Following their 1-1 draw with South Africa back in April, the Reggae Girlz will be back in action on Sunday when they take on a strong Panama unit, hoping to exact revenge following their 4-2 penalty shoot-out loss in the World Cup qualifiers last year.

 A bit of the aforementioned recent history seemed very much on the mind of head coach Hue Menzies as he assembled a strong squad to face the Central Americans on home soil.

Veteran attacking player Khadija Shaw will once again lead the line and will be joined by returning attacking AS Roma based midfielder Trudi Carter, who has been out for four months due to injury.

 Menzies is expected to name his final 23-man squad for the World Cup this week, and so he will be looking closely at some players.

 “We are in the last week of selecting our group and some of these players were told to step up if they are to make the cut. We have brought in the technology to test some of these players and so I feel it will come down to a more psychological aspect for some of these girls,” Menzies said.

 The coach had high praises for University of Tennessee graduate Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw who showed excellent physical ability in practice.

 “When you look at the work ethic of someone like ‘Bunny’ it shows that some of the senior players are ready for the task at hand, it is very encouraging heading into our final set of warm-up games,” he added.

 Following the Panama friendly on Sunday, the squad will depart on Monday for a camp in Florida where the likes of players like Jody Brown and Marlo Sweatman are expected to join up with the team.

The Girls will then depart for the United Kingdom for a friendly against Scotland in Edinburgh on May 28.

 

South Africa paceman Kagiso Rabada is expected to be fit for the start of the Cricket World Cup.

The 23-year-old suffered a back injury while playing for Delhi Capitals in the Indian Premier League, cutting short his participation in the competition.

However, Rabada - the leading wicket-taker in this year's IPL - is expected to recover in time to face hosts England in the first game of the World Cup on May 30.

Proteas team manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee said: "Kagiso Rabada developed a significant lower back injury, what we call a lumbar muscle strain, with associated muscle spasm while playing in this year's IPL.

"Thankfully, investigations revealed that there was no bony pathology. The expected recovery is two to three weeks, and we are confident he will make a full recovery to be part of the World Cup squad."

South Africa have lost one fast bowler for the 50-over tournament, with Anrich Nortje replaced by Chris Morris on Tuesday due to a hand injury.

The Proteas also have concerns over Dale Steyn (shoulder) and Lungi Ngidi (side strain), so news that Rabada is not seriously injured will come as a huge relief.

South Africa bowler Anrich Nortje will miss the Cricket World Cup due to a fractured right thumb, with all-rounder Chris Morris called up as his replacement.

The Proteas revealed Nortje, who only made the first of his four one-day international appearances in March, suffered the injury in a net session in Port Elizabeth on Monday and required surgery that could keep him out for up to eight weeks.

With South Africa beginning their World Cup campaign against Bangladesh on June 2, Nortje has been withdrawn from the 15-man squad and replaced by Morris, who has not appeared in an ODI since February 2018.

It is a further setback to the country's bowling ranks, with Kagiso Rabada and Dale Steyn having left the Indian Premier League early due to respective back and shoulder problems.

On Morris, National Selection Panel convener Linda Zondi said: "Chris has always been in our plans and is our next best option with the ball.

"He has the pace and death-bowling skills which will be vital in the UK, and also gives us that depth as a deadly finisher with the bat. We have had concerns around his injuries and workload capabilities but this is an opportunity for him to make a mark on the biggest stage.

"Admittedly, the injuries ahead of the tournament have been frustrating but I continue to have confidence that the players we have selected will make the country proud."

Kagiso Rabada has given South Africa a scare ahead of the Cricket World Cup, suffering a back injury that has ended his stint in the Indian Premier League.

Delhi Capitals paceman Rabada is the leading wicket-taker in the 2019 IPL, claiming 25 at an average of 14.72 to help his side secure a play-off place.

However, Rabada did not feature against Chennai Super Kings on Wednesday due to a niggle and the 23-year-old will play no further part in the tournament.

"It is indeed very hard for me to leave the Delhi Capitals at this stage of the tournament," said Rabada, who will return to South Africa for further assessment.

"But with the World Cup just a month away, a collective decision has been made for me in this regard. It's been a tremendous season for me with the Delhi Capitals, both on and off the field, and I truly believe that our team can win the trophy."

The Proteas also have injury concerns over fellow pacemen Dale Steyn (shoulder), Lungi Ngidi (side strain) and Anrich Nortje (shoulder).

Faf du Plessis' side face tournament hosts England in the first game of the World Cup on May 30.

