Veteran West Indies Women’s spinner and vice-captain Anisa Mohammed has hailed the match-changing impact of all-rounder Deandra Dottin on the back of the team’s second straight win at the ICC Women’s World Cup.

By her normal standards, Dottin has had an average start to the tournament with the bat, scoring just 43 in two matches.  An abundance of caution in regard to a recent shoulder injury also means the player has not bowled a lot of overs either.  Despite that, however, Dottin has a knack for showing up when her team needs her.

On Wednesday, with England off to a solid start in pursuit of a below-par West Indies score of 225 for 6, Dottin flew high, at full stretch and with one hand, to pluck a hard cut shot from opener Laura Winfield-Hill out of the sky and give the team a crucial breakthrough.

In the team’s first match, against New Zealand, with the hosts needing just six in the last over Dottin, who had not bowled for the whole match, demanded the ball and promptly took two wickets and effected a run out to secure a dramatic win for the team.

“Deandra is one of the persons that set a high standard for herself in whatever aspect of the game she plays…I think that was a crucial moment in the game,” Mohammed told members of the media.

“Deandra is a game-changer, whether it is with bat or ball or in the field.  It was a spectacular catch and I know we can expect more from Deandra.”

A cracking half-century from Shemaine Campbelle and a decisive late-match spell from experienced spinner Anisa Mohammed propelled the West Indies Women to a narrow 7-run win over England and a second straight win at the ICC Women’s World Cup.

In a game that featured several swings in momentum, England seemed on course for victory after Sophie Ecclestone and Kate Cross combined to put on 61 for the ninth wicket.

In the last three overs, England needed just nine runs for victory and still had two wickets in hand.  In the 48th over Eccelstone went after Mohammed who missed a return catch but inadvertently run out Cross at the non-striker's end.  The experienced Anya Shrubsole was then bowled by the spinner to leave England all out on 218 and set off jubilant celebrations.

In their turn at the crease, the West Indies were off to an excellent start and seemed set for a big target with openers Hayley Matthews (45) and Deandra Dottin (31) putting 81 on the board, with 58 of those runs coming during the opening powerplay.

England spinner Ecclestone, however, was introduced into the attack with great effect and turned the match on its head during an eventful 21st over as the West Indies lost three wickets in five deliveries.

Matthews was the first to go after edging Ecclestone to Anya Shrubsole and Dottin was run out three balls later, courtesy of some excellent fielding from the experienced Danni Wyatt.

The West Indies then lost skipper Stafanie Taylor first ball as Ecclestone gave England the ascendancy, but Campbelle and Chedean Nation (49*) launched a furious fightback with an impressive 123-run stand for the fifth wicket.  

Campbelle eventually fell to Nat Sciver in the penultimate over, but the West Indies had recovered sufficiently from a mid-innings collapse eventually ending with a score of 225 for 6.  Ecclestone ended with figures of 3 for 20.

The win moved the Caribbean team up to second in the table, while England will have plenty of work to do if they are to repeat their 2017 heroics.

 

Jonny Bairstow scored a fine century to lift England on day one of the first Test with West Indies.

Having won the toss and elected to bat in Antigua, it looked like being an all too familiar tale for a frequently fragile England line-up.

The tourists' top order collapsed to leave England 48-4 inside 16 overs, however, Bairstow (109 not out) led the rebuilding effort to ensure they got valuable first-innings runs on the board.

It was his eighth century in the longest format and first against the Windies, his success in surviving the first 10 overs with the second new ball meaning England are well placed to put themselves in an even more favourable position on day two after reaching 268-6 at stumps.

Such a scenario appeared unlikely when Kemar Roach quickly removed debutant Alex Lees (4) and opening partner Zak Crawley (8) was caught behind off Jayden Seales.

England looked in dire straits after Joe Root (13) was caught in two minds and bowled by Roach, with Dan Lawrence failing to build on a start as he went for 20 caught at second slip off Jason Holder.

The foundation for England's response was laid by Bairstow and Ben Stokes (36), who put on 67 before the latter thick-edged Seales on to leg stump, with Ben Foakes then adding 42 in his first Test since last year's tour of India in a sixth-wicket stand of 99.

