There was no shortage of drama in Group E on Saturday at the 2020 Concacaf Women’s Under-20 Championship, with Jamaica rallying from three goals down to tie Guatemala 4-4 at the Estadio Panamericano in San Cristobal.

Guatemala looked to be in control and held a 3-0 lead thanks to goals from Sandra Ovando (12’), Andrea Alvarez (26’) and Maria Recinos (34’).

But the Reggae Girls would mount a ferocious comeback and would take a 4-3 lead on a goal from Jody Brown (50’) and a hat trick scored by Marlee Fray (53’, 68’, 76’).

Guatemala would have an answer though, as Alvarez scored her second of the day (78’), leading to a share of the spoils between the two sides.

The group’s other game saw Canada muscle past a tough El Salvador squad, 2-0.

The two teams were locked in a stalemate until Tanya Boychuk (56’) found the breakthrough. Canada then polished off the three points and the 2-0 scoreline with a goal from Kaila Novak (71’).

Action in Group E resumes on Monday with El Salvador tangling with Jamaica, while Canada will face Guatemala.

The West Indies team has been fined for a slow over rate in the one-run loss to Sri Lanka, in the first One Day International (ODI), in Colombo on Saturday.

The sanctions were imposed after the Kieron Pollard-led side was found to be two overs short of the target, even with time allowances considered.  Pollard pleaded guilty to the charges, which will negate the need for a formal hearing.

According to Article 2.22 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which relates to minimum over-rate offences, players are fined 20 per cent of their match fees for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time.

The charges were brought by on-field umpires Paul Wilson and Ruchira Palliyaguruge, third umpire Marais Erasmus and fourth official Lyndon Hannibal.  Earlier, South Africa and Australia played the Johannesburg T20I where the visitors Australia claimed a big victory by 107 runs.

After that match, South African players faced 20% fine of their match fees for maintaining a slow over-rate. The hosts were one over short of the target after time allowances were taken into consideration.

Former West Indies captain Darren Sammy is reportedly set to be named an honourary citizen of Pakistan.

The 36-year-old allrounder has become a popular figure in the country, where he has captained Pakistan Super League (PSL) Peshawar Zalmi to the title.  The player has, however, been recognized for an even more important contribution and that is his prominent role in advocating for the return of international cricket to Pakistan.

The country was blacklisted as a destination for international cricket in 2009 after a horrific attack on the Sri Lankan team bus outside the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.  International cricket, however, returned to the country in 2017, with Test cricket returning last year.

Sammy was the first player to agree to tour Pakistan when the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) attempted to bring the PSL final to the country.

When an ICC World XI was lined up to tour Pakistan for three T20Is in September 2017, it was Sammy who spoke as part of that squad to the other tourists as part of a security briefing.

The idea of honourary citizenship was first broached by Javed Afridi, the owner of Peshawar Zalmi.  The PCB then followed up with the federal government and the honour was accepted.  Sammy will also receive the Nishan-e-Pakistan, the country's top civilian award, on March 23 in Islamabad.

Mignon du Preez celebrated her 100th T20I appearance in style by hitting back-to-back boundaries to help South Africa beat England in their ICC Women’s T20 World Cup opener.

Nat Sciver’s half-century proved to be in vain at the WACA as England lost to South Africa for the first-time in the 20-over tournament.

A three-wicket haul from Ayabonga Khaka and two apiece for Dane van Niekerk and Marizanne Kapp prevented Lisa Keightley’s side from building momentum with the bat.

And the Van Niekerk and Kapp pairing shone again at the crease, combining for 84 to lay the foundations for Chloe Tryon (12) and Du Preez (18 not out) to wrap up the win in a thrilling finish in Perth.

Amy Jones got England off to a blistering start with four boundaries in the first three overs but Kapp ensured her stint was short-lived as the opener was caught at mid-off for 23 by Tryon.

It didn’t take long for the Proteas to strike again as Danni Wyatt was dismissed for two off Khaka’s first ball of the tournament, Lizelle Lee with the diving catch at backward point.

