Paul-Andre Walker

Paul-Andre Walker

Paul-Andre is the Managing Editor at SportsMax.tv. He comes to the role with almost 20 years of experience as journalist. That experience includes all facets of media. He began as a sports Journalist in 2001, quickly moving into radio, where he was an editor before becoming a news editor and then an entertainment editor with one of the biggest media houses in the Caribbean.

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)

With the Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia set to begin for the West Indies on Saturday with a game against Thailand, the team’s captain Stafanie Taylor is in a nostalgic mood.

Taylor remembers four years ago when the West Indies lifted the trophy after an unlikely victory against Australia in the final.

“Winning the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had in my career, and I’d love nothing more than to win it all over again,” said Taylor.

The West Indies women have gone through some lean times since that victory but played solidly enough to make it to the semi-final in 2018.

Since then, the team has struggled even more but Taylor, having had the experience of winning this competition before, believes her team can overcome the odds and do so again.

“I have played a lot of games over the years but the memories of India 2016 stand out so much.

Looking back on it, I’m just hoping that we can replicate it again this year – both the feeling that we had as a team and the impact that individual players had on the tournament from start to finish,” she said.

Taylor went on to explain that the will to win the competition in 2016 was great and the team played each delivery of each match as if it were the most important of their careers. That attitude, she says needs to be replicated if the underdogs are to make a repeat of grabbing a second T20 World Cup title.

“Four years ago was a perfect storm for us. We really wanted to win, and I think we left all we had on the field throughout the tournament, especially in the final against Australia.

We had never made it beyond the semi-finals before, while they were looking to win the title for the fourth successive time, so we knew it would be a really big challenge for us.

But we went out there and did it for our country, creating memories that we won’t forget,” said Taylor.

“This time around, we just need to do that again, play our game and push until the last ball to see how far that can take us. Winning the title and bringing the trophy back to the West Indies would be success for us.”

Reggae Boyz team manager, Roy Simpson, has pledged support for Darren Mattocks and said no decision would be taken regarding his position with the national team until a verdict in the case has been arrived at.

Mattocks will formally be advised of the charges against him on February 27, though reports have already circulated that he has been charged with one count of making a false, fraudulent or incomplete insurance claim, and another count of theft by deception in Carroll Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania.

“When I spoke with him, he was quite private with it. I didn’t press him about it. I just reached out to him to let him understand that the entire nation is aware of what has happened and that if he needs our support in any way, shape or form that he thinks we are capable of executing, we will assist,” Simpson explained on Jamaican radio station Hitz 92 FM during its programme, Sports Grill, earlier this week.

According to reports, the charges stem from a single-car accident on January 20 last year.

The reports, alleged to have come from the Attorney General’s office, said Mattocks and a passenger were aboard a BMW X6 from New York City to Cincinnati on State Route 70, near Monongahela, Pennsylvania, when the Reggae Boy lost control of the vehicle and crashed.

According to those same reports, the insurance on the vehicle had lapsed at the time of the accident and Mattocks is alleged to have taken out a new policy hours after the accident before making a claim.

Still, Simpson does not want to make too many waves until the case is complete.

“I wouldn’t want to pre-empt a verdict because you don’t want to put yourself in a position where you defend a situation and it goes the other way, so everybody is awaiting the outcome,” said Simpson.

The team manager also indicated that Mattocks was confident he would be vindicated when all was said and done.

“When I spoke to him he was quite confident that he would be vindicated so we await,” said Simpson.

The court case may have a very deleterious impact on Mattocks career in the MLS where he plays for FC Cincinnati.

Other reports had suggested that Mattocks, who has scored just three goals in 21 appearances for Cincinnati, was at odds with the coach and, in essence, the franchise.

“He also pointed out and we were aware that the relationship between himself and FC Cincinnati had been strained prior to this situation,” said Simpson, responding to reports that former Cincinnati coach, Ron Jans had said Mattocks was not in the team’s plans this season.

“It is a fact that he had asked to be traded and this situation has put a hurdle in his way. Hopefully, he can get through it and then start playing again,” said Simpson.

Mattocks is being represented by David J Shrager, who has pointed to Mattocks record of being a law-abiding citizen as part proof that the situation is just a misunderstanding.

Mattocks is a veteran of eight years in the MLS, playing in 207 league games and scoring 40 goals for Vancouver Whitecaps, Portland Timbers, and DC United, before his move to Cincinnati.

