Captain Nicholas Pooran and Andre Fletcher both hit fifties to help the MI Emirates defeat the Dubai Capitals by 45 runs in the final of the IL T20 on Saturday.

After being put in to bat by the Capitals at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, MI piled up an intimidating 208-3 from their 20 overs.

Pooran, batting at number four, led the way with a 27-ball 57* including two fours and six sixes while Fletcher, who batted at three, provided excellent support with 53 off 37 balls including three fours and four sixes.

Openers Muhammad Waseem and Kusal Perera each had good contributions as well making 43 and 38, respectively.

Left-arm wrist spinner Zahir Khan was the Capitals best bowler on the day with 1-21 from his four overs.

The Capitals were then never able to recover from losing in form opener Leus du Plooy off just the second ball of the chase when he was trapped in front by Akeal Hosein.

Captain Sam Billings and Tom Banton tried their best with 40 and 35, respectively, but it proved to not be enough as Dubai were eventually restricted to 163-7 from their 20 overs.

Jason Holder made 24 while Rovman Powell made just eight.

Trent boult was excellent with the ball taking 2-20 from four overs while Vijayakanth Viyaskanth took 2-24 from his four overs.

Pooran was adjudged player of the match while Capitals all-rounder Sikandar Raza was named player of the tournament.

Full Scores: MI Emirates 208-3 off 20 overs (Nicholas Pooran 57*, Andre Fletcher 53, Muhammad Waseem 43, Kusal Perera 38)

Dubai Capitals 163-7 off 20 overs (Sam Billings 40, Tom Banton 35, Trent Boult 2-20, Vijayakanth Viyaskanth 2-24)

Despite Andre Russell's scintillating 17-ball 46, the Abu Dhabi Knight Riders faced an unfortunate eight-wicket defeat in the International League T20 in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Russell's explosive performance saw him smashing six sixes, propelling the Abu Dhabi Knight Riders to a challenging total of 188-5 in their allotted 20 overs.

The powerful Jamaican all-rounder, known for his aggressive batting style, showcased his prowess and took ADKR to a competitive position after contributions from Matthew Pepper (38), Alishan Sharafu (37), and Sam Hain (40). However, the bowler Fazalhaq Farooqi emerged as a formidable obstacle, restricting the scoring with a solid 3-35 in his four-over spell.

Despite Russell's heroics with the bat, his bowling performance was in stark contrast. Conceding 33 runs in the three overs he bowled, Russell found himself unable to contain the MI Emirates' batting onslaught.

MI Emirates, with their eye on the chase, approached the target with determination and skill. Kusal Perera led the charge, racing to a blistering 54 from just 26 balls, while Nicholas Pooran added a quick-fire 33 from 19 balls. However, the standout performance came from Muhammad Waseem, whose remarkable knock of 89 from 62 balls propelled MI Emirates to a comprehensive victory.

The MI Emirates' batsmen displayed remarkable control and execution, ensuring that they reached the target with six balls to spare. The win also extended their lead atop the league table, moving to eight points.

They are four clear of Dubai Capitals, Gulf Giants and ADKR who each have four points.

 

The Nicholas Pooran-captained MI Emirates on the back of a superb bowling spell from Akeal Hosein, registered their third win on the trot, as they slammed Sharjah Warriors by 106 runs in a lopsided International League Twenty20 (ILT20) encounter at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Friday.

After being sent to bat, MI Emirates led by top scores of 42 by Andre Fletcher and Kusal Perera respectively, and 37 from Pooran, posted 180-7 from their allotment, before Hosein bowled with skill and accuracy to grab 4-23 in restricting the Warriors to a paltry 74.

Scores: MI Emirates 180-7 (20 overs); Sharjah Warriors 74 all out (12.1 overs)

Hosein first accounted for fellow West Indian Johnson Charles (one), who for the first time since the start of the tournament, failed to get in on the runs. The Trinidad and Tobago left-arm spinner then snared another three wickets -Joe Denly (six), Basil Hameed (zero) and Daniel Sams (zero) -in the eighth over.

In fact, Hosein thought he had a fourth in the over and, by extension, the first hat-trick in ILT20 history when he had Englishman Chris Woakes adjudged leg-before-wicket. However, the decision was later overturned on review, as the ball pitched outside the leg stump.

New Zealander Martin Guptill (17), Sri Lanka's wicketkeeper/batsman Niroshan Dickwella (22) and England's Lewis Gregory (10), offered minimal resistance in the Warriors dismal innings.

Earlier, 'Spiceman' Fletcher and Sri Lankan Perera put together a 92 second-wicket stand that was the foundation of the MI Emirates innings. Fletcher slammed four fours and two sixes in his 31-ball 42, while Perera had three fours and three sixes in his 25-ball 42.

