Pace pair Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood have fired Australia to a 133-run Duckworth-Lewis victory in the opening One Day International (ODI) of the three-game series against the West Indies in Barbados on Tuesday.

Player of the Match Starc claimed 48-5 from eight overs while the economical Hazlewood finished with 11-3 from six overs as the tourists responded after their 4-1 T20I series defeat.

Missing captain Aaron Finch, the Australians had managed 252-9 from 49 overs with the bat, led by stand-in skipper Alex Carey's 67 and Ashton Turner's 49 from 45 balls.

Leg-spinner Hayden Walsh continued his good form with the ball, taking 39-5 for his maiden ODI five-wicket haul.

Australia turned the game with the ball, with Starc dismissing opener Evin Lewis caught and bowled first ball, while Jason Mohammed (two), Darren Bravo (two) and Nicholas Pooran (duck) did not last long either.

Starc and Hazlewood took three wickets each as the West Indies slumped to 27-6 inside eight overs, before captain Kieron Pollard's lone rearguard.

Left-arm quick Starc had Pollard caught by Turner for 56 from 57 balls, effectively ending the resistance with Walsh last to fall to Adam Zampa with the West Indies 123 all out.

POSITIVE DAY FOR AUSSIE DEBUTANTS

Australia got the response they wanted after a disappointing T20I series, even with three ODI debutants in the side; Wes Agar, Josh Philippe and Ben McDermott.

The Aussies were also missing captain Finch, but first-time captain Carey showed his composure and quality with his steady knock after Australia had been in some trouble at 114-4 at the halfway mark.

Starc said about Carey: "He's pretty calm and collected today. He did fantastic with the bat.

"If he had any nerves, that probably helped him settle down. It's nice to get him a win in his first game as captain and three young fellas on debut."

Australia have long struggled in the shortest format but are much more adept in 50-over cricket as five-time World Cup winners.

POLLARD DEMANDS FOR 'FIGHT'

Australia's quicks dominated the early overs with the ball, decimating the West Indies' top order leaving captain Pollard scratching his head.

The West Indies' top five combined for a total of 15 runs, as Starc and Hazlewood bowled brilliantly, while normally reliable all-rounder Jason Holder also fell for a duck.

"The biggest thing is I want our guys to fight," Pollard said. "The ball was swinging but we can't just give it away. The most disappointing factor for me is we didn’t show that fight.

"We have to find a way to get through that first six to 10 overs when the ball is actually moving a lot and see where that takes us."

When asked about Starc and Hazlewood's spell, Carey simply said "wow". He added: "I probably haven’t seen a powerplay like that before."

West Indies white-ball captain Kieron Pollard sees more specialist players coming in as replacements for some of the all-rounders, who played in the just-concluded T20 series when the team takes on Australia in the first of three ODIs starting tomorrow at the Kensington Oval in Barbados.

Australia are hoping captain Aaron Finch can overcome injury to lead the side in the ODI series against West Indies in Barbados, which starts on Tuesday.

Finch twisted his knee while fielding in the closing T20I in St Lucia before going on to score 34 – despite his movements being visibly compromised – as Australia lost by 16 runs and slumped to a 4-1 series defeat.

Matthew Wade is the most likely candidate to take the captaincy if Finch is absent, having done so in the T20I series against India last year.

The 34-year-old opener would be a big miss to an Australia side already without Steve Smith and David Warner, who are injured and rested respectively. Ashton Agar (hamstring) and Ben McDermott (quadriceps) are progressing well.

Australia named an expanded squad for their limited-overs trip to the West Indies to mitigate against the possibility of any coronavirus absentees, although reserves Nathan Ellis and Tanveer Sangha are both bowlers.

Handily illustrating the contrasting state in which both teams approach this three-match rubber, while the tourists are trying to scrabble together a serviceable top order, West Indies head coach Phil Simmons is asking his batsmen to kick on from recent success and post consistently imposing totals.

Shai Hope, Evin Lewis and Darren Bravo each hit centuries in the 3-0 win over Sri Lanka earlier in the year, although each of those successes came when batting second – meaning there was no need for the Windies to extend themselves to 300 and beyond.