Mattocks has also turned out for the Reggae Boyz 45 times, scoring 15 goals along the way.

“My client respects both the laws of both his native country [Jamaica] and the United States. He has never been in any kind of criminal trouble whatsoever in his life, and this matter is merely a misunderstanding regarding insurance laws here in Pennsylvania. We look forward to clearing up this matter. We have been cooperating with the courts and continue to do so. We look forward to resolving this matter expeditiously,” read a statement from Shrager’s office.

West Indies women will get their T20 World Cup in Australia off to a start this Saturday with an opener against Thailand but have much improvement to make if they are to reach the heady heights they have in recent times.

There will be two groups of five competing for progress to the semi-finals, with the top two from each group making it through.

The West Indies find themselves in Group B along with England, South Africa, Pakistan and Thailand.

West Indies had a successful tournament in 2018, reaching the semi-finals before being knocked out by the eventual champions Australia. Whilst their form in the format has not been ideal over the last few years, they still have some of the most exciting players in the tournament lining up for them.

Deandra Dottin is among the best attacking batters in the world, particularly if she's facing spin - in the last two years she scores at 8 runs per over against spinners, and only gets out every 38 balls.

With ball in hand, captain Stafanie Taylor will be looking to Shakera Selman to make inroads at the top of the inning - nobody swings the ball more than her over the last two years of T20I cricket, and on the hard fast pitches of Australia, movement through the air will be crucial.

If all goes to plan, West Indies will be more than confident of progressing to the knockout stages.

England made the final in the last edition of the T20 World Cup before, like West Indies, being eliminated by Australia. Heather Knight's side are still somewhat in transition, but a new-found balance relying on Nat Sciver to bowl four overs has allowed them to play an extra specialist batsman - it's given the batting line-up some serious oomph. On the bowling side of things, Sophie Ecclestone is a very important part of the English attack. A tall left-arm orthodox spinner, no player has taken more wickets for England in T20Is since the start of 2018 than Ecclestone, with 35 wickets in that time at an average of 16.82. Offering control as well as attacking threat, she'll be the likely fulcrum of the England attack. Knight will see anything but progress from the group as abject failure, and they'll be eager to go all the way.

Pakistan bowl 76 per cent spin over the last two years - that’s the most of any team in the world during that period. Much like Bangladesh in Group A, this does at least give them a clear blueprint to work to a basic structure they can focus on in the absence of many acclaimed stars. If they have one standout player it's Bismah Maroof, who has notched up 782 T20I runs in the last two years, comfortably the most of any Pakistan batter and the 11th most for anyone in the world. If anyone in Pakistan green is going to spring a shock on the opposition, it'll be her.

In contrast to Pakistan, 76 per cent of the deliveries sent down from South Africa over the last two years, come from pace bowlers, the most of any side in the competition. They were a disappointment at the last T20 World Cup, not reaching the semi-finals. Their bowling is mixed, but their batting is likely to focus around a few key individuals, and one in particular. Alyssa Healy is renowned as an absolute colossus, but Chloe Tryon - at least statistically - is almost keeping pace with her. A powerful left-hander, Tryon is particularly effective against spin bowling, rocketing along at 8.6 runs per over (compared to 7.6 runs per over against seamers). The South African has a particular preference for hitting off spinners, scoring 180  from 113 deliveries against off-break bowlers in T20I cricket. Given how much spin is bowled in T20 cricket, this sets Tryon apart, her strength and power meaning that she doesn’t need pace on the ball to cause damage - South Africa will be looking to her to really lift the scoring rate when she’s at the crease.

Thailand are the most notable presence at this T20 World Cup, an unfamiliar presence in top-level cricket for both men and women. However, much of their success in recent years and in qualification is down to Nattaya Boochatham. A skilful right-arm seamer, Boochatham has taken a lot of wickets since the start of 2018; in fact, in that time period, only Poonam Yadav has taken more international T20 wickets than Boochatham. Undoubtedly, this has been given a boost by the standard of opposition that Thailand have been facing, but it’s been Boochatham who has done the damage in those matches. If Thailand are going to lay a glove on any side at this tournament, she’ll have to be at her best.

Unbeaten centuries from Devon Smith and Kavem Hodge helped the Windward Islands Volcanoes bat their way out of an outright loss against the Guyana Jaguars on Sunday’s final day of their West Indies Championship game at St George’s Park.

Scores in the match, the Volcanoes, 318 and 273-1, the Jaguars, 426.