England’s batting woes continued with the introduction of van Niekerk’s spin, the South Africa captain dismissing opposite number Heather Knight who tried to hit her over the top, only to be brilliantly caught by Shabnim Ismail at long-on.

The middle-order pairing of Sciver and Fran Wilson were under pressure to accelerate the innings but only managed to push on to 72 before Wilson was dismissed in similar style to Knight to give Van Niekerk figures of two for 20.

Sciver’s 50 helped England reach three figures but from then on the wickets rapidly fell, Katherine Brunt perishing before the top-scorer was bowled by Khaka.

It was two quick scalps for Khaka within the over as Tryon snaffled a sharp catch to dismiss Lauren Winfield, before Kapp returned with one last strike to trap Tammy Beaumont lbw to halt England at 123 for eight.

England made up for the late wicket crumble by inflicting damage onto their opponents early, Lizelle Lee perishing for four when lofting Anya Shrubsole straight to Winfield in the circle.

Kapp and Van Niekerk produced an 84-run partnership for the second wicket to keep the Proteas ticking along, but England managed to up the required rate.

First, Kapp was caught and bowled by Women’s T20 World Cup debutant Sarah Glenn for 38 before Beaumont denied van Niekerk a 50 when she caught the skipper off Ecclestone with four overs to play.

A late attack from Tryon made for a nervous ending at the WACA and England may have thought they were safe when she was bowled by Ecclestone’s last delivery.

But two big hits from Du Preez off Brunt sealed a maiden win for the Proteas over England in the tournament, marking the perfect start to their campaign in Group B.

 

Scores in brief

South Africa beat England by six wickets, WACA Ground, Perth

England 123-8, 20 overs (Nat Sciver 50; Ayabonga Khaka 3-25, Marizanne Kapp 2-19)

South Africa 127-4, 19.4 overs (Dane van Niekerk 46, Marizanne Kapp 38; Sophie Ecclestone 2-19)

West Indies captain Kieron Pollard believes there were a number of missteps that led to his side’s one-wicket loss to Sri Lanka in Colombo on Saturday.

The West Indies, thanks to a century from Shai Hope at the top of the order, scored 289-7 before going from losing positions to winning positions and back again, as Sri Lanka got to 290-9 with five balls to spare.

According to Pollard, after leaving a few runs with the bat, the West Indies were also not at their very best with the ball and coughed up too many presents for the Sri Lankans.

But Pollard did enjoy the game, saying it was well contested by both teams.

“Good game of cricket came down to the last over with the crowd on its feet,” he said.

“Normally guys like me and Pooran finish it off but it couldn't happen today. Couple of soft dismissals in the middle really set us back,” said Pollard.

“I think we bowled too many bad balls in the start, gave them too many freebies, that's where we lost the game. Our discipline was not there,” he said.

Sri Lanka started well with a 111-run first-wicket partnership between Avishka Fernando (50) and captain Dimuth Karunaratne (52).

The Windies fought back brilliantly but Thisara Perera played an important innings, slamming a 22-ball 32. When Perera was caught off the bowling of Alzarri Joseph, the match was very much in the balance with Sri Lanka on 253-7.

However, Hasaranga (42 off 39) produced a performance that belied his ODI average of 14.37 to get Sri Lanka over the finish line.

Hasaranga's ability to find the rope – he struck a quartet of fours and one maximum – and inaccurate death bowling from the Windies left the scores level going into the final over.

A direct-hit run out from Sunil Ambris to remove Lakshan Sandakan frayed the nerves a little, but the one run Sri Lanka needed came from a Keemo Paul no-ball off the next delivery as if to highlight the way little mistakes had cost the Caribbean side.

Guyanese prodigy, Shimron Hetmyer, has earned a recall to the West Indies squad scheduled to play against Sri Lanka in two Twenty20 Internationals on March 4 and six after the completion of the current One-Day International between the teams.

