West Indies marked captain Kieron Pollard's 500th T20 game with a dominant victory over Sri Lanka on Wednesday.

Pollard became the first player to feature in 500 T20 matches and surpassed 10,000 runs in the format in Pallekele as the Windies cruised to a 25-run win.

The only other T20 series contested by the Windies this year ended in a 1-1 draw with Ireland. However, on this occasion the reigning T20 world champions provided compelling evidence they could defend their title later this year.

Oshane Thomas took a remarkable 5-28, the third-best figures in the team's T20I history, as Sri Lanka fell well shy of the visitors' 196-4 despite Kusal Perera's 66 off 38 balls.

Lendl Simmons had led the way with the bat for the tourists in the first game of a two-match series, his unbeaten 67 off 51 balls including seven fours and a pair of sixes.

Andre Russell cleared the rope four times in a quickfire 35 off 14 before Pollard, whose jersey was adorned with the number 500, added further impetus with 34 off 15 to help the Windies to their highest T20I score against Sri Lanka.

The hosts' hopes of reaching 197 quickly wilted in the face of a devastating bowling performance from Thomas, who had Avishka Fernando caught behind in the second over.

Shehan Jayasuriya followed with the next delivery and, though Thomas was unable to claim a hat-trick, Kusal Mendis' exit made it three in four balls for the seamer.

That left Sri Lanka on 17-3 but Kusal Perera and Angelo Mathews steadied the innings before the latter picked out a running Russell at midwicket.

Dasun Shanaka was done for pace as Thomas made it a five-for, yet Kusal Perera's stand of 87 with Wanindu Hasaranga (44 off 34) gave Sri Lanka hope.

However, the Windies correctly reviewed an lbw shout against Hasaranga and Kusal Perera was removed six balls later as Russell struck with a near-perfect yorker.

Thisara Perera (11) did offer fleeting resistance but was caught at deep square leg by Sheldon Cottrell who, after Pollard had fittingly taken a diving catch to remove Isuru Udana, rounded things off by cleaning up Lasith Malinga.

Leeward Islands Hurricanes all-rounder Rakheem Cornwall helped himself to an eight-wicket haul to force a draw with Trinidad and Tobago Red Force, in the West Indies Championship fixture at Basseterre.

The Red Force resumed the day at 96 for 6, already under a blistering attack from the burly spinner who removed five of the six batsmen dismissed on the third day.  On the resumption, Cornwall picked up where he left off, accounting for Joshua Da Silva, who battled to 79, before dismissing lower-order batsmen Terrance Hinds (8), Uthman Muhammad(14) and Anderson Phillip (0) as the Red Force collapsed.

With Trinidad and Tobago all-out for 155, the Hurricanes looked set to make it a close contest after needing 191 to win and they took the opportunity.  A strong bowling attack led by Akeal Hosein and Iram Khan, however, prevented the Leewards from having an easy run at the total.

Cornwall, however, returned to have a good go at the target, compiling a brisk 48 from 44 before caught by Khan off Hosein.  Devon Thomas provided solid support with 34 from 82 but the Leewards ran out of time with the score stuck on 183 for 9 and just eight runs short of the target. Hosein ended with figures of 4 for 40, with Khan claiming 3 for 44.

 

Angelo Mathews took four wickets to propel Sri Lanka to a six-run win over West Indies in the third one-day international on Sunday and a 3-0 series sweep.

Batting first after winning the toss, Sri Lanka was bowled out for 307 in 50 overs. Kusal Mendis top-scored with 55 off 48 balls and Dhananjaya de Silva made a 47-ball 51. West Indies in reply narrowly fell short at 301-9.

West Indies seam bowler Alzarri Joseph took 4-65.

Shai Hope top-scored for the West Indies with 72 off 88 balls. Fellow opener Sunil Ambris made a run-a-ball 60 and Nicholas Pooran scored 50. Mathews took 4-59 in 10 overs and was player of the match.

Sri Lanka won the first ODI by one wicket and the second by 161 runs.

Legendary Australian seamer Glenn McGrath has picked West Indies great Brian Lara as a tougher opponent to face than Sachin Tendulkar.

The Australian bowler dismissed the West Indian star more than any other batsman, claiming Lara’s wicket 15 times in 24 matches.  McGrath also had good success in seeing off the Indian legend 13 times, one less than fellow Australian Brett Lee.

“I may have got him out 15 times, but he also scored big hundreds and double hundreds against us when both me and Warnie (Shane Warne) were playing together for Australia,” McGrath told the Times of India.

 “When it was his day, he could do absolutely anything. Sachin was equally as good, but there was something about Brian where he could just keep going and he was slightly harder to bowl to than Sachin. He was more fearless,” he added.

Lara holds the record for the highest individual score in a Test after scoring 400 not out in 2004 against England.  The batsman could also be particularly brutal against Australia.  Lara struck 277 runs against Australia in Sydney, his maiden Test century and the fourth-highest maiden Test century by any batsman.

 

 

 

 

A pugnacious hundred from Kyle Mayers pulled current leaders Barbados Pride out of trouble against Windward Islands Volcanoes in the West Indies Championship on Thursday.

Put into bat, Pride stumbled to 132 for five in the first hour after lunch on a rain-marred day.

But Mayers transformed the complexion of the innings with an array of meaty strokes to all parts of the ground to complete his second hundred of the season, against these same opponents, following his 106 in their first-round match at the Arnos Vale Cricket Ground in St. Vincent

The left-hander, playing for his home franchise after spending four seasons with the Volcanoes, built strong alliances with the lower order to drag the Pride from the precipice, gaining admirable support from Kevin Stoute and West Indies pacer Kemar Roach in successive half-century stands.