The Volcanoes began the day 62 runs in arrears after their first innings 318 on the back of half-centuries from Hodge, 53, Keron Cottoy, 56, and Shane Shillingford, 63, was overhauled by the Jaguars, who benefitted from Leon Johnson’s unbeaten 189, and Christopher Barnwell’s 107 to be in a strong position, some 108 runs ahead.

The Volcanoes, after losing Roland Cato on two, steadily set about overhauling the deficit, ending Saturday on 46-1 with Smith on 16 and Hodge on 17.

The two were not to be parted when they resumed on Sunday morning, as an enthralling game of cricket ended in a stalemate.

Smith faced 262 deliveries on his way to 147, while Hodge would score an even hundred from 227 balls.

Smith struck 12 fours and a six on his way to the total, while Hodge was helped to his three figures with 11 boundaries.

For the Jaguars, Keon Joseph ended with figures of 0-21 from 10 overs, Nial Smith had 0-41 also from 10, while first-innings heroes, Devendra Bishoo and Veerasammy Permaul also ended wicketless, going for 52 runs off 17 and 41 off 19 respectively.

It was also a bad day with the ball for Johnson, who bowled five overs for 25 runs and Barnwell, who could only manage 0-32 from eight overs.

The only bowler to enjoy any form of success was Raymon Reifer, 1-50 off 13 overs.

Reifer trapped Cato leg before wicket late Saturday but toiled in vain on the following day.

The Barbados Pride have a massive 329-run lead going into the final day of their West Indies Championship game against the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force in Bridgetown.

After scoring a paltry 209 in their first innings, the Pride hit back by skittling out the Red Force for just 175 before returning to the crease to rack up 342 and put pressure on the visitors who are now struggling at 48-4.

When the Pride bat for a second time, Kraigg Brathwaite scored 58, Sheyne Moseley had a wonderful knock of 155, and Kevin Stoute chipped in with an important 55.

Jeremy Solozano, with an even 50, was the only person to lay down a significant mark on the scoreboard in the Red Force’s 175.

On Sunday morning, Joshua Da Silva, on 23, and Yannic Cariah, on 12, will resume batting for the Red Force with Solozano, 5, Yannick Ottley, 1, Jason Mohammed, 5, and Denesh Ramdin, 0, all back in the pavilion.

Kemar Roach, 2-25, and Chemar Holder, 2-13, have been the destroyers so far.

Roach and Holder had bagged two wickets when they bowled to the Red Force the first time out, providing good support to Keon Harding, who had ended with 5-57.

The Guyana Jaguars have a 62-run lead headed into the final day of their West Indies Championship game against the Windward Islands Hurricanes at St George’s.

The Jaguars, thanks to 189 from skipper Leon Johnson, and 107 from Christopher Barnwell had made light work of the Volcanoes’ 318 all-out in the first innings, scoring 426.

That 318 was made on the back of half-centuries from Kaveem Hodge, 53, Keron Cottoy, 56, and Shane Shillingford, 53.

Devendra Bishoo, 4-73, and Veerasammy Permaul, 4-59, were the best of the Jaguars bowling before their batsmen found it easy going to score 426.

Batting a second time, the Volcanoes made it to 46-1 at the close of play on the third day.

Devon Smith, 16, and Hodge, 17, are the not-out batsmen with Cato the only man back in the pavilion, falling leg-before off the bowling of Raymon Reifer.

The Jamaica Scorpions are in a race against time headed into the final day of their West Indies Championship game against the Leeward Islands Hurricanes on Sunday at the Trelawny Muli-Purpose Stadium.

Scores in the match so far, the Scorpions, 385, and the Hurricanes, 227 and 134-4.

The Scorpions, batting first, posted the competitive total thanks to Jermaine Blackwood’s 98 and Denis Smith’s 84.

In reply, only Montcin Hodge, 52, and Terance Ward, 65, made it to landmarks while Amir Jangoo scored 35 before he was run out.

Patrick Harty was the pick of the Scorpions bowling, bagging 4-43 on the way to restricting the Hurricanes to just 227.

Batting a second time and facing a deficit of 158, the Hurricanes made a fight of it but were pegged back by Nicholas Gordon’s 2-44.

That fight came mostly from the bat of Kieran Powell, who scored 54 before Gordon had him caught by Smith.

1-37 from Harty and 1-27 from Pete Salmon left the Hurricanes 24 runs short with just six second-innings wickets still intact.