Hetmyer and Evin Lewis were spectacularly dropped after an announcement they had both failed fitness tests Cricket West Indies selectors had implemented as a requirement for selection.

There is still no recall for Lewis, who had, not long before, overcome poor form in typically destructive fashion.

The squad also includes a recall for Andre Russell and Oshane Thomas.

Allrounder Russell, 31,  hasn't played for the Caribbean side since pulling up short midway through the 50-over World Cup in June 2019. However, he has taken part in other matches, most notably in the Bangladesh Premier League in December and January

Russell is a two-time ICC T20 World Cup winner, having played a crucial role in the triumphs back in 2012 in Sri Lanka and 2016 in India. He has successfully completed the Cricket West Indies (CWI) return-to-play assessment programme under the supervision of CWI Medical Team in his native Jamaica. He has so far played 47 T20Is for the West Indies.

Fast bowler Thomas, who turned 23 earlier this week, is selected after making a full recovery from a car accident in Jamaica recently. Additionally, wicket-keeper/batsman Shai Hope has been included alongside left-arm spinner Fabian Allen.

Commenting on the squad, CWI lead selector Roger Harper said: “Shimron Hetmyer missed out on selection for the ODI squad. He has since attained the required fitness level, becoming available for selection and has been included.

"Andre Russell is back in the squad, having been cleared by the medical panel and successfully completing CWI’s return-to-play protocol. Andre will add potency to every department of the team. Oshane Thomas appears to be focused and raring to go. He will add pace and penetration to the bowling unit.”

Harper added: “Shai Hope provides an opening option and cover as a back-up wicket-keeper also. Fabian Allen returns from the injury he sustained in the series against Afghanistan late last year. He will provide a spin-bowling option as well as adding depth to the batting group.”

Looking ahead to the T20I matches, Harper outlined that he will have one eye on the ICC T20 World Cup to be played in Australia later this year. West Indies are the defending champions and the only team to lift the trophy twice.

“I look forward to the team building on its recent performances and winning the T20 series in Sri Lanka. This is another opportunity for the team to build on its strengths and identify areas that need improvement while continuing the process of building up with the aim of peaking for the T20 World Cup in October,” said Harper.

The two T20Is will be played at the Pallakele International Cricket Stadium in Kandy.

West Indies and Sri Lanka are now contesting a three-match ODI series. Sri Lanka won the first match today by a wicket in Colombo.

The second match is in Hambantota on Wednesday.

 

West Indies T20I squad

Kieron Pollard (capt), Fabian Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Brandon King, Nicholas Pooran, Rovman Powell, Andre Russell, Lendl Simmons, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr, Kesrick Williams.

 

IN: Andre Russell, Oshane Thomas, Fabian Allen, Shai Hope.

 

OUT: Evin Lewis, Khary Pierre, Sherfane Rutherford, Romario Shepherd.

Sophie Devine once again proved unstoppable as her sixth consecutive 50+ score steered New Zealand to victory in their ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 opener against Sri Lanka.

Chamari Atapattu (41) and Hasini Perera’s 60-run first wicket - Sri Lanka’s best opening partnership in T20Is - gave them a bright start but Hayley Jensen’s career-best bowling sent middle-order wickets tumbling at the WACA.

It took time for New Zealand to get the 128-run chase going but captain Devine led by example, becoming the only player, male or female, to register more than five consecutive 50+ scores in the format, en route to the seven-wicket victory.

The Sri Lanka openers put on an impressive 60 for the first wicket, with Devine, Leigh Kasperek and Lea Tahuhu all unable to find a Powerplay breakthrough.

But up stepped teenager Amelia Kerr to cause problems on the fast track, the 19-year-old claiming the first wicket of the evening when she bowled Perera for 20 in the eighth over.

Perera didn’t fall without her fine moments though, her scoop over wicket-keeper Rachel Priest giving the Sri Lankan contingent at the WACA plenty of reason to cheer.

