Khadijah Shaw got a belated birthday president on Thursday when she scored in Manchester City Women’s 3-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur to secure a place in the final of the WSL Continental Cup where they will face champions, Chelsea.

In the semi-final encounter played at the Academy Stadium Jess Park put City up 1-0 in the 21st minute before Shaw doubled the lead in the 27th after she tapped into an empty net after Caroline Weir’s shot took a deflection following a terrific run from Lauren Hemp.

Shaw, who celebrated her 25th birthday on Monday, January 31, actually had a chance to open the scoring when she surged into the box early in the game but she shot past goalkeeper Rebecca Spencer but wide of the far post.

Hemp sealed the victory in the 71st minute to send City into the final set for March 5.

 

Chris Silverwood has been sacked as England's head coach following their dismal Ashes campaign, it has been confirmed.

An interim replacement will be appointed for the upcoming Test tour of the West Indies, which gets under way in Antigua on March 8. 

Silverwood's exit came a day after managing director of England men's cricket Ashley Giles left his post, with the decisions taken following an ECB review of performances in Australia. 

England succumbed to a 4-0 defeat to their Ashes rivals, with significant questions asked of their selections and batting. 

"During his time in the role, Chris has given absolutely everything to make a success of it. He is a man of great integrity, who players and staff alike have enjoyed working with," said ECB chief executive Tom Harrison. 

"Under Chris, England men's white ball teams have been ranked first and second in the world while he also led the Test team to a number of series wins including away in South Africa and Sri Lanka. 

"He has led the England men's team with great resilience and empathy through an incredibly challenging period for English cricket, and he deserves our sincere thanks and gratitude. 

"In the coming days Andrew Strauss will appoint a caretaker coach for the tour of the West Indies and will then consider the appropriate coaching structures to help England move forwards." 

Silverwood said: "It's been an absolute honour to be England head coach, and I'm extremely proud to have worked alongside our players and staff. I want to thank them all for the hard work and commitment they have given during my time in the role and I wish them all the very best moving forward. 

"The last two years have been very demanding but I have really enjoyed my time with the team and working with Rooty [Joe Root, Test captain] and Morgs [Eoin Morgan, white-ball captain], and I am very proud of this group considering the challenges. 

"I leave with fond memories and I am now looking forward to spending some quality time at home with my family and embracing the next chapter."

Silverwood had been in the role since October 2019, having replaced Cricket World Cup-winning coach Trevor Bayliss.

Chris Silverwood has been sacked as England's head coach following their dismal Ashes campaign, it has been confirmed.

Eddie Jones insists Tom Curry is the perfect choice to lead England into their Six Nations campaign as he compared his new captain to New Zealand great Richie McCaw.

With Owen Farrell and Courtney Lawes ruled out through injury, Curry was named as skipper on Thursday ahead of this weekend's opening clash against Scotland.

At the age of 23, Curry becomes England's youngest captain since 22-year-old Will Carling in 1988, yet the youngster already has 36 senior caps to his name.

Curry also has experience of representing the British and Irish Lions, and England boss Jones is comfortable with his choice to hand the Sale Sharks flanker the armband.

"Captaincy is not about the number of caps, it's about the person who can lead a group of players by example," Jones said at his pre-match news conference.

"There is no better player in our squad than Tom to do that. He reminds me of a young Richie McCaw."

McCaw earned 148 Test caps for New Zealand across a celebrated career that saw him win two World Cups and three World Player of the Year awards.

England begin their quest for a fourth Six Nations title in seven attempts under Jones with a trip to Scotland on Saturday.

The Red Rose have won only one of the past four Calcutta Cup clashes, having previously won eight in a row, which Jones believes makes his side second favourites this week.

"It's all about getting the team on the front foot. That goes in line with how we want to play the game," Jones said.

"We want to go up there and take Scotland on. It's the first time I'm going up there as underdogs and where Scotland are red-hot favourites. They're expected to win.