Pooran chipped in with a 37 off 29 balls, which includes a solitary four and two sixes, with Australian Tim David being the next best scorer with a 16-ball 20. 

Pakistani Muhammad Jawadullah was the pick of the Warriors bowling with 3-31 from his over overs.

With the win, MI Emirates remain atop the standing on six points, the Warriors are fifth on two points.

Nicholas Pooran produced another captain’s knock that spurred his MI Emirates team to a second-consecutive victory, as they hammered Andre Russell’s Abu Dhabi Knight Riders by nine wickets in International League Twenty20 (ILT20) action on Tuesday.

Chasing a meagre 96, Pooran laced an unbeaten 16-ball 39, including one four and five sixes, as MI Emirates comfortably go to their target in a mere 8.1 overs. The aggressive left-hand batsman, who scored a half-century in his team’s first win over the weekend, starred in an unbroken 54-run second wicket partnership with Pakistani Muhammad Waseem.

Waseem was also unbeaten on 26 off 20 balls, after he earlier partnered with Kusal Perera (22) in a 42-run opening stand that laid the platform for the successful chase.

Scores: Abu Dhabi Knight Riders 95 all out (14.1 overs); MI Emirates 96-1 (8.1 overs)

Earlier, New Zealand seamer Trent Boult (3-14), UAE’s Muhammad Rohid (3-25) and West Indian spinner Akeal Hosein (2-21) ran amok through Abu Dhabi Knight Riders' innings in which Russell was one of only two batsmen to get into double figures.

The explosive Russell, marched to the middle in the seventh over with Abu Dhabi Knight Riders reeling at 22-5, and restored a bit of parity with a 25-ball 48, but the damage was already done. His counter-attacking innings included three fours and four sixes, with opener Alishan Sharafu (10) the other batsman in double figure.

With the win, MI Emirates assumed pole position on the standings with four points from three games, while Knight Riders are in fifth position on two points with a win and a loss.

Nicholas Pooran and West Indies Women’s ODI and T20I Captain Hayley Matthews were the only West Indians selected as the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Tuesday completed announcements of the five ICC Teams of the Year across formats for men and women as part of the ICC Awards 2023.

Pooran and Matthews were named in the ICC Men’s and Women’s T20I Teams of the Year.

The announcement of the five teams - the ICC Men’s and Women’s T20I Teams of the Year, the ICC Men’s and Women’s ODI Teams of the Year and the ICC Men’s Test Team of the Year – were made in a staggered manner over Monday and Tuesday and feature players from 11 teams selected on the basis of international performances through the calendar year.

Teams were identified from selections submitted by the specialist panel of media representatives that make up the ICC Voting Academy. The esteemed panel made their selections based on player performances during the calendar year, nominating their playing eleven to include a captain and a wicketkeeper.

The ICC Awards 2023 announcements will continue Wednesday and Thursday, when 13 individual award winners will be declared.

ICC Men’s Test Team of the Year:

  1. Usman Khawaja (Aus)
  2. Dimuth Karunaratne (SL)
  3. Kane Williamson (NZ)
  4. Joe Root (Eng)
  5. Travis Head (Aus)
  6. Ravindra Jadeja (Ind)
  7. Alex Carey (WK, Aus)
  8. Pat Cummins (Capt, Aus)
  9. R Ashwin (Ind)
  10. Mitchell Starc (Aus)
  11. Stuart Broad (Eng)

Pat Cummins has been named as the captain of the ICC Men’s Test Team of the Year after leading his side to the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) title and finishing the year with 42 wickets at an average of 27.50 with three five-wicket hauls.

His fellow fast bowler Mitchell Starc has also been picked, as have been three other Australians, making them the most represented nation in the Test team. Opener Usman Khawaja, the only player to pass 1,000 Test runs in 2023 walks into the Test side for a second successive year with 1,210 runs at an average of 52.60 and three centuries. Travis Head, Player of the Match in the WTC Final, and wicketkeeper Alex Carey are the other Australia players named in the team.

India spinner R Ashwin, the No. 1 bowler in the ICC Men’s Test Player Rankings, and former England captain Joe Root, who are in the running for the ICC Men’s Test Player of the Year award along with Khawaja and Head, are also in the team. England and India have two players each with the selection of Ravindra Jadeja and Stuart Broad.

Sri Lanka opener Dimuth Karunaratne partners Khawaja atop the order, with New Zealand star Kane Williamson claiming the number three batting spot, as five international teams have representation in the Test team.