Foakes was pinned lbw to break that partnership but the wicket of Bairstow, who deviated superbly between attack and defence in facing 216 balls, consistently punishing wide deliveries, proved elusive.

There were shades of the SCG in January as he wildly celebrated a richly deserved century and, with Bairstow and Chris Woakes (24 not out) bringing up a 50 partnership in the final over, England's hopes of gaining a better result than the draw they claimed in Sydney will be increasing.

Bairstow is England's glue once again

Having missed England's fifth Test with Australia in Hobart, Bairstow made it back-to-back hundreds in the longest format by following up his Sydney effort with another shining performance.

Sustained partnerships have been tough to come by for England in recent times, but when they have put them together, Bairstow has often been involved. Indeed, five of the last seven 50 partnerships for England have included Bairstow.

Windies face brick wall

The Windies would have hoped to make inroads with the second new ball in the final overs of the day. They failed to do so. The last 10 overs saw England add 33 runs without loss, and there will surely be concern among the hosts over how they let a seemingly dominant position slip.

West Indies fast bowler, Chinelle Henry, insists the team is determined to take things one game at a time after a dizzying start to the ICC Women's World Cup, which saw them net a thrilling win over hosts New Zealand.

On the back of a fine century from opener Hayley Matthews and crunch-death bowling from all-rounder Deandra Dottin, the team snatched a narrow 3-run win over the Kiwis in their first match. 

The Windies return to action Tuesday, at 5:00 pm, for the first time since that game, and Henry insists they will head into the contest grounded and focused on the task at hand.  England will be looking to get on the board after losing their first encounter against Australia.

“For us, it really is game by game. That first game against New Zealand - Yes, we had discussions with the coaching staff. We had discussions with everybody - but as a team, you know going out there we just had the discussions among ourselves that doesn't matter what happened,” Henry said on Monday.

“We just have - once everybody takes up the responsibility that I am going to do it for the team, then collectively we will just - we all will do it for the team. And I think that's the mentality we have brought into this team going into this World Cup - that if every single player put up their hand and be like, okay, today's my day, then when all 11 players come together collectively, we will and can beat anything.”

A former member of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) has been ordered to play former West Indies cricketer Dinanath Ramnarine US$122,768.85 in damages for a 2016 Facebook post, which was found to be libelous.

Rafi Ali who was president of the Esmeralda Cricket Club and a nominated member of the TTCB made the comments while Ramnarine was a member of the Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago.

In addressing the matter, Master of the High Court Martha Alexander insisted that Ali acted deliberately, jeeringly, and maliciously.  She believed the judgment would “serve to caution any defendant who uses Facebook or any other social media platform to libel and destroy a claimant’s reputation that he will feel the punitive arm of the court acting to deter such behaviour.”

She added that Ali’s Facebook statement was posted to destroy Ramnarine’s reputation.

“And the court must send a message that such reckless abuse of social media platforms must stop.  The defendant before this court will not be allowed to use Facebook to boost his popularity at the claimant’s expense or ‘to sell another man’s reputation for profit.”

The fees amounted to US$114,382 in damages, plus interest and an additional US$8,386 in legal fees.

Tuesday marks the start of the three-Test Apex series between the West Indies and England. The visitors have not won a Test series in the Caribbean since their3-0 triumph in 2004, the same series in which Brian Lara scored a world record 400 not out in the fourth Test at the Antigua Recreation Ground.

In 2019, when the teams last met in the Caribbean, the hosts secured a 2-1 series win and West Indies head coach Phil Simmons wants his team to keep the trend alive.

“We’re looking to play the cricket that we know will put us in a position to win the series. We’re trying to make sure we’re ready for everything England can throw at us,” the Trinidadian head coach said during a pre-match press conference on Monday while indicating that it will critical for the hosts to build strong opening partnerships when they bat.

In that series, Captain Kraigg Brathwaite and John Campbell shared opening stands of 53, 52, 70, 17 not out, 57 and five and they will once again be entrusted with the responsibility.

“The last time we beat England here, the opening pair was Kraigg and John Campbell. Let’s hope that’s a good omen for us because they gave the team some good starts. We’ve been talking about getting a good start and making sure that the top four put things together and not leave it for the middle and lower order,” Simmons said.