Sale Sharks have pulled off a major coup with the signing of South Africa international Lood de Jager on a three-year deal.

The lock will arrive at Sale from the Bulls ahead of the 2019-20 Premiership season or, if selected, following his country's Rugby World Cup campaign, which gets under way in Japan in September.

De Jager, a mammoth second row at six feet nine inches tall, has 38 international caps and was named captain of the Bulls ahead of the 2019 Super Rugby season.

"Firstly, it is a great honour for me to join Sale Sharks, they are a club with great tradition and really high ambitions and they are building something really special," De Jager said.

"It's exciting to be a part of and I'm looking forward to joining up with the guys in Manchester later in the year."

"I am extremely pleased to secure the services Lood for the 2019-20 season," added Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond.

"He is a world class line-out operator with lots of experience at the highest level and offers a huge physical presence around the pitch.

"Lood's signing is a statement of intent in our endeavour to become a force in the Premiership and Europe over the next three years."

West Indies fast bowling legend and Bangladesh bowling coach Courtney Walsh has warned the team’s seamers to be wary of difficult conditions in England.

The Asian country will be one of 10 teams that take the field when the tournament gets under way on May 30.  Unlike drier conditions on the subcontinent, a cloudier atmosphere with more moisture in the air can cause the cricket ball to swing.

The bowling great believes doing well in different conditions will come down to discipline and use of intelligence.

  “It will be a big challenge,” Walsh said.

“There are going to be some good cricket pitches, which are batting-friendly. We have to be intelligent and try to execute well. We have to read the conditions and the surfaces we play. Some places the ball might swing more than the others. We have to assess when we get there,” he added.

Bangladesh will bowl off the tournament against South Africa on June 2nd at the Oval in London.

“Most of the pitches will be docile and flat. We have to work on our variations and execution,” he said. “Everybody studies one another these days. So they know our strengths and weaknesses. Likewise, we also know theirs.”

 

 

South Africa have opted for Hashim Amla over Reeza Hendricks in their 15-man Cricket World Cup squad.

Veteran Amla represents the more experienced option and, in the only real call for the selectors to make, he has been preferred to Hendricks.

The rest of the squad was as expected, with Faf du Plessis set to lead the Proteas in England and Wales.

"We are very happy with the squad we have been able to put together and have every confidence in their ability to do our country proud at the World Cup," said selector Linda Zondi.

"The fact that we have managed to win our last five series in a row in this format against Zimbabwe, Australia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka twice underlines the quality of the team that Faf will lead into the contest.

"The final selection is also the result of a very rigorous search we have conducted, leaving no stone unturned, to make sure that we have made the best use of the options available to us."

Lungi Ngidi and Anrich Nortje missed the Indian Premier League with injuries, but both have recovered in time to be included in the final group.

Meanwhile, JP Duminy has suitably recovered from shoulder surgery to take his place in the squad.

 

South Africa squad in full: Faf du Plessis, Aiden Markram, Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, JP Duminy, Dwaine Pretorius, Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Imran Tahir, Tabraiz Shamsi.

South Africa Rugby is rolling out its use of the blue card concussion system to the Currie Cup First Division.

The system sees players suffering with concussion or suspected concussion shown a blue card and immediately removed from the match.

The incident will then be recorded through a blue card report in order to ensure doctors are able to advise on management of the issue.

Blue cards have been used in youth tournaments in the past two years and will now be actioned more widely, including in the second tier of the Currie Cup.

The system still will not be used in elite adult tournaments or matches where World Rugby has approved the alternative use of head injury assessments.

Jamaica Reggae Girlz head coach Hue Menzies insists the management team is close to selecting a 26-man squad, following a 1-1 draw with South Africa in a friendly international on Sunday.

The match, which featured goals from South Africa’s Desiree Ellis and an equaliser from Khadija Shaw, was a part of both teams’ preparation for this year's FIFA Women's World Cup in France.

Despite admitting that the team would have preferred to play more than one game on the tour, Menzies revealed that the training sessions had also been helpful in narrowing down the final squad.

“We just have to go back and meet with the staff.  We still have a few technicalities we have to wait on with FIFA but once we get all that stuff sorted we can finalise our roster,” Menzies said.

“We’ll take 23 for the games but we’ll take 26 on the trip so that gives us an additional three players to be on that trip.  So obviously if someone gets injured we’ll have those alternates training,” he added.