The Hurricanes could bat for a long time tomorrow and end the match in a stalemate, as Jahmar Hamilton, 12, and Ward, 20, have hunkered down.

The Scorpions, on the other hand, will look to get rid of these six wickets as soon as possible and set to the task of overhauling what they hope will be a very small target. They currently lead by 24 runs.

Janieve Russell and Stephenie-Ann McPherson’s Muller Indoor Grand Prix experience was something they would both want to forget.

On Saturday in Glasgow, McPherson had a stumble and coincidence would have it that she clipped her Jamaican teammate, Russell, leaving neither with a chance of earning a podium finish in the 400 metres at the Grand Prix.

McPherson did not finish the race, while Russell would end fifth in a pedantic time of 60.87 seconds. There were six entrants.

The race was won by Great Britain’s Jessie Knight, who clocked 51.57 seconds. She finished ahead of Poland’s Justyna Święty-Ersetic, who hit the tape in a time of 51.68.

The Netherlands’ Lisanne de Witte was well back in third, clocking 53.25 seconds, while Polish runner, Iga Baumgart-Witan was fourth in 53.97 seconds.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has taken her good form from last season when she won the women’s 100 metres at the IAAF World Championships of Athletics indoors, winning the Muller Indoor Grand Prix 60-metre in Glasgow on Saturday.

Fraser-Pryce was in good company when she won the event in 7.16 seconds ahead of Côte d'Ivoire’s Muriel Ahouré, who hit the line in 7.22.

Also lining up in Glasgow on Saturday was Jamaica’s Natasha Morrison, who after showing some potential, has gone through two very lean seasons.  

Morrison was well back in third, finishing in 7.30 seconds. The Jamaican hit the tape ahead of Great Britain’s Amy Hunt, 7.36.

Hunt’s countrymate Ama Pipi was fifth in 7.42 while Katarzyna Sokólska of Poland was sixth in 7.44.

Rounding out the eight were Slovenia’s Maja Mihalinec, 7.46, and the Netherland’s Naomi Sydney, 7.52.

Two Jamaicans, Akeem Bloomfield and Nathon Allen, had contrasting outings at this weekend’s Muller Indoor Grand Prix meeting in Glasgow over 400 metres.

Bloomfield was an easy winner, clocking 46.20 seconds, to get the better of the United States’ Obi Igbokwe, 46.41, and Kuwait’s Yousef Karam, 46.49.

Allen, however, who is returning from an injury that stopped him from finding his way to last year’s IAAF World Championships of Athletics, found the going tough and rounded out the eight-man field in 47.89 seconds.

Czech Republic’s Pavel Maslák, 46.51, and Great Britain’s James Williams, 47.26, were the other athletes to finish ahead of Allen.

West Indies Under-19 paceman Jayden Seales is not resting on his laurels after brilliant performances in the just-concluded youth World Cup but is eyeing improvement with a view to breaking into the senior ranks.

Seales was one of the U19 World Cup’s best pacers with 10 wickets on the way to helping the West Indies to a fifth-place finish.

Now Seales wants to see what he can achieve in first-class cricket and from their break into the West Indies Test team.

“I always told my father I want to play Test cricket. I want to open the bowling in Test cricket,” said Seales.

The pacer, who grabbed 4-49 to help the young West Indies to a three-wicket win over pre-tournament favourites Australia in its opener, understands that there is work to be done to make the transition, but is more than willing to put in the hard yards.

“For me right now it is about staying fit, training harder, getting myself ready to play four-day cricket, and hopefully get into West Indies A team or the senior team soon enough to play for the senior team in Test cricket,” he said.

Seales went wicketless against England but his 0-21 from 10 overs was impressive nonetheless. His 4-19 against Nigeria in the final game of the first round meant the West Indies were unbeaten and looked dangerous ahead of a quarterfinal encounter against New Zealand.

He also went wicketless against New Zealand but his figures of 0-21 were again a testament to his fine bowling.

Seales’ exploits did not go unnoticed by the ICC, who picked him in the team of the tournament as one of two West Indians, the other being allrounder Nyeem Young.

“For me personally, it was a good performance. Coming off the tri-series (against Sri Lanka and England) I did not have the best performance,” he said.

“I wanted to do better for the team so I trained very hard when I came back home and in the World Cup itself [in] the training sessions I worked hard.”

West Indies star allrounder Andre Russell is set to undergo a fitness test with a view to making him part of the region’s bid for a third lien on the Twenty20 World Cup set for Australia this year.