 

"We are looking for the way we batted to continue and improvements have to be made in the middle overs from 20-39 in order for us to get from 280-290 to the 320-330 we'll need against Australia," Simmons said, as quoted by ESPNCricinfo. "We've been discussing that since the Sri Lanka series so now it's time to put it into action."

Finch's opposite number Kieron Pollard is closing in on a return having sat out the T20I series due to a hamstring complaint while fellow all-rounder Jason Holder is set to return after being rested.

Australia need more Mitch-hitting

In the absence of Smith, Warner and possibly Finch, there will be even more onus on Mitchell Marsh. The powerful batting all-rounder enjoyed a superb series batting at number three during the T20Is and his 219 runs were the most by any player on either side. Marsh's ODI batting average of 34.36 is his best across the three international formats.

Windies opener Evin the time of his life

Fresh from plundering an explosive 79 to be named player of the match in St Lucia, thumping nine sixes from 34 deliveries, opener Lewis will be relishing taking his sparkling form onto the 50-over stage. The destructive left-hander followed 65 in the first match against Sri Lanka at North Sound with 103 – his fourth ODI century to stand alongside nine fifties.

Key Opta facts

- Australia have won 10 of their past 11 ODIs against West Indies but this will be just their second 50-over meeting in five years.
- West Indies' last ODI series win against Australia came in 1995; they have lost four of six since.
- Hope has posted a score in excess of 50 in each of his previous six ODI innings, including two centuries. Only Pakistan great Javed Miandad has bettered this streak in history, when he passed 50 nine consecutive times between March and October in 1987.
- Four of Shimron Hetmyer's past seven dismissals in ODIs cricket for West Indies have been against spin, more times than in his 14 prior (three).
- Finch is 69 runs shy of becoming the sixth player to score 2,000 runs for Australia as captain in ODIs. His batting average of 49.5 as skipper is the highest of any player to have captained Australia at least five times.

Tabraiz Shamsi's 4-27 ensured a routine 33-run win for South Africa over Ireland to secure a 1-0 series lead in the first bilateral men's T20I between the two sides in Malahide on Monday.

Quinton de Kock's 20 off nine balls threatened a promising start but came to an end as he found Paul Stirling's hands off the bowling of Mark Adair and that laid the foundations for a stuttering first-innings performance from the Proteas.

The visitors lost wickets at regular intervals, with Rassie van der Dussen (25 off 18), Aiden Markram (39 off 30) and David Miller (28 off 21) all showing incentive before failing to capitalise as South Africa reached 165-7, a touch above the average first-innings score of 152 in Malahide.

Simi Singh (2-19), Josh Little (2-27) and Adair (3-39) were the pick of the Ireland bowlers despite the latter being bludgeoned for four consecutive fours by Kagiso Rabada in the 20th over, which leaked 17 runs.

Stirling hoisted George Linde's first ball of Ireland's reply for six but that did not prove a sign of things to come given he was immediately bowled around his legs by the following delivery.

Captain Andy Balbirnie's 22 off 16 balls offered minor resistance as he watched his side struggle to 38-4 at the end of the six-over powerplay, courtesy of two wickets for Lungi Ngidi's wickets and one a piece for Linde and Rabada.

Linde and the world's number-one ranked T20I bowler Shamsi then rolled through the hosts' batting line-up to take 2-26 and 4-27 from their respective allocations and restrict Ireland to 132-9, with Harry Tector's 36 off 34 balls and Barry McCarthy's lower-order cameo of 30 off 25 balls offering the smallest of boosts for Ireland's poor batting showing.

Spin it to win it

Singh's maiden ODI hundred proved in vain in the third ODI defeat for Ireland but he proved his worth with the ball in Malahide, producing an economical four-over spell that saw him go for just one boundary.

Linde enjoyed similar spinning success, though, it was Shamsi who stole the show once again for the Proteas.

The left-arm leg-spinner is the most economical bowler in T20I cricket since the start of 2020 and, barring a trio of wides and two avoidable boundaries, Shamsi displayed his quality as he frequently spun the Ireland batsmen into a tangle.