ICC Women’s ODI Team of the Year:

  1. Phoebe Litchfield (Aus)
  2. Chamari Athapaththu (Capt, SL)
  3. Ellyse Perry (Aus)
  4. Amelia Kerr (NZ)
  5. Beth Mooney (WK, Aus)
  6. Nat Sciver-Brunt (Eng)
  7. Ash Gardner (Aus)
  8. Annabel Sutherland (Aus)
  9. Nadine de Klerk (SA)
  10. Lea Tahuhu (NZ)
  11. Nahida Akter (Ban)

The Australian dominance in Women’s ODI cricket is reflected in the team with five players featuring in it including rookie Phoebe Litchfield. Not having played an ODI before 2023, the 20-year-old opener made a huge impact in her first 13 matches, scoring 485 runs at an average of 53.88 and a strike rate of 81.92. She is a strong contender for the ICC Emerging Women’s Player of the Year award.

Ellyse Perry and wicketkeeper-batter Beth Mooney make the team after scoring over 400 runs each during the calendar year while Ash Gardner and Annabel Sutherland make it on the strength of performances with both bat and ball.

Left-handed opener Chamari Athapaththu, for long the batting mainstay for Sri Lanka, has been named captain of the side after scoring 415 runs in just eight matches at an average of 69.16 and a strike-rate of 125.37. Nat Sciver Brunt’s batting average of 131 in six matches earns her the number six slot.

New Zealand are the only other side apart from Australia to have more than one player in the Women’s ODI team as all-rounder Amelia Kerr and fast bowler Lea Tahuhu have both made it. All-rounder Nadine de Klerk of South Africa and Bangladesh’s left-arm spinner Nahida Akter complete the team.

Men’s ODI Team of the Year: 

  1. Rohit Sharma (Capt, Ind)
  2. Shubman Gill (Ind)
  3. Travis Head (Aus)
  4. Virat Kohli (Ind)
  5. Daryl Mitchell (NZ)
  6. Heinrich Klaasen (WK, SA)
  7. Marco Jansen (SA)
  8. Adam Zampa (Aus)
  9. Mohammed Siraj (Ind)
  10. Kuldeep Yadav (Ind)
  11. Mohammed Shami (Ind)

Top-ranked ODI side India had a superb run last year and won all their matches in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup before losing to Australia in the final. Their consistency is reflected in the selection of six players in the ICC Men’s ODI Team of the Year including both openers and a pair of fast bowlers.

The top three ODI run accumulators in 2023 – Shubman Gill (1,584 runs), Virat Kohli (1,377) and Rohit Sharma (1,255), who are currently ranked from second to fourth in the batting rankings - have been picked for three of the top four batting positions.

Head, who was named Player of the Match for a 120-ball 137 in the World Cup final in Ahmedabad, gets the number three position while New Zealand’s Daryl Mitchell is the number five batter. South Africa wicketkeeper Heinrich Klaasen is selected after notching 927 runs and accounting for 20 dismissals.

Wrist spinners Adam Zampa of Australia and Kuldeep Yadav of India have been named along with a seam attack that consists of Mohammad Shami (43 wickets in 2023) and Mohammad Siraj (44 wickets) of India and all-rounder Marco Jansen of South Africa.

Women’s T20I Team of the Year: 

  1. Chamari Athapaththu (Capt, SL)
  2. Beth Mooney (WK, Aus)
  3. Laura Wolvaardt (SA)
  4. Hayley Matthews (WI)
  5. Nat Sciver-Brunt (Eng)
  6. Amelia Kerr (NZ)
  7. Ellyse Perry (Aus)
  8. Ash Gardner (Aus)
  9. Deepti Sharma (Ind)
  10. Sophie Ecclestone (Eng)
  11. Megan Schutt (Aus)

Athapaththu has the distinction of being named captain of both the ODI and T20I squads while Mooney, Sciver-Brunt, Amelia Kerr, Ellyse Perry and Ash Gardner are other players to make both women’s squads for the year.

Fourth in the list of batting aggregate with 470 runs at a strike rate of over 130, the Sri Lankan captain also grabbed eight wickets with her off-spin to take the first spot in the team with Mooney named to partner her at the top of the order.

Two more international captains – Hayley Matthews of the West Indies and Laura Wolvaardt of South Africa – also make it after remarkable years. Matthews was the most prolific with 700 runs in 14 matches at a strike rate of 132.32 while also grabbing 19 wickets. Wolvaardt scored 586 runs in 19 matches at a strike rate of 108.51.

Top-ranked Sophie Ecclestone’s 23 wickets in the year and third-ranked Deepti Sharma’s 21 wickets see them clinch the two spinners’ slots while Australia fast bowler Megan Schutt, ranked second, is the fourth Australian in the team, also having 21 scalps to show from last year.