It has been more than a year and a half since Russell last represented the West Indies in a T20 International with the 2019 World Cup marking the last time he suited up for the side.

During that World Cup Russell was unable to finish a game without treatment and seemed in real pain. He had to do knee surgery after limping out of one game, but seems on the comeback trail, having played in a number of domestic T20 games around the world.

“Hopefully, in the next few weeks he will undergo what is described by the medical team as a return-to-play protocol,” said Cricket West Indies CEO Johnny Grave.

“So he will go through a fitness test to see how his knees have recovered from the injuries that he suffered and allowing us to see if he would be passed fit medically – which is the first stage – and injury free in terms of his ability to both bat and bowl.

“He would then build up his fitness levels and hopefully through performances in the Indian Premier League (IPL) make himself available for selection for the West Indies.”

Russell is expected to turn out for the Kolkata Knight Riders when the IPL season bowls off on March 29 later this year.

Russell’s partner at KKR, mystery spinner Sunil Narine is also somebody the West Indies are keeping a close watch on.

Narine played through a finger injury during last year’s Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL), and has also, for a number of years, struggled with his action.

“He’s obviously been a player that has been a fantastic servant and player for West Indies, particularly in white ball cricket, but at this stage, Sunil is still working on his action,” said Grave.

“He obviously had the finger injury which took him out and made him struggle to bowl, and we’re hoping that he’s going to be fully fit … and be able to bowl his full portfolio of deliveries for the IPL and then fingers crossed, from the West Indies point of view, all goes well and he can follow that through into the CPL and hopefully be in form and be available for the World Cup.”

The T20 World Cup in Australia takes place in October.

West Indies all-rounder Nyeem Young and paceman Jayden Seales have made the ICC’s U19 Cricket World Cup Team of the Tournament.

The young West Indies finished fifth in the competition won by Bangladesh, who were claiming their maiden world title.

Despite not making it to the semi-final, the West Indies did have some impressive performances with both bat and ball.

Young, for instance, became the first West Indian to take a five-for (5-45) and score a half century (66) in an under-19 match when he helped the side to a dominant victory over England in the first round. His 61 was also instrumental in helping the West Indies get past Australia.

Young would end the tournament with an average of 28 with the bat and eight wickets from six games at an average of 26.75.

For his performances, Young makes the side as the designated number six batsman.

Understandably, further down the order lies Seales, who is an out-and-out strike bowler, having taken 10 wickets with a best of 4-19 against Australia at an impressive average of 18.3. He was also miserly when not taking wickets, ending the tournament with an economy rate of 3.89 runs per over.

Only India and Bangladesh have more players in the team of the tournament with Yashasvi Jaiswal, Ravi Bishnoi and Kartik Tyagi, making the cut.

Tournament winners Bangladesh have Mahmudul Hasan Joy and Shahadat Hossain making the team as batsmen, with Akbar Ali chosen to keep wicket.

Afghanistan, like the West Indies, have two players in the side with Ibrahim Zadran and Shafiqullah Ghafari making the cut.

Canada’s Akil Kumar is the team’s 12th man.

One of the first things that Rudolph Speid wants to get done as he gets set to head up the Jamaica Football Federation’s Technical Committee is to see the organisation’s teams better prepared for each opponent they come across.

According to Speid, who along with Dennis Chung, were appointed to the JFF board on Tuesday, a lack of resources within the JFF was used too often as a crutch by the organisation’s administrators and he intended to stop it.

“We know we have to work within the resources that we have but a lot of the times we throw up our hands and don’t go all the way because of a lack of resources. Those are some of the things that we have to try and eliminate,” said Speid after the press conference where he was appointed.

Chung was chosen to lead the organisation’s Finance Committee.

Speid, former head of the Kingston & St Andrew Football Association and JFF Treasurer, said he believed the teams went into games with less than the information about their opponents than they should have.  

“A lot of the times I don’t think we analyze our opponents properly,” he said.

The job of doing this analysis, Speid believes, falls to the Technical Committee and the act could make all the difference to the success of the country.

“That is something that we’re going to be doing going forward and on a regular basis so we have a better understanding,” he said.

Speid also indicated that there was much to be done by the Technical Committee if its tenure was to be successful.

“Yeah, it is a lot of work if we do it properly but I am committed to doing it properly,” he said.

Speid is also president of the Red Stripe Premier League outfit, Cavalier SC.

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