"Every time the players will look at the crowd, they will feel that expectation. They've got to cope with that. There will be 62,000 fans and they'll be thinking about all the fans watching on TV. They've got to carry that burden. Every game is the same for us.

"We're always expected to win, so it's no different for us. We've had a really good preparation and feel we have enough in our set-piece to get an advantage."

England have included seven players with 10 caps or fewer in their starting XV for the showdown at Murrayfield.

Scotland have gone with a more experienced side, with the headline news being Jonny Gray's return after missing the autumn series through injury.

Stuart Hogg will once again captain the side at full-back, with replacement Ben White the only uncapped player in the squad.

 

Scotland team: Hogg (c); Graham, Harris, Johnson, Van der Merwe; Russell, Price; Sutherland, Turner, Z Fagerson, Gray, Gilchrist, Ritchie, Watson, M Fagerson.

Replacements: McInally, Schoeman, Nel, Skinner, M Bradbury, White, Kinghorn, Tuipulotu.


England team: Steward; Malins, Daly, Slade, Marchant; Smith, Youngs; Genge, Cowan-Dickie, Sinckler, Itoje, Isiekwe, Ludlam, Curry (c), Simmonds.

Replacements: George, Marler, Stuart, Ewels, Dombrandt, Randall, Ford, Nowell.

Ashley Giles has left his position as the managing director of England men's cricket following a shambolic Ashes showing from the Test team. 

England's Ashes campaign was effectively over after just 12 days of cricket in Australia, with some woeful batting and questionable selections coming amid a 4-0 loss. 

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) met this week to review England's performances and Giles, who spent three years in his position, has been dispensed with. 

Head coach Chris Silverwood and batting coach Graeme Thorpe are also under pressure, with ECB chief executive Tom Harrison suggesting that large scale change is needed. 

"I'm extremely grateful to Ashley for his commitment and contribution to England men's cricket over the last three years," Harrison said in a statement. 

"Under his leadership the teams have scored some notable results, most memorably the dramatic victory in the 2019 ICC Men's Cricket World Cup, while dealing with some of the most challenging times English cricket has ever been through. 

"He's highly respected throughout the game and has made a huge contribution to the ECB and England men's cricket. 

"Off the back of a disappointing men's Ashes this winter we must ensure we put in place the conditions across our game to enable our Test team to succeed." 

Giles said: "I'd like to thank everyone for the support they've given me, particularly all the staff and the players, as well as the board for giving me this opportunity. 

"The past couple of years have been incredibly challenging and I'm proud of what we've been able to deliver in the toughest of circumstances. This has undoubtedly protected the future of the game in England and Wales. 

"Despite these challenges, over the past three years, we have become 50-over world champions, the top ranked T20I side in the world, we remain the fourth-ranked Test team and our Under-19s have just reached the World Cup final for the first time in 24 years. I wish all our players and staff great success for the future. 

"I'm now looking forward to spending some time with my family before looking at the next challenge." 

Windies skipper Kieron Pollard had plenty of reasons to strike an unmistakably defiant tone after a hard-fought series win over England at the Kensington Oval on Sunday.

The victory will have gone some way in easing the pressure faced by both the captain and the team itself following an anemic performance at the T20 World Cup and a shock loss to Ireland in its most recent One Day International series.

During the England series, the West Indies were once again put in a negative spotlight as rumours of player victimization, pertaining to fast bowler Odean Smith came to the surface.

A performance against world number one England, albeit an understrength unit, and particularly one where so many players put in exceptional performances, was timely.  The fact did not escape Pollard.

“Every single one in the dressing room, we rallied together through everything.  Every time we won a game there was something negative against us, but we came out and the guys really won it,” Pollard said after briefly opening with his own rendition of a verse from the popular Jamaica dancehall artist.

“Empty vessels make the most noise.  The guys have worked tirelessly, when we came back from Jamaica our heads were down.  We had conversations in the dressing room regarding how we wanted to play the cricket and I think the guys bounced back pretty well,” he added.

