West Indies have enjoyed somewhat of a storming start to their ICC Men’s T20 World Cup campaign, but it’s safe to say those victories over minnows Papua New Guinea and Uganda were always expected.

Though a bit shaky in a five-wicket win over Papua New Guinea in their Group C opener, West Indies backed that victory up with a convincing 134-run beating of newcomers Uganda. However, the Caribbean side will be hopeful of a better second half to the group stages, as they now have New Zealand to contend with, and Afghanistan to follow.

With four points already to their credit and New Zealand yet to get on the board, the Darren Sammy-coached West Indies is targeting another win, which would guarantee them a spot in the Super Eight, and basically eliminate the Black Caps.

A record crowd is anticipated for the encounter, scheduled to play under lights at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, in Trinidad and Tobago, on Wednesday.

While acknowledging that it will be an exciting challenge, West Indies captain Rovman Powell believes it is also an opportunity for his team to showcase the class and form that they have enjoyed over the past 15 months.

During that time, the now number-four ranked West Indies registered 2-1, 3-2 and 3-2 series wins over South Africa, India and England respectively, before losing 1-2 to Australia. Prior to the World Cup they swept South Africa 3-0 at Sabina Park.

"We are pretty confident; the boys been playing some very good cricket, and we know New Zealand will pose different challenge from our first two opponents. But having said that, once we just focus on ourselves and play good cricket, we should be okay,” Powell told journalists at a pre-game press conference on Tuesday.

"If you should look on the last year, the last twelve or 14 months, West Indies have played very good T20 cricket. So it's just a continuation of us doing that, even though it's a World Cup, the guys have done a lot of hard work coming into this World Cup, so hopefully we can show that hard work. It's two of the more traditional nations, Afghanistan and New Zealand, but I think once we focus on ourselves, we should be okay,” he added.

Given that New Zealand succumbed to a heavy 84-run defeat to Afghanistan, in a contest where they were bowled out for 75 runs, Powell said it signals some semblance of vulnerability in the opponents’ form and, as such, he and his team are looking to capitalise.

"If there's a good time to play New Zealand, I think it's definitely now. They're a little bit undercooked and the pressure is really on them because this game decides whether they go on or not. But, we're not focusing on New Zealand, we're focusing on what we have to do, and once we do what we have to do, then that will take care of itself,” Powell noted.

That said, the Jamaican once again declared their intentions to possibly secure an unprecedented third T20 World Cup title. West Indies won the 2012 and 2016 tournaments in Sri Lanka and India, and Powell is optimistic that they can now secure a title home soil, a feat he said would mean more to cricket in the region that just one more trophy.

“When you look on the benefits of playing a World Cup at home for West Indies cricket, it's an enormous benefit. If we should go on and win the World Cup, it would make us the first team to win a T20 World Cup at home. From a financial standpoint, it (hosting) boosts West Indies cricket economy, and is beneficial for so much different islands to be getting international cricket of such good standards, so that in itself is a beneficial factor,” Powell reasoned.

“For us as players, it's an opportunity for us to cement our space in West Indies cricket folklore, and winning a World Cup on home soil, not just myself as captain, but all the guys, will be remembered for such achievement.

"But those expectations are on the back of us playing good T20 cricket, which has resulted in us being ranked number four in the world now, and it's for us to continue to manage those expectations. I think the guys have done that, we are at home, so obviously expectations and pressure is always there, but it's just for us to keep on playing good cricket and keep on entertaining the fans,” he ended. 

The West Indies delivered a commanding performance against Uganda in their second match of the 2024 T20 World Cup, crushing their opponents by 134 runs. The star of the night was undoubtedly Akeal Hosein, whose career-best figures of 5-11 spearheaded the West Indies' bowling attack and highlighted the fruits of his relentless hard work and preparation.

West Indies, after setting a formidable total of 173-5, saw significant contributions from their top order. Johnson Charles led the charge with a solid 44, while Andre Russell's brisk 30 off 17 balls, alongside essential innings from Rovman Powell (23), Nicholas Pooran (22), and Sherfane Rutherford (22), set a challenging target for Uganda.

The Ugandan side, however, crumbled under the pressure of the West Indies' bowling onslaught, collapsing to a paltry 39 all out. Only Juma Miyagi managed to reach double figures, remaining unbeaten on 13. Hosein’s exceptional spell was well-supported by Alzarri Joseph (2-6) and a wicket each from Russell, Gudakesh Motie, and Romario Shepherd.

Reflecting on his outstanding performance, Hosein attributed his success to his dedication and strategic planning. "I think I needed this. In the nets and in the previous series, I felt the ball was coming out good but I was just not getting the rewards," Hosein explained.

