetings with South Africa, winning the toss in all but one of those games. However, the strategic decision may need a rethink before the sides face each other again, as they have gone on to win on just four of those occasions.

South Africa levelled the five-match Twenty20 series against West Indies at 1-1 as spin played a key role in clinching a 16-run win in Grenada on Sunday.

The Proteas appeared to have failed to capitalise on a strong start with the bat when posting 166-7, only slightly above the total they had been unable to defend in the opening game 24 hours earlier.

West Indies had cruised to an eight-wicket victory on Saturday, but this time around they were bamboozled by South Africa's slow bowlers, George Linde (2-19) and Tabraiz Shamsi (1-16) taking 3-35 from their eight overs combined.

Fabian Allen's late onslaught – the all-rounder smashed 34 off just 12 deliveries – kept his team in with a slender chance, but even three sixes off Lungi Ngidi (1-49) in the 20th over were not enough. The innings finished at 150-9, in the process ending West Indies' two-match winning run in the format.

 

South Africa had appeared on course to set a more challenging target when openers Reeza Hendricks and Quinton de Kock (26) put on 73, the stand coming to an end when the latter fell to Kevin Sinclair (2-23).

Captain Temba Bavuma (46) continued the good work of the first-wicket pairing as the tourists reached the midway stage on 95-1, yet they lost their way in the second half of the innings.

The miserly Sinclair accounted for Hendricks, who made 42, and the promise of a late push was curtailed by regular wickets, the Proteas slipping from 122-3 as Obed McCoy (3-25) excelled with the ball at the death.

The real McCoy? Absolutely!

Left-arm seamer McCoy returned his best T20 figures in international cricket, aided by going for just three runs in the 20th over. His back-of-the-hand slower ball accounted for both Heinrich Klaasen and Linde as South Africa slumped down the stretch, albeit the stuttering finish did not cost them in the end.

Allen just Fab, but still not enough

Andre Fletcher did make 35, but the opener used up 36 deliveries in the process of top scoring for West Indies. In contrast, Allen rushed along at a stunning strike-rate of 283.33 runs per 100 balls. His late cameo included five sixes but Ngidi got him in the end, trapped lbw by a yorker from the penultimate ball.

South Africa welcome back white-ball captain Temba Bavuma but will have to do without Dwaine Pretorius for the five-match T20I series against West Indies after the all-rounder tested positive for coronavirus.

Following their series-sealing Test win in St Lucia, South Africa's squad travelled to Grenada, where all five of the matches will be played at St George's over the course of eight days starting on Saturday.

The remaining players have returned negative COVID-19 tests, but Pretorius is ruled out of the compacted schedule under recovery and return to play protocols despite being asymptomatic.

Wiaan Mulder – who took a remarkable 3-1 in four overs in the first innings of the second Test - will take Pretorius' place in the travelling party, having been retained from the red ball squad, and will hope to add to his solitary T20I cap. Similarly, left-arm seamer Beuran Hendricks had been due to return home after the Tests but has stayed on.

Bavuma missed South Africa's dominant 2-0 Test series triumph, dislocating a finger after being initially laid low with a hip complaint, but the batsman is expected to be fit for the toss as his side look to snap a six-match winless run in the format.

West Indies begin an intensive period of preparation for the defence of the T20 World Cup in India later this year, with the South Africa series the first of three consecutive five-match rubbers.

Australia and Pakistan are also on the agenda for Kieron Pollard's side within the space of the next six weeks.

Star all-rounder Andre Russell is back in the fold alongside batsman Shimron Hetmyer, pace bowlers Sheldon Cottrell and Oshane Thomas and leg-spinner Hayden Walsh Jr.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

West Indies – Evin Lewis

Lewis will be charged with providing the fireworks at the top of the West Indies order – something he relishes. The powerful left-hander is 11 runs away from 1,000 in T20Is. He would be the sixth Windies player to reach the landmark and the second-fastest in terms of innings, with the series opener set to be his 35th. Chris Gayle reached four figures in his 34th match.

South Africa – Aiden Markram

Opener Markram began the Test series with a fifty but could only contribute nought and four to a resounding 158-run win last time out. Nevertheless, he is likely to be in a confident mood heading into a format he relishes. Markram has hit a boundary for every three deliveries faced in T20Is since the beginning of 2019 – the most frequent for any batter to have faced 50 balls or more from a Test-playing country.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- West Indies will be aiming for back-to-back multi-game bilateral men's T20I series victories for the first time since March 2013, following their 2-1 triumph over Sri Lanka in March.
- Ireland defeated West Indies by four runs in the only previous T20I at the National Cricket Stadium in Grenada.
- West Indies have scored 62 per cent of their runs from boundaries in T20Is since the beginning of 2019, the best rate of any Test-playing country and five percentage points higher than South Africa (57 per cent).
- South Africa have a bowling dot-ball percentage of 33 per cent in T20Is since the beginning of 2019, the lowest of any Test-playing country and two percentage points fewer than West Indies (35 per cent).
- South Africa have saved 58 runs when fielding in men's T20Is since the beginning of 2019. Only New Zealand (61) have prevented more in that time amongst Test-playing countries.