“It’s one series but we have been on the losing end of a lot of series and a lot of games and you have to take this one.  The guys needed an opportunity to just free up themselves and enjoy themselves for a couple of games.”

Particularly pleasing for the team would have been the performance of former captain Jason Holder who claimed man of the series following a virtuoso performance just months after being controversially left out of the 15-man T20 World Cup starting team.

It was a special Sunday night at the Kensington Oval in Barbados as the West Indies defeated England by 17 runs in the fifth T20 International to win the Betway series 3-2.

Former West Indies Test and ODI captain Jason Holder was the hero of the day with four wickets in four balls in the final over as the West Indies defended their score of 179-4.

Not surprisingly, Holder was chuffed.

“What a real night last night. I just want to thank each and every fan that came to the stadium yesterday. It was a wonderful feeling seeing everyone back in the stands cheering," he while speaking with the media Monday morning. "Special thank you also to the supporters who travelled all the way from England to support their team. I think both teams played a really good series and it’s good to see the way it ended.”

Holder, who was voted Man-of-the-Series after an excellent return of 15 wickets in five matches, was pleased with the attitude of the team that saw them bounce back from a disappointing 2-1 ODI series defeat to Ireland earlier in January.

“I think it’s been great. After the start we had against Ireland in Jamaica and everybody was really down and deflated, to see the way we bounced back against England, it just shows the character in the dressing room. I think we really pulled together and it’s the first time in a long time it’s felt that close in the dressing room. It’s a great feeling,” he said.

“Hopefully we can continue this and build something special. I think this group has to be the group now, with such young and talented players, to become even closer and get better. I think if we do that, the future of West Indies cricket would be in good hands.”

The West Indies next assignment will be a white-ball tour of India where they will play three ODIs and three T20Is beginning on February 6.

“I think this series is a big series. India, for me, is the best all-round cricket team in the world and they’ve proven that over the last couple of years so to go in their backyard and beat them is not going to be an easy feat but it’s not impossible,” Holder said.

James Bhatti has withdrawn from Scotland's squad for their opening Six Nations match, while Gregor Townsend will also be without Josh Bayliss.

Scotland face England in their first game of the tournament at Murrayfield on Saturday.

However, Bhatti, a loosehead at Glasgow Warriors, has withdrawn from the squad due to injury.

Bayliss, meanwhile, will remain with his club side Bath for further assessment after he suffered a concussion against Leinster in the Champions Cup on January 22.

Scotland's update also confirmed Duhan van der Merwe and Kyle Rowe had joined up with the squad and that Sean Maitland, who was not selected by Townsend but was with the group, has returned to Saracens. 

After hosting England, Scotland face Wales in Cardiff and then welcome France to Murrayfield before taking on Italy. They round off their campaign against Ireland in Dublin on March 19.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) and Apex Group have announced an extended partnership which will see Apex Group become the title sponsor of the three-match Apex Test Series between West Indies and England in March 2022.

Apex Group, a global provider of financial, sustainability and environmental services, will feature prominently on the global television broadcast, as well as prime pitch and wicket branding placements, and the Apex logo will also appear on the breast of the West Indies Test kit for the duration of the Apex Test Series. Apex will be granted access to the West Indies team for marketing activation and content and will deliver several sustainability initiatives involving the participation of West Indies players.

CWI’s and Apex Sustainability Partnership commenced in October 2021, ahead of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup with the Apex brand appearing on the West Indies’ ICC T20 World Cup shirt. Apex is providing sustainability and environmental advisory services over a three-year period as CWI’s Exclusive Sustainability Partner. By providing CWI with annual carbon footprint assessments, Apex will help lead the way in driving sustainability in cricket across the region by supporting CWI in creating an action plan to reduce and offset climate-altering outputs, including international travel.