Atapattu’s 41, which included five fours and two sixes, built a solid base but the Sri Lanka captain was caught and bowled by the pacey Tahuhu.

The White Ferns were able to put the brakes on thereafter, Jensen claiming two wickets in an over when Anushka Sanjeewani’s attempt over the top was caught by Bates running back before Devine caught Shashikala Siriwardena at short mid-wicket.

Nilakshi de Silva was the next to fall as the middle-order crumbled, Kerr taking the catch at backward point for Devine’s first wicket before the spinner got a second breakthrough of her own.

Harshitha Madavi kept fighting with an unbeaten 27 off 26 balls but Sri Lanka finished at 127 for seven as Jensen bagged her third.

The White Ferns chase started slowly, openers Devine and Priest failing to take advantage of the Powerplay before the latter was run out by Madavi for six.

Held at 25 for one after six overs, New Zealand were lagging a fair way behind Sri Lanka who were 51 without loss at the same stage, with Devine not at her fluent best.

But the skipper ground it out in Perth, joining up with Bates for a 40-run second-wicket stand to steady the ship.

Bates perished at the hands of Kavisha Dilhari but Maddy Green came in at four and guided the chase superbly, taking the pressure off her skipper with a career-best 29 off 20.

With less than a run-a-ball required, Devine finally freed her arms – two sixes finishing off the chase with two overs to spare as the White Ferns tasted early success in Group A.

Scores in brief

New Zealand beat Sri Lanka by seven wickets, WACA Ground, Perth

Sri Lanka 127-7, 20 overs (Chamari Atapattu 41; Hayley Jensen 3-16, Amelia Kerr 2-21)
New Zealand 131-3, 17.4 overs (Sophie Devine 75 not out, Maddy Green 29; Kavisha Dilhari 1-19)

The Serie B match between Ascoli and Cremonese has been postponed as a preventative measure against the spread of the coronavirus after two people died in the Lombardy and Veneto regions.

The coronavirus - officially named Covid-19 – first emerged in China towards the end of last year but has spread to a number of other countries since, including Italy.

It was confirmed on Saturday that two Italian people who had been infected have died - a 78-year-old man from Padua, Veneto, as well as a woman in Lombardy.

According to Italian news agency ANSA, 88 amateur football matches scheduled to take place in Lombardy on Saturday had been postponed, while Serie C and Serie D games were also impacted.

Ascoli's home match with Cremonese – who are from Cremona, Lombardy – in the eastern Marche region is the most high-profile match to be called off, following a decision from the Operational Safety Group (GOS).

This comes after the Cremonese youth team's match with Brescia in Primavera 2 did not go ahead due to the "health emergency" in Cremona.

A Lega Serie B statement, confirming the postponement of the youth fixture, read: "Due to the health emergency following contagions for coronavirus which is involving Cremonese, which has also led to the closure of all schools in the city by order of the mayor, and in agreement with the two clubs, Lega B postpones the Primavera 2 match between Cremonese and Brescia scheduled for the Arvedi sports center today, Saturday 22 February, at 2.30 pm."

Stafanie Taylor says West Indies are breathing a collective sigh of relief after surviving a scare against Thailand in their ICC Women’s T20 World Cup opener in Perth.

Taylor’s side beat the tournament debutants by seven wickets in the first game to be held at the WACA Ground, but the win was not as flattering as the scorecard may suggest.

West Indies looked to be on their way to a comfortable victory when restricting their opponents to 78 for nine from the full 20 overs.

But Thailand’s impressive fielding display saw three quick wickets fall before the seventh over – including that of the dangerous Deandra Dottin – to set the nerves racing in the dugout.

“It wasn’t great seeing our wickets fall so early, but I’m relieved I can smile now,” said captain Taylor after scoring 26 not out and taking 3-13 to lead the way for the West Indies women.

“It’s tricky to play a team like Thailand who we have never played before. You have to spend a little bit of time at the crease getting used to their bowlers and we didn’t do that properly at the start of our innings.