“It is a lot of hard work. When you get success, guys are going to study you and have a plan. You always have to stay a step ahead. For me, it is just about trying to react to what the surface is doing and planning it out. Even if the ball is going both ways, you cannot do much if you don't plan. So, it is about planning the over well. I am happy to bowl wherever the team needs me."

Hosein’s disciplined approach and adaptability were evident as he dismantled the Ugandan batting lineup, showcasing why he is regarded as one of the top bowlers in the world.

Meanwhile, West Indies captain Rovman Powell praised his team's significantly improved performance compared to their nervy five-wicket victory against Papua New Guinea in the opening match on June 2.

"We talk about improving 10-15 per cent every match. Last game, we were flat so we just wanted to improve as a team," Powell remarked. "When you are playing at home, the pressure can sometimes get to you. So, a little bit of rust in the first match. We started off at 60 per cent, now up to 70-80 per cent and from here, it gets tougher."

Powell was particularly effusive in his praise for Hosein, emphasizing his consistent excellence. "He has been fantastic, that is why he is the number-three ranked bowler in the world. He has done it against Full-Member nations as well, and we expect him to do it against teams that are just coming into international cricket."

Looking ahead, Powell highlighted the challenges that lie in wait but expressed confidence in his team’s preparedness. "It is just for us to continue to play good cricket. We have played good cricket for the last 12 months or so. It gets tougher from here but we understand conditions and cricket is not easy in the Caribbean."

The Barbados Royals have announced their lineup for the upcoming Republic Bank Caribbean Premier League (CPL) season, retaining a formidable roster that promises thrilling performances. Among the 14 confirmed players, South African powerhouses Quinton de Kock and David Miller will once again don the Royals' colours, adding significant firepower to the batting lineup.

 The Royals' strategy for the 2024 season also includes key overseas bowlers such as Sri Lankan spinner Maheesh Theekshana, Afghanistan's pace sensation Naveen ul Haq, and South African left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj. These bowlers are expected to bolster the team's attack with their diverse skill sets.

 On the local front, the Royals have secured the services of West Indies T20 captain Rovman Powell, whose leadership and explosive batting are invaluable assets. Alongside Powell, the team will benefit from the experience and all-round capabilities of Jason Holder, a stalwart in the Royals' lineup. Left-arm seamer Obed McCoy, known for his wicket-taking prowess, will return, as will the promising young fast bowler Ramon Simmonds.

 Adding to their local contingent, the Royals have retained Rahkeem Cornwall, a powerful hitter and effective off-spinner, and Alick Athanaze, whose batting talent continues to impress. Young talents Kevin Wickham, Nyeem Young, and Rivaldo Clarke will also be part of the squad, bringing fresh energy and potential to the team.

 As the Royals prepare for the CPL draft in July, where they have three more spots to fill, their current roster reflects a balanced mix of seasoned internationals and promising home-grown talent. This blend sets a strong foundation for a competitive campaign in the 2024 Republic Bank CPL season.

While relieved that they came out tops in the end, West Indies Head Coach Darren Sammy believes the opening ICC Men’s T20 World Cup win against Papua New Guinea was too close for comfort, and called for significant improvement heading into their next encounter and beyond.

Chasing a modest 137 for victory, West Indies overcame a shaky start to secure a nervy five-wicket victory over Papua New Guinea on Sunday. It took Roston Chase with an unbeaten 42 and Andre Russell with a nine-ball 15 to get West Indies across the line.

The sub-par performance left Sammy peeved, as he rued the fact that they not only got to the target with one over to spare, but also lost five wickets in the process. As such, he insists that the Caribbean side tightens up, as he warned against complacency, which was at the root of past World Cup failures.

The Rovman Powell-led West Indies outfit will next face newcomers Uganda on Saturday at Providence Stadium in Guyana.

“These (games against perceived lesser opponents) are the games that cost us in previous tournaments,” Sammy declared.

“Winning with just an over to spare is a bit too close for comfort, but I won’t let this overshadow the positive strides we’ve made throughout the year,” he added.

Sammy’s concern is very much understandable, as after Uganda, West Indies will have more formidable foes Afghanistan and New Zealand to contend with. Hence, Sammy knows there’s no room for slip-ups.

“Every game is crucial,” he stressed.

“We need to focus on the present, one match at a time, and avoid complacency. We didn’t exhibit our usual aggressive batting style; the brand we’ve established over the past year. We allowed them [Papua New Guinea] to stay in the contest for too long,” Sammy argued.

Should West Indies produce a more dominant performance against Uganda, it would put them in good stead heading to Trinidad and Tobago, where they will lock horns with New Zealand on June 13, and Afghanistan on June 18.