The Apex Test Series will be played for the newly-minted Richards-Botham Trophy, named in honour of legends Sir Vivian Richards and Lord Ian Botham. The Apex Test Series opens appropriately at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua from March 8-12, followed by the second Apex Test at Kensington Oval, Barbados from March 16-20. The third and final contest will be at the idyllic Grenada National Stadium from March 24-28. All three Apex Test matches are part of the ICC World Test Championship with both West Indies and England vying for points to challenge for qualification for the World Test Championship final in 2023.

“We’re delighted to build on our growing relationship with Apex for the upcoming Apex Test Series, which continues to be the most anticipated and highest-profile international sports event in the Caribbean,” said CWI CEO Johnny Grave.

“With the West Indies versus England Test rivalry dating back nearly one hundred years, this deeper partnership with Apex enables CWI to make cricket more sustainable as we move towards a second century of West Indies cricket and build the next generation of cricketers across the Caribbean.”

Meanwhile, Peter Hughes, Founder and CEO of Apex Group said this is an important partnership for his company.

“Following a challenging two years for sport, we are pleased to be a part of the return of International Test Cricket hosted in the West Indies,” he said.

“This is an important partnership for us, as we look forward to further leveraging the combined global platform Apex Group and the West Indies represent, to raise awareness for driving greater environmental sustainability in the sport; for fans, players and future generations.”

Jason Holder sensationally came up trumps at the end as he took four wickets in succession to help secure the West Indies a 17-run victory over England in the final T20I that sealed a 3-2 series win.

West Indies skipper Kieron Pollard had won the toss and elected to bat, with the hosts posting 179-4, with England falling short in reply, bowled out for 162 in the 20th over with Player of the Match Holder (27-5) decisive with a double hat-trick in the final over.

After an encouraging start, West Indies did suffer a minor wobble as they lost wickets in consecutive overs, with Kyle Mayers (31) and Romario Shepherd (six) falling in the sixth and seventh, giving England a boost.

Brandon King (34) was the next to go as he was caught at the rope, and Nicholas Pooran (21) was dismissed in the 14th over, with West Indies looking solid if unspectacular ahead of the final five overs of their batting innings.

It was then that they really picked up the slack, with Pollard (41 not out) and Rovman Powell (35 not out) accumulating runs at a much greater rate, their fifth-wicket stand of 74 ultimately integral in the grand scheme of things.

The total of 180 certainly did not look unassailable for England and they reached the halfway stage at 86-2 having only lost Jason Roy (eight) and Tom Banton (16), with James Vince in fine form.

The wickets of Moeen Ali (14) and Liam Livingstone (six) followed just a few minutes apart, and while Vince (55) reached his half-century, he too departed in the 14th as a top-edged slog fell short of the boundary from Akeal Hosein (30-4).

The excellent Sam Billings (41) at least got England into a position where they were still alive in the final over, but they could not meet their target of 20 in six balls as Holder's incredible haul clinched the series.

Holder's historic heroics

Having almost looked without hope, England did make things a little tense towards the end – but what a performance from Holder.

Just when West Indies needed the ultimate display of experience, Holder took over in style. His hat-trick was the Windies' first in men's T20Is, and then he went one better. It was a truly memorable end to the series.

Billings deserving of praise

Although he was not England's highest scorer, Billings did play a vital role in keeping them in contention.

His 41 off 28 balls meant England were still in the hunt in the final over. A poorer showing could have seen them fold much earlier – he can leave with his head held high.

Heather Knight and Meg Lanning reflected on a remarkable finish to the only women's Ashes Test as England and Australia were forced to settle for a draw in Canberra.

That had appeared the most likely result heading into the final day's play, with Australia seemingly set to bat out the match and settle for two points – an outcome that forces England to win all three ODIs in order to win back the Ashes.

The same scenario was reached in far more dramatic fashion, however, as Lanning went on the offensive and declared, setting England 257 to win.

The tourists fell 12 agonising runs short in the narrowest draw in a women's Test having also set a fourth-innings record in making 245-9.

But by stumps, England were a little grateful not to have been beaten, as momentum swung back and forth on a chaotic day that saw Australia collect nine wickets in the final session.