Men’s T20I Team of the Year:

  1. Yashasvi Jaiswal (Ind)
  2. Phil Salt (Eng)
  3. Nicholas Pooran (WK, WI)
  4. Suryakumar Yadav (Capt, Ind)
  5. Mark Chapman (NZ)
  6. Sikandar Raza (Zim)
  7. Alpesh Ramjani (Uga)
  8. Mark Adair (Ire)
  9. Ravi Bishnoi (Ind)
  10. Richard Ngarava (Zim)
  11. Arshdeep Singh (Ind)

Top-ranked India have four players in the Men’s T20I squad with flamboyant batter Suryakumar Yadav named captain. Yadav topped the runs chart with 733 runs in 18 matches at a strike rate of 155.95 to consolidate his position at the top of the rankings.

The next three in the list of run scorers the past year – Mark Chapman of New Zealand (576 runs), Zimbabwe star Sikandar Raza (515) and upcoming India batter Yashasvi Jaisal (430) – were automatic choices while Phil Salt of England and Nicholas Pooran of the West Indies too had enough to stake claims.

Uganda’s Alpesh Ramjani became the first from his country to be named in an ICC Team of the Year when the left-handed all-rounder made it this year after scoring 449 runs and grabbing 55 wickets with his slow bowling. Ramjani is in contention for the Men’s T20I Cricketer of the Year award as well as being eligible for the ICC Men’s Associate Cricketer of the Year.

Ireland have a representative in Mark Adair as do Zimbabwe in Richard Ngarava. India’s leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi and left-arm seam bowler Arshdeep Singh also make the team on the back of some fine international performances during 2023.

 

 

Late innings fireworks by Nicholas Pooran and Tim David helped the MI Emirates convert a lukewarm start into a comfortable 18-run victory against reigning champions Gulf Giants in the fourth match of the ongoing DP World ILT20 here at Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Moving at a run-a-ball for his first 17 deliveries, Nicholas Pooran smashed three fours and four sixes to score 51 runs in 18 deliveries while Tim David hammered 41 runs in the death overs to set the Gulf Giants a formidable target of 180 runs to win.

In response, the Gulf Giants’ run chase began with a promising start anchored by James Vince’s half century.

Jamie Overton’s 41 off 18 balls studded with five sixes gave his team a much-needed injection, however a clinical performance by the MI Emirates’ bowling unit led by Fazalhaq Farooqi, restricted the Giants to 161 for 9. Farooqi was the pick of the bowling with figures of 4 for 25.

Elated by his team's victory the winning captain, Nicholas Pooran said, “We were ready with the result, and happy that the guys responded to the challenge. With wickets in hand, you can always go big in the last 5-6 overs.”

Meanwhile Player of the Match, Tim David expressed his delight in contributing to the team’s victory, he said, “It is nice to make any contribution for the side. The boys laid the platform, and I just took it on. It's about finding a method that is going to work for you in that game, take that risk and see what happens.”

Skipper of the Gulf Giants, James Vince, conceded that his side could have come up with a better effort but highlighted his enthusiasm for the upcoming games.

“We never quite got ahead in the game, their finish with the bat was superb. I think we got bogged down before I got out and that was a key moment in the game. We will have a quick debrief ahead of the next game and see where we can improve” he lamented.

Pooran's explosive fifty and Tim David's power-hitting propel MI Emirates

Electing to bowl first, the Gulf Giants enjoyed an early breakthrough when Dominic Drakes dismissed Will Smeed for just one run in the second over. Despite a challenging start against the swing and bounce, Muhammad Waseem and Andre Fletcher managed to push the MI Emirates to 41 for 1 by the end of the powerplay, with Waseem hitting two consecutive sixes. However, Waseem fell to Mujeeb Ur Rahman in the following over for only 19 runs.

Nicholas Pooran joined Andre Fletcher in a labored partnership, adding 22 runs in the middle overs. Fletcher departed for 28 runs, and then Ambati Rayudu and Pooran launched a fierce assault on the Giants' bowling, forging a 69-run partnership in just 32 deliveries. Pooran reached his half-century in 27 balls, while Rayudu contributed a quick 25 runs. However, Chris Jordan's pivotal 18th over saw the dismissal of both Pooran and Rayudu, halting the attack.

In the death overs, Tim David played a blitzkrieg of two fours and fives sixes to score 41 runs in 15 balls and catapult the MI Emirates to a formidable total of 179 for five in 20 overs.

James Vince and James Overton exploits diminished by Fazalhaq Farooqi

Tasked with chasing at nine runs per over, the Gulf Giants had an explosive start spearheaded by captain James Vince, who struck boundaries at will. At the end of five overs, the Giants were powering through with 48 runs for no loss. In the final over of the powerplay, Fazalhaq Farooqi’s potent bowling earned him the wickets of Jamie Smith and Jordan Cox in consecutive deliveries. UAE’s Usman Khan joined James Vince with the score reading 48 for two.