 

O'Brien's ominous struggles

After playing five internationals and scoring just 27 runs, including a duck and three single-score returns, in 2021 heading into this match, Kevin O'Brien fell for another first-ball dismissal as he was caught and bowled by Rabada.

Turning out for Leinster Lightning in Ireland's inter-provincial T20 tournament, O'Brien has endured a lean domestic spell, too, managing a meagre 47 runs in six matches with a top score of 16.

O'Brien, scorer of Ireland's only hundred in the shortest limited-overs format, will be desperate to find form before the T20 World Cup gets underway in October.

West Indies Women finished the CG Insurance One Day International Series against Pakistan Women with a 3-2 series victory, despite losing the fifth and final match by 22 runs via the Duckworth/Lewis/Stern Method on Sunday.

Head coach Mark Boucher will hope to rouse his South Africa side for this week's T20I series against Ireland, conceding a lengthy limited stint away from home has taken its toll.

The Proteas diced with humiliation in the ODI rubber, as Ireland beat them in the 50-over format for the first time before centuries from Janneman Malan and Quinton de Kock secured a 70-run win in the third match to snatch a 1-1 series draw.

South Africa moved from one bio-secure bubble to another, following their 3-2 T20I victory in the West Indies with the trip to Ireland, and those obligations have taken place amid a slew of awful news from back home.

A third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has gripped South Africa, while Boucher's players wore black armbands for the third ODI to show solidarity with those affected by mounting scenes of violence.

"We weren't there the other day," Boucher said of the 43-run defeat to Ireland, as quoted by ESPNCricinfo. "Our awareness was down; our intensity was down.

"We looked at quite a few things without making excuses. We had a long chat after the game and we said, 'Guys we are in a position where we can't afford to make excuses. You are playing for your country and you have to be up every game'."

South Africa only have these games – Monday's match at Malahide before back-to-back games in Belfast - and three more versus Sri Lanka before the T20 World Cup gets underway in Oman in October, not an ideal situation given a devilish Group 1 draw alongside England, Australia and West Indies.

However, if Boucher's players were to complain about being under-cooked, they would have few grounds for complaint alongside Ireland.

Andy Balbirnie's side have not played a T20I since last March, with proposed series against Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, New Zealand and Pakistan falling foul of the pandemic.

Five matches against Zimbabwe follow this series before Ireland enter the Group A qualifier section alongside Sri Lanka, Namibia and the Netherlands at the T20 World Cup, from which two teams progress.

Shamsi looking to consolidate number one status

Irrespective of how ideal or otherwise their preparations have been, South Africa have their T20 World Cup trump card in Tabraiz Shamsi. The left-arm wrist spinner is ranked as the number one bowler in the world in the shortest international format and his economy rate of 6.5 since the beginning of 2020 is the best of anyone to have bowled in 10 or more innings.

 

O'Brien hoping to regain form alongside old ally Stirling

Ireland's main threat in the shortest format often comes from Paul Stirling and Kevin O'Brien at the top of the order. The veteran O'Brien is one of his country's finest ever players but he did not feature in the recent series against South Africa, having retired from ODIs. His final four knocks in the format were two, one, one and nought and the 37-year-old will hope to put that slump behind him.

Key Opta facts
- This will be the first bilateral men's T20I game between Ireland and South Africa. Ireland will be South Africa's 13th opposition in the format, while the Proteas will be their hosts' 24th.
- South Africa have dropped 29 chances since the beginning of 2020 in T20I cricket, the most of all Test playing nations during this time. Ireland have dropped the fewest (five), although they’ve also played the joint fewest such matches of any Test playing nation.
- Ireland have hit a boundary once every 3.7 balls in T20 powerplays since the beginning of 2020, the most frequent of any Test playing country in that time.
- De Kock has hit 31 sixes in T20Is since the start of 2020. Only Martin Guptill and Evin Lewis (both 34) have struck more.
- Balbirnie requires 55 more runs to become the fifth Irish batsman to score 1,000 runs in T20Is in just his 40th innings. He is set to surpass Stirling's Ireland best mark of reaching the landmark in 45 knocks.