Two of those dismissals came particularly late when England seemed set for a stunning success. They required 13 from 15 but lost two wickets for only a single run in a nail-biting finale.

"I'm really pleased with the fact that we got close," captain Knight said. "The psychology changed a little bit, we were giving it a go, and we were suddenly favourites.

"It was probably an opportunity missed, I think we'll reflect on this. But I think we'll look back and think, 'what a game to be involved in'.

"We went toe to toe with the Aussies and we're still in the series, which is the main thing."

Lanning, the Australia skipper, said: "I still don't quite know what happened in that last hour. We declared wanting to take 10 wickets, and England batted extremely well.

"But to fight back like that, I'm very proud of the group, to be able to get back into the game and get pretty close."

England secured a 34-run win over the West Indies in the fourth Betway T20 International at the Kensington Oval today to tie the five-match series 2-2.

West Indies captain Kieron Pollard won the toss and chose to field, and the home side had early success when Jason Holder removed the man who got 73 for England in the last match, Tom Banton, for just four to leave the visitors 8-1.

Jason Roy and James Vince then put on 85 for the second wicket before Roy was dismissed in the 12th over for 52 off 42 balls.

Vince was next to go for 34 in the 13th over to leave the tourists 97-3.

A 65-run fourth-wicket partnership between stand-in captain Moeen Ali and Liam Livingstone then carried the English to 162-4 before Livingstone was dismissed in the 19th over for 16.

Ali produced some brilliant late innings hitting before he was eventually dismissed for 63 off just 28 balls in the last over.

England’s innings eventually ended on 193-6 after their 20 overs.

Jason Holder finished with 3-44 from his four overs for the Windies.

In the chase, openers Brandon King and Kyle Mayers got off to a fast start reaching 64 before Mayers was dismissed in the eighth over for a well-played 40 off 23 balls.

King then fell in the 10th over for 26 to leave the West Indies 69-2.

After 10 overs, the West Indies were 76-2 needing 118 more to win from 60 balls with Nicholas Pooran and Rovman Powell at the crease on four and five, respectively.

Powell was unable to replicate his heroics from the third T20I after being dismissed for five by Adil Rashid in the 11th over.

After two massive sixes, Pooran was the next to go for 22 in the 14th over to leave the West Indies 97-4, needing 97 more runs to win off 39 balls.

Some brilliant hitting from Jason Holder meant that after 16 overs, the West Indies were 133-4, needing 61 off 24 balls to win with Holder on 29 and captain Kieron Pollard on 3.

Holder then went for 36 in the 18th over to leave the Windies 144-5 needing 50 from 16 balls to win.

The target eventually proved to be too much for the West Indies who ended on 159-5 off their 20 overs.

Ali followed up his 63 with 2-28 off four overs to cap off an excellent all-round performance, while Reece Topley continued his good form with the ball in the series with 1-21 off his four overs.

The series decider will take place tomorrow.

 

 

The meeting between representatives of the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) and Cricket West Indies over claims that players in the senior squad are being victimized has been postponed until the end of the ongoing Betway T20 Series against England.

The West Indies lead the series 2-1 with the final two matches scheduled to be played on Saturday and Sunday.

Wayne Lewis, Honorary Secretary at WIPA confirmed to Sportsmax.TV today that WIPA received an email from CWI’s Director of Cricket Jimmy Adams Thursday afternoon informing of the delay to the discussions surrounding the issue that, according to sources, has caused discord within the senior team. He expects the meeting to be held sometime next week.

The matter surfaced earlier this week when allegations were being made that Jamaican all-rounder was being victimized by the team leadership and was eventually dropped for the third match played on Wednesday that the West Indies won by 20 runs. Smith’s replacement Rovman Powell scored his maiden T20 hundred for the West Indies.

Afterwards, Coach Phil Simmons pushed back on assertions that Smith was being victimized. The burly allrounder conceded four runs in the one over he bowled in the second T20 and dropped for the next match. He has also scored useful runs batting at number 10 but according to Phil Simmons, players are selected in the best interest of the team.