At the halfway mark of the innings, Usman Khan and James Vince had put on 33 runs and the Giants were falling behind the required run rate, needing 99 runs in ten overs. In a bid to accelerate, Usman Khan was dismissed by Waqar Salamkheil for 22 runs. Meanwhile, James Vince brought up his half century in only 38 balls, comprising seven fours and a six. Soon after, the Gulf Giant’s captain was sent back to the dressing room by Dwayne Bravo in the 14th over to bring Shimron Hetmyer to the crease.

Between the 12th and 15th over, the Gulf Giants only managed to gather 12 runs, leaving them with a steep equation of 71 runs needed in the final five overs. In the 17th over, James Overton reinvigorated the run chase with three consecutive sixes in Waqar Salamkheil ‘s over, followed by two sixes off Trent Boult in the next over. Once Overton was dismissed by Farooqi, the defending champs lacked the firepower to push their total beyond 161. 

Brief Scores

MI Emirates 179 for 5 in 20 overs (Nicholas Pooran 51, Tim David 41, Andre Fletcher 28; Chris Jordan 2 for 48, Mujeeb ur Rehman 1 for 23) Gulf Giants 161 for 9 in 20 overs (James Vince 52, James Overton 41, Usman Khan 22; Fazalhaq Farooqi 4 for 25, Trent Boult 2 for 39)

Player of the Match: Tim David of MI Emirates       

West Indies all-rounder Jason Holder secured a three-wicket haul which assisted Dubai Capitals to a comfortable seven-wicket victory over Nicholas Pooran’s MI Emirates in their opening International League Twenty20 (ILT20) encounter at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Saturday.

Holder’s three wickets for 36 runs, included the scalp of fellow West Indians Dwayne Bravo (two) and Akeal Hosein (seven), as well as Will Smeed (five), as Pooran’s MI Emirates, were restricted to 159-9, before being put to the sword by Dubai Capitals, who easily got to 160-3 with four overs to spare.

Scores: MI Emirates 159-9 (20 overs); Dubai Capitals 160-3 (16 overs)

Zimbabwe’s spinner Sikandar Raza also bagged three wickets for 21 runs from his four overs for the Capitals and was later named Man-of-the-Match, as his combination with Holder offered the opponents very little room to play their shots.

In fact, apart from opener Muhammad Waseem’s 26-ball 51 which included four sixes and two fours, only Andre Fletcher (30), Pooran (21) and Australian Tim David (27), got into double figures for MI Emirates, who were sent to bat by Dubai Capitals captain David Warner.

Fletcher had two sixes and three fours in his 18-ball knock, while Pooran had a solitary six and four in his 23-ball innings.

The Capitals run chase started shakily, as they lost Warner (one) with 15 runs on the board.

However, Afghanistan’s Rahmanullah Gurbaz (81) and 21-year-old Australian Jake Fraser-McGurk (54), steadied the innings with a 114-run second-wicket stand that erased whatever hopes MI Emirates had of securing victory.

Gurbaz slammed four sixes and eight fours in his 39-ball knock, while Fraser-McGurk, who was brought in for Paul Van Meekeren, had four sixes and four fours in his innings which used a mere 25 balls.

After both fell, Englishman Sam Billings (13 not out), and West Indies T20 captain Rovman Powell (seven not out), saw the Capitals to victory.

New Zealand’s left-arm seamer Trent Boult led the Emirates bowling with two for 23 from four overs.  

 

Heinrich Klaasen was at his belligerent best to help Durban’s Super Giants secure an 11-run win over Kieron Pollard’s MI Cape Town via the DLS method in the Betway SA T20 at Kinsmead in Durban on Thursday.

MI Cape Town first posted a formidable 207-5 from their 20 overs after being put in to bat by the Super Giants.

Opener Ryan Rickleton hit six fours and six sixes on his way to an excellent top score of 87 from 51 balls while Pollard, who replaced the injured Rashid Khan ad Captain for the tournament, hit a brutal 31 from 14 balls including four fours and a six in the latter part of the innings.

Guyanese all-rounder Keemo Paul took 2-31 from his four overs for the Super Giants.

The chase got off to a less than impressive start as Durban lost Quinton De Kock (5) and Wiaan Milder (5) within the first three overs with 12 runs on the board.

A 40-run third wicket partnership between opener Matthew Breetzke and Paul steadied proceedings a bit before Paul fell off the bowling of English speedster Ollie Stone for 15.

His wicket brought Klaasen to the crease and he put the team on his back with a magnificent 35-ball 85 including four fours and eight massive sixes.