The Reggae Girlz have been drawn in Group C at the FIFA Women's World Cup alongside Brazil, Italy and Australia. They will get their campaign started on June 9 against Brazil. They will play Italy on June 14 and Australia on June 18.

Reggae Girlz head coach Hue Menzies has said that Sunday’s match against South Africa is the last chance for some of his players to secure a spot on the squad that will compete at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup this summer.

South Africa's bowling attack blew Sri Lanka away as the Proteas claimed a 16-run win and the series in the second Twenty20 international.

Big efforts from Reeza Hendricks (65) and Rassie van der Dussen (64) with the bat took South Africa to 180-3, but it was the work of the bowlers early in Sri Lanka's innings that made all the difference.

Chris Morris claimed three wickets while Dale Steyn and Tabraiz Shamsi took two apiece as the Proteas threatened to rattle through the Sri Lankan batsmen.

They at least saw out the 20-over innings, but Isuru Udana's unbeaten 84 could not carry Sri Lanka back into the match and they fell short on 164-9.

South Africa made a sloppy start with the bat as Aiden Markram swiftly chipped to Lasith Malinga, yet they then took complete control and Hendricks and Van der Dussen each cruised past half-centuries.

The score was still a little on the low side as those two departed, however, and it fell to skipper JP Duminy to give their total an ultimately decisive boost.

Duminy made 33 not out from 17 in a late flurry and the Proteas concluded their innings with 15 from the last over.

And South Africa optimism soared further thanks to a stunning start with the ball as Steyn (2-34) took a pair for five runs from his first six deliveries.

Morris (3-32) weighed in with his own double-wicket over shortly afterwards, with further dismissals following steadily thereafter.

Only Udana offered any sort of resistance, but eight fours and six maximums from his 48 balls - plus another 15-run final over - could not stop the Proteas sealing a comprehensive victory.

South Africa pacemen Lungi Ngidi and Anrich Nortje have been ruled out of the Indian Premier League.

Ngidi was due to play for the Chennai Super Kings in the upcoming tournament, but the quick suffered a side strain in the fifth one-day international against Sri Lanka.

Nortje signed up for the Kolkata Knight Riders for what was scheduled to be his first taste of the IPL.

However, the 25-year-old, who made his Proteas debut in the ODI series sweep of Sri Lanka, will also play no part this season after damaging his right shoulder.

Proteas team manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee said: "Lungi felt discomfort while bowling during the last ODI against Sri Lanka at Newlands and immediately stopped bowling.

"Further scans revealed a Grade II muscle strain which will need up to four weeks of rest followed by a rehab programme leading up to the World Cup.

"Nortje sustained a right shoulder injury and will be sidelined for six weeks.

"Unfortunately this injury will rule him out of the upcoming IPL, but with the World Cup in sight, it is important for us to make sure all of the World Cup hopefuls will be fit for selection."

South Africa recovered from a late batting collapse to record a Super Over triumph at the end of a dramatic first match in their Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka.

Replying to the tourists' below-par total of 134-7 in Cape Town, the Proteas required 18 from the last four overs but ended up having to scramble a bye from the final delivery just to tie the scores.

David Miller and Rassie van der Dussen - who had shared a stand of 66 earlier in proceedings - managed to pick up 14 runs in South Africa's extra over, the former taking Lasith Malinga for a six and a four.

Leg-spinner Imran Tahir then conceded just five - two of which were wides – to secure victory for the hosts, who go 1-0 up with two games to play.

Quinton de Kock kept wicket for the Super Over but it was Miller who had donned the gloves earlier in proceedings, a decision taken by South African team management with this year’s Cricket World Cup in mind.

The stand-in claimed a catch from his second delivery on the job and also completed a stumping as Sri Lanka laboured with the bat, despite Kamindu Mendis hitting three fours and two sixes in his 41 from 29 deliveries.

Thisara Perera (19) and Dhananjaya de Silva (14) made late contributions without putting too much pressure on the home bowlers, Andile Phehlukwayo the pick of the attack with 3-25.

Miller and Van der Dussen's fourth-wicket partnership, the duo making 41 and 34 respectively, put South Africa on course after a slow start yet both fell in the same over from Malinga, who ended with excellent figures of 2-11 from his four overs.

Isuru Udana held his nerve at the death, mixing up his pace superbly to leak just four runs, but wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella crucially missed a shy at the stumps to clinch victory off the last ball, allowing South Africa to draw level.

Miller then made the most of his second opportunity in the middle as South Africa eventually prevailed, meaning they can clinch the series at Centurion on Friday.