“They gave us some nervous moments. Their bowling attack can definitely cause some trouble at this year’s World Cup.

“They have some really good bowlers and I think in a few years’ time, they will be giving teams challenges.”

They may have underperformed at the crease but debutants Thailand produced a moment for the tournament highlight reel from the field with Naruemol Chaiwai producing a direct hit to run out Lee-Ann Kirby and claim her country’s first Women’s T20 World Cup wicket.

Teenager Nannapat Khoncharoenkai top-scored with the bat with 33 from 48 balls but opener Nattaya Boochatam, who was caught early for two, knows her side can’t be relying on the middle-order in future outings.

“We know we could have had a chance if we’d got more runs on the board,” said Boochatam.

“We scored too few today, but we think our performance will make people take us more seriously.

“It has given us motivation to do better and show we can compete on the global stage. It’s been a long time waiting and we are so excited to be out on the ground at a World Cup.”

Wanindu Hasaranga inspired Sri Lanka to a dramatic one-wicket win in the first ODI against West Indies with the highest successful chase at Colombo.

The Windies had set the hosts 290 to win the opening match of the three-game series, Shai Hope leading the way with 115 as he scored his ninth ODI century.

It was a target that looked like it could well be beyond Sri Lanka after their innings lost impetus following a 111-run first-wicket partnership between Avishka Fernando (50) and captain Dimuth Karunaratne (52).

Thisara Perera played an in important role with a 22-ball 32, but when he was caught off the bowling of Alzarri Joseph the match was very much in the balance with Sri Lanka on 253-7.

However, Hasaranga (42 off 39) produced a performance that belied his ODI average of 14.37 to get Sri Lanka over the finish line.

Hasaranga's ability to find the rope – he struck a quartet of fours and one maximum – and inaccurate death bowling from the Windies left the scores level going into the final over.

A direct-hit run out from Sunil Ambris to remove Lakshan Sandakan frayed the nerves a little, but the one run Sri Lanka needed came from a Keemo Paul no-ball off the next delivery.

After an absence of a year, the Jamaica International Invitational (JII) will return to the track and field calendar in 2020 as a part of the World Athletics Continental Series.

 However, the meet will carry a silver designation in the World Athletics Continental World Series launched earlier year.

The Continental World Series will replace the World Challenge events as the second tier of competition under the Diamond League, and the four events that have been controversially cut, either partially or completely, from the latter competition for next season will have senior status within the new format.

The four events - triple jump, discus, 200 metres and 3,000m steeplechase - will be part of the core events in the top, or Gold level of the Tour, which will also have Silver and Bronze levels.

The JII meet was first held in 2004 and for eight years was a World Challenge meet, one tier down from the prestigious Diamond League designation. However, in 2019, due largely to financial constraints, the meet was cancelled.

“It is with regret that we inform you that due to budget issues the 2019 staging of the Jamaica International Invitational IAAF World Challenge Meeting has been cancelled,” a statement on the meeting’s website said.

However, Dr Warren Blake, President of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) said then that he was confident the meet would return in 20020. On Friday, he confirmed that the meet would be back.

According to the JII website, the meet is set for May 2, 2020.

 “There will be a meet this year,” said Dr Blake who added that Athletes’ Liaison Donald Quarrie has been assembling a quality field of athletes to participate at the meet.

However, the meet will be taken down a peg, as it will only have a silver designation among the meets that fall under the umbrella of the Continental World Series.

Dr Blake explained that following the debacle that led to the cancellation of the meet in 2019, earlier this year, World Athletics had sought assurances that there would not be a repeat of what occurred in 2019. They demanded a written guarantee that funding would be in place for this year’s meet.

However, the local organisers missed the deadline by a few days, which resulted in the meet missing the gold-level designation now enjoyed by the Racers Grand Prix set to run off in June.

Dr Blake said World Athletics will be reviewing the Continental Series at the end of the season and they are hopeful that the JII will obtain a gold designation going forward.