“That’s been the focus of our camp leading up to this series. We need batsmen to bat long so the bowlers can have something to work with and I think the camp went well so I expect good things from them.”

The absence of James Anderson and Stuart Broad from the England team has been a big talking point ever since their squad was announced, but Simmons says he is more interested in who they do have.

“We keep harping on no Broad and Anderson but when you don’t have the experience, you have young players who are hungry to make their name and that is something that you have to guard against too. They have quality bowlers who we still have to bat well against,” he said.

Simmons also spoke about the importance of having one specialist spinner in their squad, Veerasammy Permaul.

“Your spinner, at least in the first couple of days, will always play that holding role. Permaul has been bowling really well so, hopefully, by the time we get to the fourth day he will come into play and possibly be a match-winner for us,” Simmons said.

Simmons also mentioned the conditions he expects at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.

“It looks like it’s going to be a good wicket. We’re going to have to work hard for our runs but also work hard for our wickets,” he said.

At the conclusion of the Test match, the teams move on to the Kensington Oval in Barbados for the second Test set to start on March 16. The final Test is scheduled to be played at the National Cricket Stadium in Grenada beginning on March 24.

 

 

 

 

Cricket icons Sir Vivian Richards and Lord Ian Botham unveiled the new Richards-Botham trophy which will be won by the victors in Test Series between West Indies and England Men’s Team.

The trophy pays tribute to two all-time greats – whose rivalry and friendship embodies the close relationship and mutual respect between the two sides. The unveiling ceremony was held on Sunday at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua ahead of the first Apex Test match which starts on Tuesday, March 8.

The sparkling new trophy symbolizes “Courage. Friendship. Respect” – values that represent the Test cricketing rivalry between West Indies and England, and of two legends who best define them – Sir Vivian Richards and Lord Ian Botham.

It has an ultra-modern design and consists of an upside-down cup, based on a Georgian rummer, with the joining sphere a cricket ball. One end is a rummer for drinking rum and the other a wine/ale goblet. The rummer has palm fronds and the ale cup has willow leaves. The ceremonial idea is that the winning team holding the trophy would have the rummer that represents their team face upward while they held it and it would be ceremoniously turned over when the other team wins.

Test matches between these two rivals date back to 1928 when West Indies made their first trip to England. The teams, under the captaincy of Kraigg Brathwaite and Joe Root, will renew the rivalry with the Apex Test Series.

“It’s a truly special feeling to have the fantastic trophy named in honour of my great friend Ian and myself. We played a lot together and built a great friendship on and off the cricket field,” said Sir Vivian. “As I said earlier, I am truly delighted to know that the game that I have shown my love for all my life is naming such a prestigious award in recognition of what I managed to achieve. It’s a beautiful trophy and I want to again thank everyone who came up with this idea and contributed to its creation."

Botham said he was honoured to have a trophy in his name.

“It’s a great idea and a truly lovely trophy. It really stands out and I’m honoured to have my name on the trophy alongside my friend Sir Viv,” he said.

“The captain who picks up the trophy at the end of the upcoming series will be a happy man.”

Meanwhile, West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite said he was eager to get going on Tuesday in what he expects to be a closely contested series.

“We’re really excited and ready for the upcoming Apex Test Series against England. This is going to be an amazing three weeks of cricket,” Brathwaite said.

“It’s extra special too that we’re playing for the new Richards-Botham trophy, a fitting tribute to these two great men. We want to be the first team to get our hands on it and celebrate with our fans.”

England’s captain Joe Root believes the trophy named in honour of the two greats is a fitting tribute to the rivalry between the two teams.

“Test series between England and West Indies are iconic, and to have a trophy named after arguably the two most outstanding England and West Indies cricketers of all-time in Lord Ian Botham and Sir Vivian Richards is a fitting tribute for this great rivalry. We are enthused about the next month of competition, and we hope to make the England fans proud by lifting the Richards-Botham trophy,” he said.

The Apex Test Series will feature three Test matches. The first at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, the second Apex Test will be played at Kensington Oval, Barbados from March 16-20, with the climax in the third Apex Test at the Grenada National Stadium, Grenada on March 24-28

Australia protected a likely draw in the first Test against Pakistan as the tourists batted out day four in Rawalpindi to close to within 27 runs.