Liam Livingstone led England to a Twenty20 series win over Sri Lanka despite the tourists threatening a comeback in Thursday's second match.

In the absence of Jos Buttler, who was nursing a calf injury, Livingstone's 29 from 26 balls ensured an eighth consecutive victory at Sophia Gardens in this format.

After Sri Lanka had posted 111-7, the lowest score England had ever conceded over 20 overs, the hosts survived a wobble high up the order and a rain delay in Cardiff to post 108-5 and win by five wickets via the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method.

Sam Curran (1-8) produced a finish arguably more worthy of Wembley Stadium to run out Danushka Gunathilaka, side-footing the ball right into the stumps as England made a solid start after losing the toss.

Kusal Perera and Kusal Mendis brought up a partnership of 50 from 53 balls, but the Sri Lanka captain was gone off the next delivery from Mark Wood, a reverse sweep coming right off the toe of the bat and straight to Eoin Morgan.

Wood then claimed two from two deliveries, Bairstow clearing the decks to catch a high ball from Mendis before Morgan was given a simple take at midwicket from Niroshan Dickwella. A hat-trick very nearly followed, Wanindu Hasaranga – who was later stumped by Bairstow from Adil Rashid's delivery – almost edging to slip.

Sri Lanka did at least get to three figures in the final over, Isuru Udana finishing on 19 after a huge swing for six cleared the stands, and when Bairstow and Dawid Malan fell for the loss of eight runs, England's routine-looking chase suddenly seemed uncertain.

Morgan was caught for 11 before Sam Billings and Livingstone steadied the ship, England reaching 69-4 before rain halted proceedings.

Once play resumed with a revised target of 103, Livingstone read a full ball from Dushmantha Chameera and hooked an exquisite shot into the stands to calm any lingering nerves.

Billings was skittled by Hasaranga (2-20) but it mattered little, Curran smashing a six to settle the contest just as the rain began to fall again.

Sri Lanka far too brittle with the bat

England's fifth consecutive T20 win over Sri Lanka had looked nailed on, but it became rather more nail-biting as Hasaranga led an accomplished early attack.

Ultimately, it was too little, too late after another poor batting effort. Sri Lanka entered this match with 28 sixes in T20 matches since the start of 2020, the lowest figure among Test nations, and Udana's final-over flourish produced the only boundaries they managed once Mendis had gone.

 

England make history

England have now won back-to-back multi-game bilateral men's T20 series on home soil for the first time, having beaten Australia 2-1 last September.

While Morgan could only manage 11 runs at a ground where he averaged 102 from his five previous innings, Livingstone and Wood stepped up with bat and ball to make Saturday's third match in Southampton a chance to throw off the shackles.

England maintained their 100 per cent record in Twenty20 games played at Sophia Gardens thanks to a resounding eight-wicket win over Sri Lanka in their series opener.

Jos Buttler made 68 not out as England made it seven wins from seven at the venue in Cardiff, this latest triumph sealed with 17 balls to spare as they easily overhauled Sri Lanka's below-par 129-7.

Jason Roy gave the chase a fast start with 36 from 22 deliveries in an 80-run opening stand with Buttler, who hit eight fours and a six during his 55-ball knock.

Wanindu Hasaranga did excel with the ball for the tourists, giving up just 12 runs in his four-over spell, while Isuru Udana bowled Dawid Malan for seven off 14 balls. Jonny Bairstow finished up unbeaten on 13.

Sri Lanka had earlier been indebted to a half-century from Dasun Shanaka, his second at international level in the format, having opted to bat first after winning the toss.

Danushka Gunathilaka made 19 at the top of the order and captain Kusal Perera contributed 30, but the tourists struggled for momentum as they slipped to 79-5 at the start of the 14th over.

Adil Rashid claimed 2-17 in four economical overs, while there was a wicket for Liam Livingstone too. Shanaka made sure Sri Lanka at least finished strongly, hitting three fours and a pair of sixes as 25 came from the final two overs, but their total was no problem for England's powerful batting line-up.


Opening role just perfect for Buttler

Buttler has made clear his desire to continue opening in T20 action for England - and the numbers support his case. This was his ninth half-century in 20 innings at the top of the order, with the milestone arriving from 38 balls with a pulled four to the square leg boundary.