A press conference to announce details pertaining to the 2020 Jamaica International Invitational is set to be held sometime in March.

 

 

 

 

A world-class cast of athletes including double-Olympic champion Elaine Thompson Herah, world-champion Anderson Peters and fast-rising teen star Briana Williams, have been confirmed for the 2020 edition of the Grenada Invitational that was launched on Wednesday at the Radisson Beach Resort, St. George’s.

Roston Chase is a man in great form as West Indies prepare to face Sri Lanka in a One-Day International Series. The allrounder struck a century, took two wickets and held a brilliant caught and bowled, as West Indies warmed up for the opening One-Day International with a dominant six-wicket victory over the Sri Lanka Board President’s XI on Thursday.

Playing in their final pre-series contest at Chilaw Marians Cricket Club Ground in Katunayake, the visitors easily chased down their target of 277 for just four wickets with 21 balls to spare, thanks to Chase’s 136 off 113 balls.

Opener Shai Hope hit a typically composed 85 off 102 balls while Sunil Ambris saw West Indies over the line with an unbeaten 34 from 44 balls.

The President’s XI had earlier posted 276-8 off their 50 overs. Wicket-keeper Minod Bhanuka made a top score of 69 from 88 balls and Ramesh Mendis played well with a near run-a-ball unbeaten 64.

The West Indies bowling left a little to be desired, as Chase’s 2-45 was only matched by Keemo Paul, who ended with figures of 2-57.

Fabian Allen was economical in his five overs, taking 1-17, while Hayden Walsh Jr had 1-44 from seven and Jason Holder ended with 1-34 from eight.

Romario Shepherd went wicketless for his 62 runs off nine overs while skipper Kieron Pollard had none for 14 from three overs.

In the second half, West Indies found themselves in early trouble at 35-2 in the eighth over when opener Brandon King and Darren Bravo, who made a century earlier this week, both fell in single figures to catches at the wicket.

However, Chase arrived to turn the game in the visitors’ favour, inspiring two successive century stands, first with Hope and then with Ambris. He put on 133 for the third wicket with Hope who stroked 11 fours in his knock, and then added 108 for the fourth wicket with Ambris who counted a four and a six.

Overall, Chase hit 16 fours and a six before he was dismissed with scores level, bowled by new-ball left-arm seamer Vishwa Fernando (2-56).

West Indies will play the first ODI against Sri Lanka on Saturday at the Sinhalese Sports Club. First ball is 9:30am (12 midnight Eastern Caribbean Time/11pm Friday Jamaica Time). The second match will be at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium in Hambantota on February 26 with the third and final ODI on March 1 at the Pallakele International Cricket Stadium in Kandy.

Former Trinidad and Tobago Red Force captain Denesh Ramdin has lashed out at what he claims is a toxic environment under coach Mervyn Dillon.

The 32-year-old batsman was one of five players dropped from the Red Force squad, after a disastrous showing against Barbados Pride last weekend, in the West Indies Championships. Ramdin made a pair of ducks in a 299 runs loss.  The team will take on the Leeward Islands Hurricanes this weekend.

The out of favour Windies player, however, revealed that the issues with the coach seem to spread deeper than just the one game.

“The coach does not want me on the team. We don’t talk, probably a good morning here or there but we don’t communicate,” Ramdin said in an interview with the T&T Guardian.

“It all started last year in St Kitts when we needed 140 runs from 15 overs and I was batting at the time. I called off the game because the next three batsmen to come after me was very young and it would have been difficult to get that score. I was told he left the ground and called the chairman of selectors (Anthony Gray) and the president of the board (Azim Bassarath) to get me fired,” he added.

According to the player, he has officially filed a complaint with the T&T Cricket Board (TTCB) but was told the situation could not be assessed immediately.

“I have complained to the board because this can’t be good for the team. The environment there is not good at all. The players on the team are not comfortable and this cannot be good for the young cricketers on the team.”

 

 

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