Shikhar Dhawan led from the front with an unbeaten 86 as India cruised to a seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the first ODI in Colombo.

The hosts headed into the contest on the back of coronavirus-interrupted preparations and ructions behind the scenes between players and the national board, but scrapped their way to a competitive 262-9 despite no player passing 50.

Dhawan - captaining a largely second-string India, given Virat Kohli's Test squad have departed for their Test series in England next month - ensured the tourists reached their target with 80 balls to spare, while debutant Ishan Kishan (59) and Prithvi Shaw (43) also impressed - the latter hitting nine of his 24 deliveries to the boundary.

Avishka Fernando and wicketkeeper Minod Bhanuka put on 49 for the opening wicket before Fernando lobbed Yuzvendra Chahal's (2-52) first delivery to Manish Pandey at short cover to depart for 33.

Leg-spinner Chahal excelled in tandem with slow left-armer Kuldeep Yadav (2-48), who accounted for Bhanuka (27) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa – the number three's breezy 24 from 22 deliveries briefly threatening to change the tempo – to leave Sri Lanka 89-3.

From that point it was a repeated story of useful contributions without anything substantial. New captain Dasun Shanaka and Charith Asalanka diligently compiled 39 and 38 respectively before each falling to swing bowler Deepak Chahar (2-37), while Krunal Pandya's miserly left-arm spin (1-26) snared up the middle overs, leaving Chamika Karunaratne's unbeaten 43 off 35 balls as Sri Lanka's highest score.

Shaw made it clear India would not be shackled in similar fashion as he climbed into Sri Lanka from the off.

 

Isuru Udana's two overs disappeared for 27 – including three successive fours through the covers - and the score was 58 when Fernando caught Shaw at long-on off Dhananjaya de Silva, whose two wickets came at a steep cost of 49 runs in five overs.

Kishan, who enjoyed an unforgettable 23rd birthday, ensured there was little let-up. He danced down the pitch to dispatch Dhananjaya for six first ball, clattering the next for four more through cover point.

The youngster reached a half-century in 33 balls and edged his 42nd behind off Lakshan Sandakan but Dhawan remained as a regal presence, finding further willing allies in Manish Pandey (26) and Suryakumar Yadav (31 not out) to complete a resounding victory.

Shanaka wants more variety from Sri Lanka

The difference between two – in isolation, at least – impressive opening partnerships set the tone for the contest. But the end of the first powerplay, Sri Lanka were 55-1. India were already up to 91-1 after 10 overs. "The Indians batted aggressively," Shanaka said. "We needed to vary the pace as the ball was coming on to the bat nicely. In the next game, we will have to improve on that."

Dhawan laughing as the elder statesman

When you've top-scored as a victorious captain and also surpassed 6,000 career ODI runs, there is perhaps no better time for self-deprecation. Dhawan certainly thought so, claiming he did not have the required shots to reach three figures with an exciting young batting line-up firing all around him.

"I was telling them to take it easy actually," he beamed, before chuckling his way through a post-match presentation where Shaw was named player of the match despite scoring half as many runs as his skipper.

"The way these young boys play in the IPL, they get lots of exposure and they just finished the game in the first 15 overs only. I thought about my hundred but there were not many runs left. When Surya came out to bat, I thought I need to improve my skills."

England's three-pronged spin attack proved to be the difference as the hosts squared the T20I series against Pakistan at Headingley with a 45-run win.

Jos Buttler returned to skipper England as captain Eoin Morgan sat out and he top scored with a stunning 59 from 39 deliveries at the top of the order.

Moeen Ali (36) and Liam Livingstone (38) supplied explosive middle-order contributions, but England lost wickets frequently and there was a suspicion their 200 all out in 19.5 was a touch shy of what was required in perfect batting conditions in a sweltering Leeds.

But a Pakistan batting line-up that posted 232-6 in a 31-run win at Trent Bridge on Friday were effectively shackled by leg-spinners Adil Rashid (2-30) and Matt Parkinson (1-25) and Moeen's off-spin (2-32), with paceman Saqib Mahmood the pick of the attack thanks to 3-33 that began with the vital wicket of visiting captain Babar Azam (22).