Afghanistan heads Group C on two points, same as West Indies and Uganda, but with a superior net run-rate. Only the top two teams from the group will progress to the Super Eight.

West Indies will be eager to avoid a repeat of the last T20 World Cup, where they were knocked out in the first round.

West Indies captain Rovman Powell acknowledged that his team has areas to improve following a less than convincing victory over Papua New Guinea (PNG) in their 2024 ICC T20 World Cup opener on Sunday. The match, held at Providence Stadium, saw the West Indies narrowly reach their target, scoring 137-5 with six balls to spare after restricting PNG to 136-8.

The win was largely due to a mature 42 from 27 deliveries by Player of the Match Roston Chase, along with notable contributions of 33 from Brandon King and 27 from Nicholas Pooran.

Powell was candid about his team's performance, giving credit to PNG for their strong showing. "Credit has to be given to PNG. I think their plans were simple and they played good cricket. I think PNG's score of 136 for 8 was a little, 10 or 15, too much. And as a bowling group, that's something we need to work on. They played smartly," he said.

He also praised Chase for his all-round contribution. "That was very good. Started from a bowling effort, I think he bowled pretty well. And coming at the end, when we were under pressure, coming there with composure, and to come out with a winning innings was great for us. I think we can be better in all three departments," Powell noted.

Chase, who was named Player of the Match for his unbeaten 42, expressed satisfaction with his performance and the team's victory. "I'm very pleased. To start the tournament with a win is always good. I had to take it home for the team, and I did it," he said.

Reflecting on his strategy during the match, Chase said, "I knew from our first innings bowling, it was always hard for batsmen coming in to start. I gave myself time, backed myself. I've been putting in a lot of hard work so I just backed my preparation."

Chase also acknowledged the efforts of Papua New Guinea. "They're not an A-list team, but we don't want to take any team lightly in the World Cup. We came out with the mentality that we were playing Australia or India. We started slowly but we had a chat at the halfway stage and the guys just wanted to rally and put the best foot forward."

The West Indies will look to address the issues highlighted by their captain as they prepare for their next match. Powell's candid reflection on the team's performance indicates a commitment to improvement, with hopes of delivering a stronger showing in the upcoming games.

Despite the less than flawless victory, starting the tournament with a win provides a solid foundation for the West Indies. With key players like Chase demonstrating resilience and maturity, the team aims to build on this performance and strive for excellence as they progress through the World Cup.

 

Two-time T20 World Cup winner Andre Russell delivered a stirring speech to his teammates on Saturday, just hours before their World Cup opener against Papua New Guinea in Guyana this Sunday morning. The 36-year-old all-rounder, fresh off his 2024 IPL title win with the Kolkata Knight Riders, shared his excitement and motivation with the squad, hoping to ignite a fire that would carry them through the tournament.

Russell’s words came after a significant moment in the team’s preparations: he was presented with his official playing kit by team captain Rovman Powell, who wished him the best of fortune during the competition. This gesture highlighted the respect and camaraderie within the team, setting the stage for Russell’s heartfelt address.

“I am super-excited to be a part of another World Cup and it’s my first time playing at home in a World Cup event, so I think it’s going to be big for all of us,” Russell began, his enthusiasm palpable. “It would mean so much to the Caribbean people and so much to us moving forward in our careers to win a home World Cup.”

Emphasizing the importance of the event, Russell continued, “It’s bigger than how we look at it but just leave everything out there. We know the conditions better than everyone else; that’s a big plus for us. I’m excited to be here and with this, we can show the world cricket is what we live for here in the Caribbean. And for all of us coming together, with so many playing first-class cricket here in the Caribbean, and we are the best 15, let’s not take that for granted.”

Russell’s message was one of unity and seizing the moment. “Let’s rock together and achieve something great,” he urged. “We have everything in this room, support staff, everything. Everyone is backing us. Let’s make it count.”

With such inspirational words from one of the team’s most experienced and successful players, the squad is undoubtedly motivated to make their mark in the tournament. As they face Papua New Guinea this morning, the Caribbean side will be looking to start their campaign with a strong performance, driven by the passion and determination that Russell embodies.

The stage is set, the players are ready, and the hopes of a region rest on their shoulders. With Russell’s rallying cry echoing in their ears, the team steps onto the field, ready to make history.

Match time for the West Indies/PNG match is 10:30 am Eastern Caribbean time/9:30 am in Jamaica.

In a powerful display of batting prowess, the West Indies sent a strong message to their T20 World Cup competitors with a commanding 35-run victory over a depleted Australian side in their final warm-up match at Queen's Park Oval on Friday night.