Breetzke ended up making 39 off 24 balls.

The wickets of those two along with Nicholas Pooran for just 11 meant that the Super Giants were 177-6 off 16.3 overs when the rains came and ended play for the day.

Thankfully for the Super Giants, the Duckworth Lewis Stern par score was 166 at the time.

South African ace Kagiso Rabada took 2-23 from three overs for MI Cape Town.

 

Former West Indies captain Kieron Pollard will lead MI Cape Town's hunt for glory in the second edition of South Africa's Premier Twenty20 League, SA20, while in his absence from the International League (ILT20), compatriot Nicholas Pooran will lead MI Emirates.

Pollard's appointment at MI Cape Town comes as Rashid Khan, who led the team last season, has been ruled out of the upcoming season, as he continues to recover from a back surgery. The ace leg spinner was named in the Afghanistan squad on January 6 for their three-match T20I series in India, but is unlikely to play, according to a statement from his cricket board (ACB). Khan also missed Afghanistan's most recent T20I series in the UAE and the Big Bash League (BBL).

As such, the powerfully built Pollard has not only been drafted to make his debut in the SA20 but will lead from the front given his experience as a five-time Indian Premier League (IPL) Champion, a two-time Champions League (CLT20) Champion, and a Major League (MLC) Champion, across the Mumbai Indians franchises.

The explosive middle-order batsman was also retained by MI Emirates for the upcoming ILT20 campaign, but with its dates clashing with the SA20's, Pooran has been given the reins of MI Emirates captaincy. It remains to be seen whether Pollard will join MI Emirates for the last leg of the ILT20 in the UAE.

Pollard was recently in action for New York Strikers in the Abu Dhabi T10 league, where his side lost the final to Deccan Gladiators.

Pooran, who also plays with Pollard at Trinbago Knight Riders in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), recently declined his West Indies central contract to become a free agent.

The left-hand batsman, who is also a former West Indies white-ball captain, Pooran was unveiled as Durban's Super Giants' wildcard pick in September 2023, and is likely to play three matches in the SA20 before linking up with MI Emirates for the second season of the ILT20.

The one-month SA20 will run from January 10 to February 10, and the ILT20 from January 19 to February 17. The two leagues will also clash with New Zealand's Super Smash and the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL).

West Indies cricket has again found itself in the firing line, as Australian Test legend Steve Waugh has called for the intervention of cricket's world governing body, International Cricket Council (ICC), to salvage the credibility of the game's longest format, after South Africa followed the Caribbean selector’s lead and opted for an understrength Test side.

West Indies recently named seven uncapped players in a weakened 15-man squad for two Tests against Australia later this month, while South Africa also selected seven debutants for their two-Test series in New Zealand next month.

This, as South Africa’s top players have been allowed to focus their efforts on the shorter format, as the New Zealand tour clashes with the country’s premier Twenty20 domestic tournament.

"It's going to happen if the South African Cricket Board are any indication of the future, keeping their best players at home," Waugh said.

"If I was New Zealand, I wouldn't even play the series. I don't know why they're even playing. Why would you when it shows a lack of respect for New Zealand cricket?

"It's pretty obvious what the problem is — the West Indies aren't sending their full-strength side [to Australia this summer]. They haven't picked a full-strength Test team for a couple of years now.

"Someone like Nicholas Pooran is really a Test batsman who doesn't play Test cricket. Jason Holder, probably their best player, is not playing now. Even Pakistan didn't send a full side [to Australia],” he argued.

Both Holder, the Caribbean side's leading all-rounder, and batting all-rounder Kyle Mayers, skipped the Australia tour to explore T20 franchise opportunities.

While he acknowledged there is little financial incentive for smaller nations to play Test cricket, Waugh called for a standardised fee to be implemented by the ICC.

"If the ICC or someone doesn't step in shortly then Test cricket doesn't become Test cricket because you're not testing yourself against the best players,” Waugh said.

"I understand why players don't come; they're not getting paid properly. I don't understand why ICC or the top countries who are making a lot of money don't just have a regulation set fee for Test matches which is a premium so [that] people are incentivised to play Test Cricket. Otherwise, they'll just play T10 or T20.

"The public are the ones who are going to suffer because it's not the full side playing so it's not Test cricket,” he added.

Having enjoyed three-consecutive series victories since taking over as West Indies Twenty20 captain, Rovman Powell credits the Caribbean’s side’s success under his leadership, to the overwhelming support of teammates and staff.

Powell, who was appointed in February following the sudden resignation of Nicholas Pooran, has so far guided West Indies to T20 International triumphs away to South Africa, as well as home wins against India and more recently England.