Tourists toil again in format

Sri Lanka have lost 10 of their previous 11 completed T20 matches, a worrying run of form with a World Cup to come later in the year. They do not have to wait long for an opportunity to draw level in this series at least, as the teams meet again at the same venue on Thursday.

Dan Christian has been added to Australia's preliminary squad for the white-ball tours of West Indies and Bangladesh along with uncapped pacemen Wes Agar and Nathan Ellis.

The selectors announced an initial party of 23 to face the Windies and the Tigers, featuring a number of players who played in an Indian Premier League that was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic.

They have now added Christian, Agar, Ellis, Ben McDermott, Cameron Green and Ashton Turner.

All-rounder Christian, 38, and wicketkeeper-batsman McDermott will end spells in England with Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire respectively to fly home and complete the mandatory two-week quarantine period before the final squad's scheduled departure for the Caribbean late in June.

Christian has not played for his country since October 2017, while Agar and Ellis will be hoping to make their international debuts.

Promising all-rounder Green made his ODI bow against India last December, while Turner has featured in the 50-over format six times and played 11 Twenty20 Internationals.

Confirmation of the tours are subject to agreement on bio-security arrangements and relevant government approvals.

Following the 2021 player draft of the Hero CPL, the franchises announced their full rosters earlier today.

Included in the squads are a number of overseas signings that include Shakib al Hasan, Chris Morris, Faf du Plessis, Matthew Wade, Sandeep Lamichhane and Shoaib Malik. There are also spots for talented Pakistani players Haider Ali, Azam Khan and Usman Qadir and Englishman Samit Patel, who will be playing at his first Hero CPL.

The full squads are listed below:

The Jamaica Tallawahs – Andre Russell, Shakib al Hasan, Carlos Brathwaite, Rovman Powell, Haider Ali, Chadwick Walton, Fidel Edwards, Qais Ahmad, Jason Mohammed, Migael Pretorius, Kennar Lewis, Veerasammy Permaul, Abhijai Mansingh, Joshua James, Kirk McKenzie, Ryan Persaud.

St Lucia Zouks – Faf Du Plessis, Keemo Paul, Wahab Riaz, Matthew Wade, Andre Fletcher, Kesrick Williams, Usman Qadir, Samit Patel, Obed McCoy, Rahkeem Cornwall, Mark Deyal, Roston Chase, Javelle Glenn, Keron Cottoy, Jeavor Royal, Kadeem Alleyne, Alzarri Joseph.

Trinbago Knight Riders – Kieron Pollard, Ravi Rampaul, Sunil Narine, Colin Munro, Sandeep Lamichhane, Darren Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Khary Pierre, Isuru Udana, Sikandar Raza, Anderson Phillip, Denesh Ramdin, Tion Webster, Akeal Hosein, Jayden Seales, Leonardo Julian, Ali Khan.

St Kitts and Nevis Patriots – Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Fabian Allen, Rassie van der Dussen, Anrich Nortje, Sherfane Rutherford, Sheldon Cottrell, Winindu Hasaranga, Devon Thomas, Rayad Emrit, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Colin Archibald, Jon-Russ Jagesar, Dominic Drakes, Joshua Da Silva, Mikyle Louis.

Barbados Tridents – Chris Morris, Jason Holder, Thisara Perera, Mohammad Amir, Johnson Charles, Shai Hope, Oshane Thomas, Kyle Mayers, Hayden Walsh Jr, Azam Khan, Raymon Reifer, Justin Greaves, Ashley Nurse, Shafiqullah Ghafari, Nyeem Young, Joshua Bishop, Samit Patel.

Guyana Amazon Warriors – Nicholas Pooran, Shoaib Malik, Imran Tahir, Shimron Hetmyer, Mohammad Hafeez, Brandon King, Naveen Ul Haq, Romario Shepherd, Waqar Salamkheil, Chandrapaul Hemraj, Odean Smith, Niall Smith, Gudakesh Motie, Anthony Bramble, Kevin Sinclair, Ashmead Nedd.

The 2021 Hero CPL bowls off at Warner Park on August 28 with the final set for September 19.

 

 

 The Barbados Tridents have announced their retentions for the 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League which gets underway on August 28 in St Kitts & Nevis.

 The Tridents will welcome back the world’s number one rated Test all-rounder and Tridents’ captain Jason Holder, along with fellow Barbadians Shai Hope, Kyle Mayers, Raymon Reifer, Justin Greaves, Nyeem Young and Joshua Bishop.

 In addition to the local playing contingent, the Tridents have retained opening batsman Johnson Charles and leg spinner Hayden Walsh Jr who was the player of the tournament when the Tridents claimed the Hero CPL title in 2019.