Andrew Hall says Cricket South Africa (CSA) must let young players know how highly they are regarded to prevent the cream of the crop from signing Kolpak deals.

The Proteas were rocked last month when seamer Duanne Olivier turned his back on his country to sign a three-year deal with Yorkshire.

Kyle Abbott and Rilee Rossouw are among the other South Africa internationals who have signed Kolpak deals, while Morne Morkel joined Surrey after ending his Proteas career.

Former South Africa all-rounder Hall expects more to follow, but wants CSA to do everything in its powers to stop promising talent from slipping through the net.

He told Omnisport: "It's a tough one. It's more prevelant to the younger players who are coming through the system. 

"Cricket South Africa must earmark players and have open, honest conversations with them to let them know they have been identified and are being watched.

"They must be encouraged to keep playing and earn a place. There are times when you can't get into the side because of the players who are already established.

"I think back to having to compete with Jacques Kallis, Shaun Pollock and Lance Klusener - three world-class all-rounders - so it was difficult to get into that side and you have to keep working at it.

"But I was spoken to by the people in charge and told I was next in line. It gives you reassurances and that must happen now as the young players coming through are the ones, on the whole, who are going to be targeted."

Hall can understand why Olivier opted to ply his trade in county cricket.

He said of the 26-year-old's move to Headingley: "I would imagine that contract would have been signed last year, I don't think it's the type of thing that at the back end of him doing exceptionally well in the Tests, he'd say 'I'm just going to go and sign a Kolpak deal'.

"I think it was done prior to him having this good run of form where he's played in the system in South Africa [and] done well, he felt he's not going to get given a long run in Test cricket so because of that he signed a Kolpak deal.

"He's got to think of his future and we all know you only get a limited amount of time, so in his position he'll know he will be well looked after at Yorkshire.

"He could end up being there for the next five or 10 years. It's a catch 22 situation for him, but I would imagine with the money being talked of that he was offered, he would not make that in international cricket."

Aiden Markram starred as South Africa beat Sri Lanka by 41 runs on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method to seal a 5-0 ODI series whitewash.

South Africa were cruising towards their target of 226 at Newlands on Saturday and were on 135-2 after 28 overs before a floodlight failure halted play.

Repairs were attempted for two hours before umpires called time on the match, giving the home side victory, with Markram's career-best unbeaten 67 proving decisive.

Promoted to opener in place of the omitted Reeza Hendricks, Markram was dropped twice and capitalised by hitting seven boundaries in a 75-ball knock.

Sri Lanka failed to pass 250 for the fifth time in the series. Any hopes of the tourists setting a competitive total were ended when Kusal Mendis was run out for 56.

Kagiso Rabada took 3-50 for South Africa, while Imran Tahir shone with 2-33 and snatched two catches. It was the last ODI on home soil for Tahir and JP Duminy, who will retire from the format after this year's World Cup. 

Lasith Malinga had called for more application from his batsmen but, after winning the toss, saw openers Avishka Fernando (9) and Upul Tharanga (2) fall inside the first 25 deliveries.

Mendis attempted to anchor the innings by putting on 49 with Oshada Fernando (22) and 62 with Angelo Perera (31), only for Tahir to end both partnerships by drawing edges collected by home skipper Faf du Plessis at slip.

His patient fifty brought up in 72 balls, Mendis looked well set until a dreadful mix-up with Priyamal Perera ended his effort, a third run out in his last six innings.

The efforts of Priyamal Perera, who put on 33 before being caught and bowled by Rabada in the penultimate over, ensured Sri Lanka reached a defendable total, as did those of Isuru Udana (32 off 29 balls), who impressively followed up his 78 in Port Elizabeth.

Sri Lanka's innings was ended with three balls to spare but South Africa did not make a fluent start to their reply, with the in-form Quinton de Kock (6) falling to Malinga in the third over, while Udana dropped a caught and bowled opportunity to remove Markram two balls later.

Makram was dropped again - this time by Oshada Fernando - in the 10th over off Udana's bowling, but the 24-year-old took full advantage of those let-offs, putting on 70 with Du Plessis, who fell for 24 after edging Thisara Perera behind.

Markram's fifty arrived off 58 balls as he built another partnership, this time of 57, with number four Rassie van der Dussen (28no).

The failing lights denied Markram a chance for a ton in a bizarre end to the series. The first of three T20 internationals between the sides takes place in Cape Town on Tuesday.

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