A remarkable collapse from one side or the other is now required on Tuesday to deliver a winner, with the batsmen continuing to dominate in the opener of a three-match series.

Australia resumed 205 back on Pakistan's first innings' 476-4 declared and steadily closed that gap over the course of the day.

Steve Smith spent much of Monday at the crease, albeit he added only 54 more runs to reach 78 from 196 balls.

Indeed, Australia seemed happy to wear out the Pakistan bowlers ahead of a second Test that is likely to have a greater say in the outcome of the series, largely limiting their errors having had eight wickets in hand in their first innings at the start of play.

Marnus Labuschagne (90) put on 108 for the third wicket with Smith but was denied a third Test century against Pakistan by excellent bowling and equally good fielding, caught at slip by Abdullah Shafique off Shaheen Shah Afridi.

Travis Head did not last long in Labuschagne's place, but Cameron Green stuck around and picked up the pace slightly after tea before paying the price for his ambition with a top edge off an attempted sweep to go for 48.

Smith gloved behind attempting a similar shot and Naseem Shah beautifully bowled Alex Carey (19), yet Pakistan's improved bowling late in the day failed to breathe life into the Test.

Green leaves runs out there

Labuschagne was undone by excellent play from Pakistan, but Green really had only himself to blame, getting too much on his shot from a relatively uncomplicated Nauman Ali delivery and giving Iftikhar Ahmed a simple catch.

As the bowlers toiled on a tough pitch, this was an opportunity missed for Green, who with a little more care could have followed his first fifty in his previous Test against England with a first outside of Australia.

Little to separate sides again

Australia have been away from Pakistan for over 23 years, but you would not know it looking at the outcome of this match. Ten of the previous 17 Tests between the sides in Pakistan have ended in draws – and this match will surely make it 11 in 18.

England seamer Ollie Robinson has been ruled out of the first Test against West Indies at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.

Robinson is struggling with a back spasm and has not recovered in time to play in Antigua.

The uncapped Saqib Mahmood has taken Robinson's place in a 12-man squad for the opening game in a three-match series.

Mark Wood had been feeling unwell this week, but the paceman has been included in the squad.

With James Anderson and Stuart Broad overlooked for the tour, the likes of Craig Overton and Mahmood will be determined to make their mark.

The tourists will name their side at the toss on Tuesday as they attempt to restore some pride following a 4-0 Ashes thrashing in Australia.

 

England squad for the first Test:

Joe Root (captain), Jonny Bairstow, Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Alex Lees, Saqib Mahmood, Craig Overton, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

Usman Khawaja was able to put the disappointment of missing out on a Test century against the country of birth into perspective after being dismissed for 97 on day three of the first Test between Pakistan and Australia.

Opener Khawaja was born in Islamabad, less than half an hour's drive from Pindi Cricket Stadium where he shone for Australia on Sunday.

Khawaja appeared on the verge of his 11th century in the longest format as Australia responded superbly to Pakistan's first innings' 476-4 declared.

But impatience perhaps got the better of Khawaja as he contributed to his own downfall, misjudging a reverse sweep and gloving Nauman Ali to Imam-ul-Haq at forward short-leg, with Aleem Dar forced to overturn his original not out decision following a review.

Khawaja's contribution, along with half-centuries from David Warner (68) and Marnus Labuschagne (69 not out), took the tourists to 271-2 – trailing by 205 runs when bad light stopped play.

"It's disappointing," Khawaja said of his failure to reach three figures. "Cricket is a funny game. Three runs – you bat so well for 97 and then you get out. You don't get a hundred, you come back in the changing room and it probably feels worse than getting a 20 in some respects.

"It's a bizarre feeling. Yeah, I would love to get a hundred out here. Rawalpindi, Islamabad – where I grew up.

"I think it would have brought a lot of joy. But at the same time, I think mum, dad, Rachel, my wife, would have loved me being out there.

"I was having a lot of fun. I was enjoying playing. To put it in perspective, I wasn't even in an Australian team a few months ago. So I'm very grateful to be here. I'm happy that I contributed to the team."