Jason Roy set the tone for England's innings with a huge six and a four off slow left-armer Imad Wasim (2-37) before holing out within the first over.

Dawid Malan scratched around for one off five deliveries – top-edging a sweep off Imad to be caught by Azam Khan – although there were no such problems for Moeen in his blistering 16-ball stay, nor Livingstone, who followed up his incredible century in Nottingham by bludgeoning two fours and three sixes. One of those remarkably cleared the grandstand at the Football Ground End.

Buttler was in typically sublime touch through extra cover and only fell to Mohammad Hasnain (3-51) with a thunderous hit straight to Babar at mid-off.

Jonny Bairstow, Tom Curran and Chris Jordan came and went without being able to produce anything of similar substance and the sense England had been slightly wasteful was heightened as Babar and Mohammad Rizwan (37) added 50 for the first wicket.

Babar skewed a cross-seam delivery from Mahmood to a diving Malan and, as Rashid and Parkinson got into their work, Pakistan were unable to regain their momentum.

A fine return catch from Rashid accounted for Rizwan, while Moeen had Mohammad Hafeez caught behind for 10 and bowled Fakhar Zaman with a beauty to scoop the player of the match award.

England captain Joe Root brought a commendable act of sportsmanship to one of English sport's oldest rivalries on Saturday – although plenty of Yorkshire fans might feel he let Lancashire all-rounder Steven Croft off lightly.

Chasing a meagre 128-7 to win in the T20 Blast Roses match at Old Trafford – Root having top scored with 32 for the visitors – Lancashire slumped to 64-5 in the eighth over.

Croft (26 not out) and Luke Wells (30) embarked upon a rebuilding job that left Dane Villas' side needing 18 from 15 deliveries, at which point Croft collapsed to the ground mid-pitch when trying to run quick single.

The batsman howled in pain and, under instruction from stand-in captain Root, Yorkshire opted not to run him out. After treatment for cramp, Croft was still in the middle when Danny Lamb hit the winning runs and Lancashire secured a quarter-final berth by four wickets.

"As a side we made a very difficult decision under pressure," Root said, as quoted by ESPNCricinfo.

"It looked very serious at first glance. In many ways it was a relief it was nothing serious. I am sure there will be many different opinions. Many people would have handled it differently."

Afterwards, Croft paid tribute to the England skipper and his team-mates, suggesting he'd have been able to have few complaints had he been run out.

"Two games in two days at 36 and a bit of sun has done me," he told Sky Sports. "I put the brakes on, they worked, and my legs just cramped up.

"I didn't know where the ball had gone. They could have taken the bails off and credit to them that they didn't."

West Indies Women’s team captain Stafanie Taylor is already considering a future beyond cricket and has hinted she could be tempted to put up her bat sooner rather than later.

The 30-year-old Taylor has been the most dominant force in West Indies cricket for over a decade.  In a 13-year career, the player has racked up some impressive stats. 

She is third overall on the all-time One Day International runs scoring list with 4908, behind Charlotte Edwards (5992) and Mithali Raj (7304).  In terms of ODI wickets taken she ranks 9th, the second West Indian in a top 10 that also includes teammate Anisa Mohammed.  In terms of T20 runs scored, Taylor has 3121 a figure that is surpassed by only New Zealand’s Suzie Bates.  The West Indian is, however, younger than those ahead of her, in the case of Edwards, by 11 years and the case of Raj by 8.  It’s not even a stretch to imagine the player eventually topping both lists.  She, however, may simply not play that long.

“The youngsters are good to watch. I’m currently here watching them in a series against Pakistan A and they are very vibrant, they seem to really enjoy what they are doing,” Taylor told SportsMax.tv’s InCaseYouMissedIT when quizzed about the future of West Indies cricket.

“It’s important for us too because when I look at myself, I’ll probably retire soon, and you want to know that you are leaving West Indies cricket in good hands.  These girls are the future.”

(Catch this week's episode below)

A second-string India side will start their ODI series in Sri Lanka as favourites, with the hosts heading into Sunday's opener in Colombo against a backdrop of multi-faceted chaos.