Blistering half-centuries from Nicholas Pooran and Rovman Powell highlighted the West Indies' innings, propelling them to a formidable total of 257 for 4 in their 20 overs. Pooran was particularly destructive, smashing 75 from just 25 balls, including five sixes in a mere six balls against Australian spinners Ashton Agar and Adam Zampa.

Powell continued the onslaught with a quick-fire 52 from 25 balls, ensuring the West Indies maintained an aggressive tempo throughout their innings. Sherfane Rutherford added the finishing touches with an unbeaten 47 from just 18 deliveries.

Australia, struggling with a short-handed team for the second consecutive match, fielded only nine players, supplemented by coaches and selectors acting as substitute fielders. The absence of key players and the late arrival of allrounder Marcus Stoinis, whose kit was delayed in Miami, further hampered their performance.

Despite the challenges, Nathan Ellis showed promise with the ball, claiming 2 for 42 from his four overs. However, the Australian bowlers were otherwise put to the sword, with Zampa conceding 62 runs and Josh Hazlewood 55 in their respective spells.

Sent in to bat, West Indies got off to a quick start with Shai Hope and Johnson Charles laying the foundation. Pooran then took centre-stage, hitting the first three legal deliveries he faced for sixes and maintaining a high strike rate. His half-century came off just 16 balls, demonstrating his aggressive intent. Although Borovec dropped a catch off Pooran, it didn’t prove too costly as Bailey managed to dismiss him shortly after.

Powell continued the momentum with a brutal assault on Zampa and Agar, who conceded 120 runs between them. Tim David, in a rare role as a bowler, managed to be the least expensive with figures of 1 for 40 from four overs.

Chasing 258, Australia’s reply was spirited but ultimately fell short at 222 for 7. Josh Inglis top-scored with a brisk 55 off 30 balls, but the lack of depth in the batting lineup was evident. In a surprising move, Agar opened the batting and contributed 28 off 13 balls, but the rest of the lineup failed to capitalize.

David Warner, who missed the recent Australia-West Indies Test series, was bowled for 15 by Shamar Joseph after a brief flurry of boundaries. Mitchell Marsh, playing in his preferred No.3 position, was dismissed cheaply, and while David and Matthew Wade managed 25 runs each, they couldn't keep pace with the required run rate.

Gudakesh Motie was instrumental in stemming the flow of runs during the middle overs, finishing with figures of 2 for 31, including the key wickets of Inglis and David. Ellis provided some late resistance with a quick 39, sharing a 51-run stand with Zampa, who remained unbeaten on 21.

The West Indies' dominant performance, spearheaded by Pooran and Powell, sets a confident tone ahead of the T20 World Cup.

The T20 World Cup kicks off on Saturday, and the West Indies' emphatic win serves as a strong warning to their rivals as they aim for glory on the global stage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the 2012 and 2016 titles already to their credit, West Indies will no doubt be intent on adding this year’s ICC Men’s T20 World Cup crown to their accolades, but achieving that feat will require efficient all-round execution from the off.

Like the 19 other participating teams in the historic June 1-29 showpiece, the Darren Sammy-coached 15-man squad –to be led by Jamaican Rovman Powell –is lined with its own fair share of talent and explosive batting, enough to prove a formidable force, as they seek to make amends for their disappointing campaign two years ago.

Still, among the blend of experience and youthful exuberance, it is no secret that a few players will be heavily relied on, more than others, to carry the weight of the Caribbean side’s chances to possibly finish tops in a tournament they co-host with United States.

That said, SportsMax.TV zones in on five key players –in no particular order –that cricket enthusiasts worldwide will undoubtedly keep a keen eye on where their performances are concerned, eager to witness the West Indies’ quest for another T20 World Cup title.

Rovman Powell –Middle order batsman and captain

Took over leadership of the T20 team from Nicholas Pooran after the failed 2022 outing in Australia. Since his appointment last year, Powell has emerged as a crucial figure in the West Indies T20 setup, both as a powerful middle-order batsman and a strategic leader. He led the regional side to three bilateral series victories over South Africa, India and England, before a loss to Australia earlier this year.

Besides the fact that Powell’s leadership skills have been instrumental in shaping a cohesive unit, his ability to turn games around with his aggressive batting style makes him a player to watch.

The hard-hitting Jamaican has so far scored more than 1,300 runs at a strike rate of 144.81 in 61 international innings and nearly 4,000 overs in all T20 matches, with 16 fifty-plus scores to his name. Powell’s penchant for big hits and sixes can also be evidenced by his boundary numbers, which feature more maximums than fours across all T20s.

Powell’s overall experience in domestic and international T20 leagues certainly adds a layer of tactical acumen to his game, and his knack for hitting sixes under pressure and guiding the team through challenging situations will be vital to West Indies' campaign.