 Tridents have eight spots left to fill in their squad and the remaining players will be announced in the coming weeks.

 Kailash Pardasani, Barbados Tridents Co-CEO, said: “We are really excited to welcome back our retained players and especially look forward to making Barbados and all Tridents’ fans very proud in our upcoming 2021 season. Our primary driving factor is the Barbados Tridents family which comprises our players, their extended families and all fans across the globe. This together with our love and passion for the game of cricket will enable us to bring the Hero CPL 2021 title back home as we did in 2019.“

 

Sir Curtly Ambrose said while he fully endorses regional players plying their trade across the world to secure their financial futures, he believes those players should equally make themselves available to play for the West Indies.

There have been several instances in the past few years where players have declined invitations to represent the West Indies but then jet off to destinations across the globe to play in T20 tournaments.

The issue was brought into sharp focus recently when several West Indies players declined to tour Bangladesh citing the pandemic and their related safety concerns. However, some of those players later went on to play for T20 franchises in countries that were also experiencing spikes in the number of Covid-19 infections.

During an interview on Talk Sports Live with Michael Bascombe on Saturday, the West Indies bowling icon, said the players need to do a better job of striking a balance between playing franchise cricket and representing the West Indies.

“The game has evolved. There is a lot more cricket being played now and many different T20 tournaments around the globe and there’s lots more money as well, so guys are going to go where the money is and I have no issues with that,” Ambrose said.

“A cricket career can be a very short one, once you have injury it could be all over for you so with guys going around plying their trade with different franchises making money to set themselves up financially, I have no issues with it.

“However, I think it needs to strike a balance somewhere because most of these guys who are playing their trade around the world, it’s because they played for the West Indies team why people saw them and gave them contracts. So for me, you need to find a balance somewhere where you can give back to West Indies cricket. You need to give back to West Indies cricket at some point as opposed to abandoning West Indies cricket.”

This is not the first time that Ambrose has expressed these sentiments.

In December 2020, he publicly criticized Andre Russell, who after declined an invitation to play for the West Indies against New Zealand but later went to play in the Sri Lanka Premier League T20 tournament.

Chief selector Roger Harper told media that Russell declined the West Indies invitation citing the need to clear his mind after being in quarantine lockdown for both the Caribbean Premier League in Trinidad and Tobago where he played for the Jamaica Tallawahs franchise and then, the Indian Premier League in Abu Dhabi where he played for the Kolkata Knight Riders.

Ambrose poured cold water on the explanation.

“Because he wants to clear his head for a while to get his mind together, I have no problem with that because cricket is a high-pressure game,” he said.

“So if you want to clear your head for a while, take your mind off cricket I have no issues with that, but if you are going to reject playing for your nation, your country, and then two weeks later you’re playing for somebody else, that to me is a no-no.”

 

 

 

The inaugural final of the Hero CPL Esports Series saw Colin Munro of the Trinbago Knight Riders take on Ish Sodhi of St Kitts & Nevis Patriots with the difficulty level of the game turned up to really challenge these players.

The Knight Riders won the toss and put the Patriots into bat and the first over of the final was full of drama with Khary Pierre picking up both Patriots’ openers with Evin Lewis and Chris Lynn dismissed going for big shots.

That left the Patriots 10-2 at the end of the first over, and that became 17-3 when Sodhi was caught in the ring off the bowling of Ali Khan.

Things didn’t improve when Nick Kelly was run out for a diamond duck to leave the Patriots innings in tatters at 18-4.

Sunil Narine kept the carnage coming when he bowled Ben Dunk for 6 and then did the same to Denesh Ramdin two balls later to leave the Patriots at 22-6.

Fawad Ahmad’s introduction into the attack only further cemented the Patriots’ woes as three more wickets fell, two of them soft run-outs as the batting team finished with 32 all out.

It was a small target but Munro was still feeling the pressure. The Patriots could have had Lendl Simmons dismissed in the first over but Chris Lynn put down a tough chance off Alzarri Joseph at mid-off.

At the other end, Narine found the boundary twice before Simmons was gone, dismissed by Imran Khan. By the end of the second over the Knight Riders were 18/1 with 16 needed from 18 balls.

Sodhi brought himself on to bowl and after a tricky start thanks to two wides, he came back well to get Narine bowled for 10.

That left the Knight Riders needing 11 from 12 and a powerful on-drive for four from Pollard seemed to swing things in his team's favour before he was yet another runout.

At the start of the last over five were needed and the Knight Riders seemed happy to get there in singles, but a wide and a no-ball from Sheldon Cottrell also helped.

It was Munro who hit the winning runs, cover driving for two to win the game by seven wickets with one ball to spare in a thrilling last-over finish to seal the first-ever CPL Esports title.

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