Mayers shared 92 with Stoute for the sixth wicket and put on a further 92 for the seventh wicket with Roach to frustrate the Volcanoes in between two brief stoppages for rain.

Stoute scored 46, Roach made 41, Justin Greaves added 38, left-handed opener Shayne Moseley got 36 and West Indies batsman Shamarh Brooks gathered 33.

Mayers’ innings carried him to the brink of becoming the first batsman this season to clear the 500-run mark. He needs only two more.

 

 Guyana Jaguars spin sensation Veersammy Permaul led a stunning fightback for the defending champions, who had seemed on course to be hit for a big total on day one of the West Indies Championship, at Florence Hall.

Led by a half-century from Test batsman Jermaine Blackwood the Scorpions appeared to be on course for a more promising total at 118 for three.  Permaul, however, then grabbed 7-59 from 30.5 overs to destroy the Scorpions batting.

Having racked up wins in their two previous matches, the Scorpions were dismissed about 25 minutes before the close of play.  Blackwood led the way with a typically flamboyant 59, his third half-century in four innings, and Denis Smith made 23 and was the only other Scorpions batsman that passed 20.

 Scorpions were 60 for three when Blackwood and Nkrumah Bonner put on 58 for the fourth wicket.

But there was little resistance be found in the Scorpions batting line-up after Blackwood was dismissed lbw to Permaul, the home team found themselves wobbling on 156 for five.

There was to be no comeback for the Scorpions, and they lost their last five wickets – three to Permaul – for 44.  The spinner has carried his tally of wickets to 37 this season.

West Indies captain Kieron Pollard said that while he could pinpoint a great many things his side got wrong during a one-sided affair against Sri Lanka at Hambantota on Wednesday, he would not go into the business of scapegoating but would talk to his team about what transpired.

Sri Lanka won the game by 161 runs but more importantly, the hosts now hold an unassailable 2-0 lead in their three-match ODI series.

The hosts benefitted from centuries of 127  and 119 from opener Avishka Fernando and Kusal Mendis respectively, the pair helping them to a mammoth 345-8 from their 50 overs. The West Indies did not get close, as only Shai Hope, 51, and Roston Chase, 31, offered any resistance.

The visitors would end on 184 all out against the bowling of Wanindu Hasaranga, 3-30, Lakshan Sandakan, 3-57, and Nuwan Pradeep, 2-37. There was also a wicket for Angelo Matthews, 1-20.

But Pollard did point out that things could have been different had he not dropped Mendis early in the innings and maybe, the series would now be different.

"It was the start we were looking forward to, getting two wickets early. But I put the catch of Kusal Mendis down, otherwise they would have been three down,” said Pollard.

In addition, Pollard believes his side did not have faith in the plans they made.

“We didn't stick to our plans long enough. I don't think we were up to the international standard today. Well bowled to them and well played to them,” he said.

Pollard will now look toward the final game of the series to see if the West Indies can win one.

“We weren't there in all three departments today. We can pinpoint a lot of things but I don't want to go into a lot of details. We'll do that as a team. I cop this one on the chin and we move on to Kandy."

Avishka Fernando and Kusal Mendis combined for a 239-run third-wicket stand to set Sri Lanka on course to thrash West Indies on Wednesday and clinch their three-match ODI series.

Sri Lanka were in complete control of the second one-dayer after opener Fernando (127) and Mendis (119) produced a dominant early showing, teeing up a 161-run triumph in Hambantota.

The hosts did not hit a single six but posted 345-8, the biggest total in men's ODI history not to include a maximum.

And the Windies never looked capable of causing Sri Lanka serious trouble with the bat, opener Shai Hope's knock of 51 their best effort as they were bowled out for an underwhelming 184 with 65 balls remaining.

The tourists' day had started in positive enough fashion, with Kieron Pollard winning the toss, choosing to bowl and then seeing Sheldon Cottrell (4-67) remove home captain Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Perera from consecutive deliveries in only the third over.

But that was just about as good as it got, with Fernando and Mendis subsequently combining for their devastating, match-turning partnership.

They stood together for 228 balls until Alzarri Joseph (3-57) finally made a breakthrough in the 41st over, as Mendis, who survived an early drop from Pollard, top-edged for a comfortable Hope take.

Although Joseph took out both Fernando and Angelo Mathews in his next over, the scoreboard had long since got away from the Windies, and scoring remained steady throughout the remainder of the innings.

The reply was initially solid enough, but Hope left partner Sunil Ambris (17) high and dry for a run out.

Mathews got Hope, and then Wanindu Hasaranga (3-30) came to the fore, his haul including a golden duck for Windies skipper Pollard.

Only brief floodlight failure after the eighth wicket delayed Sri Lanka's progress, with the final two dismissals arriving within four balls of the restart courtesy of Nuwan Pradeep (2-37) and Lakshan Sandakan (3-57).

The West Indies, despite coming up short in the series opener against Sri Lanka, will have plenty of positives to take into a must-win second ODI against the hosts, at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.

The regional team would have been encouraged by its batting, despite the failures of the middle order, with most of the top four coming good before the lower order showed a lot of grit in laying the finishing touches to an innings that had lost significant steam.  Their bowlers couldn’t quite haul them to victory, but they pushed Sri Lanka to the limit, making the home team earn their win.

Sri Lanka will also have been encouraged, most notably the number of contributions they received from all around the batting order.  Now, the key for them would be to retain that level of consistency and seal the series, something they haven’t been quite adept at doing in the recent past.  But with the familiarity of home, and a hard-earned win to boot, they sure do have the belief that it can be done.

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.

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.

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.

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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