The accomplishment not only ensured West Indies ends the year unbeaten in a series, but more importantly, serves as a solid platform on which they can build ahead of the 2024 T20 World Cup to be hosted jointly by the Caribbean and United States.

“I think I just have a good bunch of guys around me. I have a very good support staff and the guys respect me and they trust me and trust my judgement. And also, I try to lead from the front. I think as a captain once you lead from the front then naturally guys will follow,” Powell said after West Indies topped England 3-2 at the end of a five-match series in Trinidad and Tobago.

Despite being young at heart at 30 years old, Powell boast extensive captaincy experience. He led Jamaica Tallawahs to the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) title last year in his third year in charge full-time, and also captained Jamaica to the Regional Super50 title in 2022. He has previously deputised for West Indies in three One-day Internationals (ODIs) and one T20I.

A month after taking the reins, Powell saw West Indies to a 2-1 series win over South Africa, and they followed that up with a 3-2 victory over India in August.

With their latest success coming against reigning World champions England, Powell said it provides a significant boost in confidence, as West Indies continued their preparation for next year’s T20 showpiece.

Powell has won eight of his 13 matches in charge while averaging 36 with the bat – well above his career average of 25.

“It also gives us confidence [and] confidence for me personally. I try to lead and lead from the front. Once I’m doing what I have to do as a batter first, then the captaincy will take care of itself,” the soft-spoken Jamaican shared.

“I realise as a captain once you’re doing your job, then your decision-making becomes sharper, you don’t second guess yourself when you come under pressure,” he added.

Meanwhile, Powell’s compatriot Andre Russell, also endorsed his leadership.

“I support him a hundred per cent. As the captain, even though he looks up to me, I’m not going to tell him ‘Ok, you need to do this, and you have to do this.’ I respect him as a leader and he’s been doing tremendously so far for the team and for himself,” Russell said.

“I think the confidence he has as a captain and as a player batting-wise, then working with his instinct, [making] bowling changes, making crucial decisions. He managed us as bowlers very well, so hats off to him for that. I don’t need to say much to him – he’s doing a good job,” the electrifying all-rounder added.

The current five-match Twenty20 series between West indies and England in the Caribbean, has triggered changes in the ICC World rankings for the format.

This, as West Indies batsman Brandon King climbed into the top 10, and England spinner Adil Rasheed assumed the new World number one ranking.

King, who stroked an unbeaten 82 in Barbados that gave West Indies a 2-0 series lead, is up six places to sixth, while Nicholas Pooran is up two spots to 12th.

Rashid has been rewarded for his good consistent form in the Caribbean, as he moved up two places to take the top spot from Afghanistan's Rashid Khan. West Indies spinner Akeal Hosein is the sixth-ranked T20 bowler.

Meanwhile, there remains only one West Indies player holding a top 20 position in the latest One-day Internation (ODI) rankings, with West Indies skipper Shai Hope being the highest rated at 11th on the batting list.

Phil Salt’s maiden T20 century and Harry Brook’s nerveless batting at the death helped England reel in a mammoth 223, as they breathed fresh life into their five-match series against West Indies.

The hosts put on a six-hitting masterclass, as they cleared the rope 16 times and collected 79 runs in the last four overs, but they were upstaged as Salt underpinned England’s successful chase in Grenada.

On a hot and humid day, Salt belted half of England’s 18 sixes – a ground record in this format – as he recorded 109 not out off 56 deliveries, before Brook completed the seven-wicket win with a ball to spare.

Salt’s efforts left England needing 21 off the final over, and Brook followed up a four with three sixes in four balls off Andre Russell as the tourists narrowed the deficit to 2-1 in the five-match series.

Jos Buttler made 51 in a 115-run opening stand with Salt, who became just the fifth male from his country to record a T20 international hundred, while Liam Livingstone contributed a breezy 30 as England equalled their joint second highest chase in this format.

Scores: West Indies 222-6 (20 overs); England 226-3 (19.5 overs)

Earlier, Nicholas Pooran cracked six sixes and as many fours in a brilliant 82 off 45 balls to lead West Indies to what initially seemed a daunting total.

Holding a 2-0 lead at that point, the Windies were full of confidence and cleared the rope on 16 occasions, taking their tally across the three matches to 43 sixes.

Captain Rovman Powell belted 39 off 21 deliveries, while Sherfane Rutherford marked his first appearance of the series with 29 off 17.

Not even Adil Rashid was exempt from the carnage as he leaked 15 in his final offering, albeit having Pooran caught in the deep to finish with two for 32.

Reece Topley was magnificent up top in his first match back since a broken finger ended his World Cup early, taking one for 14 in three overs in the powerplay but he conceded 18 after being given the 20th.