The start of the series was delayed by five days due to a coronavirus outbreak in the Sri Lanka camp, with batting coach Grant Flower and team data analyst GT Niroshan testing positive for the Delta variant.

Sri Lanka's squad were allowed to leave isolation and resume their preparations last weekend after returning negative PCR tests.

ESPNcricinfo reported team doctors believed Flower and Niroshan's infections stemmed from the recent tour of England, where the home team suffered a breach of their bio-secure bubble that forced them to name a reserve line-up for their subsequent ODI games against Pakistan.

Although Sri Lanka do not find themselves in quite such a selection bind, they remain without deposed captain Kusal Perera due to a shoulder injury and Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Mendis and Danushka Gunathilaka remain suspended for breaking COVID-19 protocols during the England tour.

Dasun Shanaka will skipper the team, a previously bit-part white ball player having ascended to the role amid a stand-off between Sri Lanka's players and their board over playing contracts.

They will emerge from a troubled period to take on an India side captained by opener Shikhar Dhawan and with pace bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar second in command.

India batting great Rahul Dravid has been named as coach for the tour, with the first-choice side awaiting their forthcoming series in England.

Batsmen Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Nitish Rana, all-rounder K Gowtham and left-arm seamer Chetan Sakariya have all been handed maiden call-ups.

 

Bhuvi ready to put injury woes to one side

Kumar will be the leader of fast bowling unit also featuring Sakariya, Navdeep Saini and Deepak Chahar. Having been beset by injury problems over recent years, he was back to his best in the March limited-overs series against England. In the ODIs, he took six wickets at a miserly economy rate of 4.65.

Shanaka must show leadership class

Irrespective of how and why Shanaka became Sri Lanka captain, he is now the man in possession of a role that tends not to promise longevity for incumbents. He will need to improve upon 611 runs and 10 wickets from his 28 ODI appearances to date to turn some unhelpful conversations around.

Key Opta facts

- India are undefeated in their past 11 ODI series against Sri Lanka (W9, D2). Their previous defeat was a 3-0 reverse way back in 1997.
- India have won each of eight most recent ODIs in Sri Lanka, all versus the host country. It is a streak that began after a nine-wicket loss in 2012.
- Sri Lanka have at least won their past five ODIs at the R. Premadasa Stadium. The last time they enjoyed a longer winning run at the venue in this format was a six-match span from December 2001 to September 2002.
- Dhawan will become the 25th player to captain India in ODIs. He requires 23 more runs to become the 10th Indian player to register 6,000 runs in 50-over internationals.

Evin Lewis blasted nine sixes and the West Indies to a 16-run victory to complete a 4-1 T20I series triumph over Australia in St Lucia on Friday.

Batting at the top of the order, Lewis smashed 79 from 34 balls, including four fours and nine sixes to get the West Indies off to a flying start after captain Nicholas Pooran won the toss.

Lewis fell at 124-3 at the end of the 11th over, before Andrew Tye took three late wickets while Mitch Marsh impressed again with 12-2.

Pooran (31 from 18) and Chris Gayle (21 from seven) contributed as the West Indies amassed an imposing 199-8, although Australia started brightly in reply led by Marsh.

Marsh came to the crease after opener Josh Philippe fell for one, hitting five fours and one six, before falling off Andre Russell's first ball for 30 from 15 deliveries.

A visibly limping Aaron Finch was spectacularly caught by Fabian Allen with a diving left-hand effort for 34 from 23 off the impressive Hayden Walsh who took the most wickets in the series.

Wickets continued to fall with regularity as Andre Russell finished with a personal T20I best 43-3.

LEWIS PUSHES WORLD CUP CASE

Lewis was dropped after a duck in the opening T20I, before returning with 31 in Wednesday's dead rubber.

But the 29-year-old Trinidadian showcased his ability with a stunning knock on Friday setting the tone for the hosts.

The left-hander is one of the West Indies' players vying for a spot in their final T20 World Cup squad and did his hopes no harm, in a side missing several key players including Kieron Pollard.

Lewis said post-game: "I basically stayed still and watched the ball on to the bat. It's always good to score runs and contribute to the team to get the victory."