“We need to stop this foolishness that we are going on with. We sit here and look at the best team for the day and if Odean was not in the best team for the day it was because we thought Rovman Powell was better suited,” Simmons said afterwards while speaking with the media.

Meanwhile, Cricket West Indies has described the claims as being unsubstantiated and mischievous as it moved to head off any fallout.

In a statement released late Thursday, CWI said it was aware that “voice notes were circulated on social media, and in sections of the regional broadcast media, suggesting that there is a rift within the West Indies Senior Men’s team.

“Contrary to the unsubstantiated statements, containing unfounded and mischievous allegations, CWI is satisfied that there is no discord between the team captain and any member of the West Indies team.”

CWI President Ricky Skerritt indicated that the rumours represent an unwarranted attack on Captain Kieron Pollard.

“I view this as a malicious attack on the credibility of the West Indies captain, designed to sow division within our team that has just recorded three very impressive T20I performances against very strong opponents, including two outstanding wins and one heroic comeback to get within one run of victory,” Skerritt said.

“This clear attempt by well-known mischief makers to discredit the captain and to derail the team’s momentum in the ongoing Betway T20I Series should not be tolerated or encouraged.”

 

The West Indies are in a position to knock off the number one ranked T20 International team in the world, England, with a win in the fourth T20I of their five-match series on Saturday.

After a 20-run victory on Wednesday, the Caribbean side now leads the series 2-1 with the chance to take an unassailable 3-1 lead on Saturday.

West Indies head coach Phil Simmons says that even with a series win in sight, he is focused on how the team is playing.

“Saturday, if we win the game we’ll win the series so yes, I’d be happy, but I’m happier now with the way that the players are taking on board how we want to play going forward,” Simmons said in a press conference today.

With the ICCT20 World Cup a few months away, the emphasis for the former Ireland and Afghanistan head coach is for the two-time champions to have a much-improved performance from the disaster of the 2021 ICC Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup in the UAE where they won only one of their five group matches and crashed out of the tournament.

“Winning as a whole is a great thing for any team so it’s something that we’re happy with, but for me, at this point in time, it’s about building back the team because at the end of the day, October is another T20 World Cup and, especially with our performances in the last one, we want to get back up to where we normally are. I’m looking at the quality of the cricket we’re playing and how we’re improving rather than just a series win,” Simmons said.

The former West Indies player also commented on Rovman Powell’s brilliant maiden T20 hundred.

“I think it was a brilliant innings from the start. The way he assessed the situation at the beginning is something that we’ve been talking about as a group and I’ve been looking forward to someone doing that in a match and he did that. We’re moving in the right direction,” Simmons added.

 

 

 

 

 

West Indies vice-captain, Nicholas Pooran, believes his performance against England was enhanced by a certain clarity of thought regarding what needed to be accomplished for the team.

Rovman Powell may have stolen the headlines with his sensational knock of 107, but Pooran played just as critical a role in providing the backbone that the 20-run win for the West Indies was built on. As a pair, they combined to frustrate the England bowlers after adding 122 runs for the third wicket.

Pooran, who admits he is still working on adapting to batting at the unfamiliar position of three, scored a crucial 70 off 43 balls.

“For me it was simple. The last couple of games, even from Pakistan I got the opportunity to bat at number 3 and I’m trying to figure out how I should bat at number three. Today I just felt like I had to be clear. Today was about being clear and just executing. If I said I wanted to look for a single for example, I looked for a single and picked the gap. I just tried to put the ego away for me it was all about staying in the moment, playing the situations well. Trying to play things as well as I can."

The team was also forced to put in a strong effort in the field as led by 75 from Tom Banton, England made a good effort of chasing the target before falling short at 204 for 9.

"For me the extra 22 runs at the end was key. In saying that England batted well but we knew if we could string a couple good overs together we would have a good chance. It seems like they played more bowlers today, so that was also a big help for us."

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