Topley and Gus Atkinson were given their first outings as England shuffled their bowlers, with Chris Woakes and Rehan Ahmed left out, but it was a mixed bag from the tourists after winning the toss.

Rashid, Topley and Moeen Ali escaped most of the damage, but Tymal Mills went for 25 in the 17th over and Sam Curran 21 in the 19th – although he did claim a couple of wickets two days on from being belted for 30 in five legal deliveries.

Pooran steadied the Windies, after they lost both openers by the second over, then upped the ante after reaching a 37-ball fifty, taking 29 off his next eight deliveries before holing out off Rashid.

Nicholas Pooran cracked six sixes and as many fours in a brilliant 82 off 45 balls as West Indies posted 222 for six in their bid to wrap up a T20 series win over England.

Holding a 2-0 lead in this five-match series, the Windies were full of confidence and cleared the rope on 16 occasions in Grenada, taking their tally across the three matches to 43 sixes.

Captain Rovman Powell belted 39 off 21 deliveries while Sherfane Rutherford marked his first appearance of the series with 29 off 17 as the Windies pressed the accelerator to add 79 in the last four overs.

Not even Adil Rashid was exempt from the carnage as he leaked 15 in his final offering, albeit having Pooran caught in the deep to finish with two for 32.

Reece Topley was magnificent up top in his first match back since a broken finger ended his World Cup early, taking one for 14 in three overs in the powerplay but he conceded 18 after being given the 20th.

Topley and Gus Atkinson were given their first outings as England shuffled their bowlers, with Chris Woakes and Rehan Ahmed left out, but it was a mixed bag from the tourists after winning the toss.

Rashid, Topley and Moeen Ali escaped most of the damage but Tymal Mills went for 25 in the 17th over and Sam Curran 21 in the 19th – although he did claim a couple of wickets two days on from being belted for 30 in five legal deliveries.

Pooran steadied the Windies after they lost both openers by the second over then upped the ante after reaching a 37-ball fifty, taking 29 off his next eight deliveries before holing out off Rashid.

Opening batsman Brandon King played a crucial role in allowing the West Indies to take a 2-0 lead over England in their five-match T20I series at the National Cricket Stadium in Grenada on Thursday.

The 28-year-old batted through the West Indian innings to help them post a formidable 176-7 from their 20 overs on a St. George’s pitch that offered a lot to the bowlers.

“We found it a bit difficult to start. It’s a low and slow pitch. Not what we’re used to here, we usually get a good batting wicket, so, we had to assess very quickly,” said King in a post-match interview.

“We lost some early wickets so we had to try and decide how to go about it in a smart way,” he added.

Individually, King made 82* off 52 balls, his eighth fifty in T20 Internationals, hitting eight fours and five sixes. His first run of the innings was also his 1000th in T20Is.

“I think there’s always some level of luck involved as well,” King said about being able to bat through the innings on that pitch.

“I was the one that got the start in the powerplay. It was difficult for new batters to come in and get going, especially against the spinners. We lost some early wickets so, given that I got the start, I tried to take it as deep as possible,” he added.

The hosts lost the wickets of Kyle Mayers (17), Nicholas Pooran (5), Shai Hope (1) and Shimron Hetmyer (2) all within the first 10 overs of their innings before King and skipper Rovman Powell combined to put on 80 for the fifth wicket.

“Extremely crucial,” was how King described Powell’s innings of 50 from 28 balls including a 30-run 16th over off Sam Curran.

“A fantastic innings from him. He eased the pressure off me a little bit as well. Nobody has the power that he has. There are some shots only he can play so it was very important at that stage of the innings that he got those quick runs,” King added.

Powell’s heroics were needed after England’s spin duo of Adil Rashid and Rehan Ahmed accounted for the wickets of Pooran, Hope and Hetmyer.

“The spinners. You could see from early they were getting some purchase from the wicket with the new ball. Adil Rashid is obviously a very experienced bowler who knows how to bowl around the world. He bowled an excellent spell. It was important to us to not give him too many wickets and take the majority of the runs off the pace bowlers,” King said.

On the bowling side for the West Indies, King said his teammates did well to follow the game plan and use information from their own innings.

“Taking the information from the first innings, we knew what lengths were difficult. We went out and tried to apply that in the field. The guys fielded well as well so we’re very happy with that,” he said.

He also singled out Gudakesh Motie for conceding just nine runs in his spell.

“Excellent spell from him. To bowl four overs for nine runs in a T20 game is amazing. A good call from the skipper and the coach to bring him in for this game. Obviously, they read the pitch very well so he was crucial for us today,” he said.

The West indies will have a chance to clinch the series with on Saturday in the third T20I beginning at 12:30pm Jamaica Time (1:30pm ECT) at the same venue.

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