The Trinidadian's only two T20I centuries both came in 2017. He added: "I've been working hard from 2017 to now. Obviously, I want to keep scoring runs and cashing in at all times."

MARSH PROVES SHINING LIGHT

Australia lost the series 4-1 with Marsh their shining light from the five-game T20I series, producing another display of his quality in the shortest format on Friday.

Marsh took 12-2 from two overs and crunched 30 from 15, finishing the series with 219 runs at 43.8 with a strike rate above 150.

The big all-rounder also hit 10 sixes throughout the series, double the next best Australian, while he also hit a team-high 20 fours.

Marsh also chipped with the ball, taking a team-high eight wickets, including 24-3.

Finch said: "I think Mitch Marsh stood out with his first opportunity at number three consistently and the role that he did with the ball."

Stand-in West Indies captain Nicholas Pooran insists he is not very bothered by his form, despite a difficult time at the crease in recent matches.

  The Windies currently lead their five-match T20 series against Australia, 3-1. So far, Pooran has made a total of 65 runs in three innings. He was run out in the first game for just 17 from 16 deliveries and did not bat in game 2.  He had a better game 3 when he scored a responsible 32 not out from 27 deliveries to build a partnership with Chris Gayle that led the Windies to the series victory.

Despite that good performance in the previous game, Pooran was dismissed cheaply once again in game 4. With the West Indies chasing 190 to win, he was caught off the bowling of Mitchell Marsh for just 16 from 15 deliveries.

Pooran’s lack of form has been a concern for many West Indies cricket fans and analysts since the IPL earlier this year. The left-hander, who represents the Punjab Kings, only managed 28 runs from 7 matches before the tournament was halted due to the rising COVID cases in India. He was dismissed for a duck 4 times out of his 6 innings with his highest score being 19.

“I’m not worried about myself to be honest. You know I’m getting starts which is very important. A couple of months ago (during the IPL), I wasn’t even getting starts at all so I’m very thankful, very happy to actually be getting starts. So, I’m not worried about myself in all honesty,” Pooran told members of the media during a press conference on Thursday.

  The West Indies will play the final game of their T20 series against Australia tonight at the Darren Sammy National Stadium in St Lucia. They will then move on to Barbados for a three-match ODI series.   

Janneman Malan and Quinton de Kock both hit centuries as South Africa sealed a 70-run win over Ireland on Friday, tying the ODI series at 1-1.

Ireland enjoyed a famous first ever win over South Africa in international cricket last time out, with captain Andy Balbirnie playing a starring role with a knock of 102.

But they were unable to follow that up by clinching what would have been a maiden series triumph over a top-eight ranked team, as the Proteas this time managed to meet expectations by posting 346-4.

The opening partnership of Malan (177 not out) and De Kock (120) set the tone, with each recording impressive knocks. The latter was returning to action after being rested for the previous outings on the tour.

Ireland eventually ended the stand at 225 in the 37th over when De Kock was dismissed by Simi Singh (1-52), but South Africa piled on 100 runs in the final 10 overs to set a significant total.

Ireland were given a mountain to climb in reply after losing Paul Stirling and Balbirnie inside the first four overs. Andy McBrine also fell in the powerplay, while Harry Tector, George Dockrell and Lorcan Tucker departed in quick succession to suddenly leave the score at 92-6.

South Africa-born all-rounder Curtis Campher made 54 but it was Singh who was the star performer with the bat for the hosts, making a maiden ODI century.

He would end up unbeaten on exactly 100 from 91 deliveries as Ireland were bowled out for 276 at the start of the 48th over. Andile Phehlukwayo and Tabraiz Shamsi both claimed three wickets apiece for the Proteas.

 

Malan's the man

The pressure was on South Africa here after a disappointing showing last time, yet Malan – who was by no means in poor form after hitting 84 last time out – looked in control almost throughout. He had few near-misses en route to the best score of his seven-match international career, this his second ton in the 50-over format.

Singh on song

While Ireland's bowlers gave the batsmen too much work to do, Singh provided some positivity towards the end of the innings – without his efforts, it could have been a particularly ugly defeat. His knock included 14 boundaries, and he managed to reach three figures before running out of partners.

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