Khawaja made his return to the Australia side for the first time since 2019 for the fourth Test of the Ashes in January and scored a century in each innings in a man-of-the-match performance.

And after backing up that display with another of high quality and some fortune – twice Pakistan dropped potential catches of Khawaja – he added: "I felt really good today.

"I felt mentally in a really good spot coming into it, I guess. Probably because I've been out of the system. I've been out of Cricket Australia for two years. And now it's not the be-all and end-all anymore.

"I've been in and out of the team so much. I've been dropped. It doesn't matter. I just play the way I want to play. I just think of it as if I'm playing club cricket or Shield cricket back home. And that's how I take it for Australia now.

"Obviously, I'm a Muslim. I believe in God. I trust what happens. Good or bad, you have to take it equally. A lot of good things have happened in my life. Sometimes you want certain things to go a certain way and they don't happen. I think you just have to accept that and move on, and take the good with the bad. I'm very grateful."

Defending champions Chennai Super Kings will face Kolkata Knight Riders in the opening game of the 2022 Indian Premier League.

KKR will be out for revenge at the Wankhede Stadium on March 26 after the Super Kings won the 2021 final by 27 runs in Dubai last October.

There will be a first double-header in the 15th edition of the tournament the following day, when Delhi Capital take on Mumbai Indians at Brabourne before Punjab Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore do battle at the DY Patil Stadium.

New franchises Gujarat Titans and Lucknow Super Giants meet in their first IPL match at Wankhede Stadium on March 28.

Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals contest the first game at the MCA Stadium in Pune on March 29.

There will be 70 matches in the regular season following by four play-off showdowns in a tournament that will be staged over 65 days, with the final taking place on May 29.

Ravindra Jadeja fed off the "positive vibes" at his "lucky ground" to star with bat and ball in India's crushing victory over Sri Lanka in the first Test.

India hammered the tourists at the PCA Stadium, wrapping up their fifth-biggest win in the longest format by an innings and 222 runs on day three.

Jadeja was outstanding in Mohali, making a Test-best 175 not out in India's 574-8 declared before tormenting Sri Lanka with his left-arm spin.

The all-rounder took 5-41 and 4-46 as Dimuth Karunaratne's side were bowled out for 174 and 178 in their first and second innings respectively on Sunday.

Jadeja's exploits earned him a third man-of-the-match award at a venue that has been such a happy hunting ground for him.

"This is my lucky ground," he said. "Whenever I come here, I always get positive vibes.

"When you perform like this, you feel very confident. I haven't done anything differently with my batting, just backing my instincts. I try to settle down and after that I play my shots. I try to keep it simple."

Rohit Sharma did not envisage India making such light work of winning his first Test as captain.

He said "It was a good start. I never thought it was going to be that kind of Test that gets over in three days. It was a good batting wicket with help for spinners and seamers.

"Credit to our bowlers who bowled in tandem and applied pressure. We knew it is a fast outfield and runs would be easier to come if you dig in. We were just waiting for an odd one to bounce differently and their batters to make mistakes."

Ravichandran Ashwin took 4-47 in the second innings to move second on the list of India's leading Test wicket-takers with 436 ahead of the great Kapil Dev.

It was the perfect response to India's series defeat in South Africa and a fitting way to mark former skipper Virat Kohli's 100th Test.

Rohit added: "Good signs for Indian cricket, a lot of performances and a landmark Test for Virat. We wanted to first win the game and such individual performances were heartening to see.

"It was the team's decision and Jadeja's decision on the declaration. It shows how selfless he is."

Usman Khawaja fell three runs shy of a century as Australia produced a superb top-order performance on day three of the first Test against Pakistan.

Responding to Pakistan's first innings' 476-4 declared and resuming on five without loss, Khawaja's 97, along with half-centuries from David Warner (68) and Marnus Labuschagne (69 not out), took the tourists to 271-2 - trailing by 205 runs when bad light stopped play.

It means Australia, playing with heavy hearts following the sudden passing of legendary leg-spinner Shane Warne on Friday, are in an excellent position to at least claim a draw.

The Islamabad-born Khawaja and Warner laid the foundations, combining for a stand of 156, the second-highest opening partnership in Test history in Rawalpindi.

Both Khawaja and Warner played in attacking fashion, the former's half-century coming off just 67 balls. Warner's came in 86, but he was undone when he attempted to go square through the off side and missed a Sajid Khan delivery that careered into middle stump.

His exit did not open the floodgates as Pakistan might have hoped, but they did at least prevent Khawaja from recording an 11th Test hundred.

Khawaja contributed to his own downfall as he got a reverse sweep all wrong, gloving Nauman Ali to Imam-ul-Haq at foward short-leg, with Aleem Dar forced to overturn his original not out decision following a review.

Yet, with Labuschange and Steve Smith (24 not out) surviving until the fading light forced the players off, Australia have two batters who are among the most difficult in world cricket to dislodge set at the crease, a sign that is, for Pakistan, as ominous as the gloom that stopped proceedings.

Khawaja and Warner narrowly miss out on history

Only Mark Taylor and Michael Slater (176) have linked up for a higher first-wicket stand than Khawaja and Warner in Rawalpindi, that duo excelling in October 1994 in a match that ultimately ended in a draw. The same result looks likely again here after Khawaja and Warner narrowly missed out on surpassing their compatriots.

Labuschagne to let loose?

Pakistan will have painful memories of their previous two encounters against Labuschagne, which saw him score 185 at Brisbane and then 162 at Adelaide in 2019. He looks in the kind of form to deliver another massive score.

Ravindra Jadeja's remarkable performance in the first Test against Sri Lanka moved to another level on day three as India swiftly wrapped up their fifth-biggest win in the format.

India had led by 466 runs at the close of play on the second day, with Jadeja scoring an unbeaten 175 as the hosts declared on 574-8.

And Sri Lanka never threatened to make the all-rounder bat again – chiefly due to his brilliance with the ball.

The tourists, resuming on 108-4, were all out for 174 and forced to follow-on as Jadeja took 5-41.

An inspired Jadeja then claimed 4-46 in Sri Lanka's second innings, which concluded on 178 in the third session – India's victory by an innings and 222 runs illustrating the gulf between the teams.

Jadeja had already removed Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne on day two and soon accounted for Niroshan Dickwella, Suranga Lakmal, Vishwa Fernando and Lahiru Kumara in a sublime spell.

Pathum Nissanka made 61 not out as his team-mates departed one by one.

And there was precious little improvement when Sri Lanka returned to the crease for their second innings, with Dickwella this time the man lacking support as he made an unbeaten 51.

There was no 10-wicket haul for Jadeja, as Ravichandran Ashwin (4-47) took the final wicket of Kumara with Sri Lanka all out in 60 overs.

Jadeja just too good with bat and ball

Having scored the highest total by an Indian number seven and then snared an early wicket, Jadeja must have thought day two was just about as good as it was going to get. He was wrong.

Jadeja took eight of the 16 wickets on Sunday, with four of them going for ducks to secure sensational match figures of 9-87.

Ashwin achievement overshadowed

Such was Jadeja's dominance, there was little chance of him sharing the spotlight. But this was a special day for Ashwin, too, even before his dismissal of Kumara clinched victory.

His previous wicket, of Charith Asalanka for 20, was his 435th in Test cricket, taking him clear of Kapil Dev into second on India's all-time list. Only Anil Kumble (619) is ahead of Ashwin.

Shane Warne will have a state funeral, Victoria premier Dan Andrews has confirmed.

The Australia great died this week at the age of 52, having been found unresponsive at his villa in Thailand on Friday.

Tributes have poured in for legendary spinner Warne, who took 708 Test wickets across a 15-year career – second only to Muttiah Muralitharan.

Flowers, beer and photographs have been left at Warne's statue at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, which is to have a stand renamed in his honour, Andrews had already announced.

And further appreciation will now follow at a state funeral, which was offered by Andrews to Warne's family.

"I've spoken with the Warne family again today and they have accepted my offer of a State Funeral to remember Shane," the premier posted on his Twitter page.

"It will be an opportunity for Victorians to pay tribute to his contribution to his sport, to our state and the country.

"Details will be finalised in coming days."

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