A Kieron Pollard heist for the ages saw the Trinbago Knight Riders rescue a seemingly impossible win against the Barbados Tridents, showing the rest of Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2020 that not only can they win without Sunil Narine, but they can also do it without DJ Bravo.

Pollard smashed nine Hero Maximums in his 72 off 28 balls, and though Khary Pierre still had work to do to finish the job, it was the Knight Riders captain who made the game his own.

Johnson Charles started aggressively, cutting Akeal Hosein and whipping Pierre for four then lofting Hosein for six. But Hosein struck in his second over, Shai Hope caught at slip trying to cut a quicker ball, just before rain briefly held things up.

 

Charles took another boundary off Hosein, taking the Tridents to 37 for 1 off the Powerplay. Fawad Ahmed and Pollard kept Kyle Mayers quiet, but Charles swept well off Fawad, paddling for four and lofting for six. At halfway, Charles had 44 of the Tridents’ 59 for 1.

Pollard gave Tion Webster his first T20 over, and while Webster started well it eventually went for nine. Mayers sent a Seales full toss for six, but Charles then steered another full toss straight to point.

Pierre could have dismissed Tridents captain Jason Holder but Webster dropped a low chance at long-off. Mayers finally got hold of Fawad for a pulled four, and after 14 overs the Tridents were 92 for 2.  Hosein though recovered from Sikandar Raza dropping a simple catch off Mayers to bowl Holder as he tried to launch him over midwicket.

Mayers and Corey Anderson scrambled eight off Pollard, but Raza deceived both with drift and turn. Mayers was caught at long-off and Anderson stumped to leave the Tridents on 107 for 5 in the 17th over.

Ashley Nurse and Rashid Khan responded emphatically. Nurse swept then cut Raza for four to get off the mark, and Rashid smacked Fawad for four then pulled him for a Hero Maximum. Fawad though recovered to dismiss Rashid, Raza taking a diving catch at cover. Nurse brilliantly manoeuvred a Seales yorker over point for six, but then a pull went high rather than long and Seifer held the skier.

Pollard gave himself the 20th, and Mitchell Santner pulled him for a wonderful Hero Maximum. The captain recovered to go for just singles off the rest, but the Tridents had what looked a good score on the board.

At the start of the Knight Riders chase, Webster drilled Santner for four to get off the mark, but Holder’s extra bounce did for both him, splicing a pull to mid-on, and the dangerous Colin Munro, edging a cut to Ashley Nurse at slip. At 6 for 2, the Knight Riders were in danger of feeding after just two overs.

The Tridents went to the off-spin of Nurse to target the left-handed Darren Bravo, but the right-handed Lendl Simmons got himself on strike and hammered two contrasting Hero Maximums - the first got barely head high, the second almost cleared the stand.

Holder called on Rashid, and the Afghan answered with a wicket-maiden. Bravo survived an LBW shout playing forward but then fell in that manner playing back. The Knight Riders had stumbled to 27 for 3 off the Powerplay.

Hayden Walsh Jr started nicely, and Raymon Reifer struck with a cutter that Seifert edged to the keeper. Hosein guided a four past third man, but at 48 for 4, the Knight Riders were well behind the game at halfway.

Santner conceded just two, nearly having Hosein stumped twice. Off the returning Rashid, Simmons barely cleared deep midwicket with a sweep and Hosein was lucky his loft didn’t carry to long-on. But the luck did not last, as Hosein sliced a Walsh Jr googly far enough for Holder to take low at long-off. Thus, when Pollard strode to the middle, his team needed 87 off 39 balls.

The captain served notice of what was to come, launching Walsh into the scoreboard first ball. Holder brought back Rashid, but Pollard attacked him too, hammering a flat Hero Maximum over long-off. Simmons then ran past one to give Hope an easy stumping off Santner. Rashid gave away only four off his last over, and with four overs left the Knight Riders needed 66.

Amid sending Walsh Jr to all parts of the Queen’s Park Oval for four sixes in one game-turning over, Pollard turned down a single, and next over Raza sacrificed himself to ensure he was run out and Pollard regained strike. Reifer started the 18th well, but Pollard somehow managed two fours.

The Knight Riders still needed 31 off 12, but Pollard punished Holder for missing his yorker with two brutal Hero Maximums. Reifer got the nod for the 20th, with 15 to defend, and Pollard again started with a six. Holder appeared to have swung the game back the Tridents’ way, running out Pollard as he desperately sought a second, but Reifer’s length deserted him and Pierre kept his cool, levering a full toss over point for a score-leveling Hero Maximum.

The Tridents were done, and the winning runs came next ball with a slice past third man. The Knight Riders surely cannot afford to be without players of the class of Narine and DJ Bravo for long, but they still had someone capable of winning the un-winnable.

Trinbago Knight Riders skipper Kieron Pollard has pointed to the team’s superb organization as playing a pivotal role in an unbeaten start to the new Caribbean Premier League (CPL) season.

On Wednesday, the Knight Riders added the St Lucia Zouks to their growing list of victims, following a 6 wicket D/L win in the top of the table clash.  On a historic day for one of the team’s top bowlers, Dwayne Bravo, the Tridents successfully chased down the Zouks’ rain-hampered 111 for 6.

With wins over the Barbados Tridents, Jamaica Tallawahs, and Guyana Amazon Warriors the Knights Riders have shown tremendous ability with both bat and ball.

“When you look at our squad, the core of the team.  A couple of guys missed out and we got a couple to come in.  But we have guys that want to perform and want that opportunity, the guys that are playing are very hungry,” Pollard said, following the game.

“Each and every person has an idea of what their role is.  There is a lot clarity that is going on in the dressing room, so when guys get their opportunity, they know exactly what they need to do,” he added.

 “Once we put those pieces of the puzzle together and everyone knows their strengths, more often than not if we play a proper game we are going to come out on top. Our strength is our teamwork and communication."

 

Trinbago Knight Riders captain Kieron Pollard was pleased with what he saw from 18-year-old Jayden Seales during the team’s seven-wicket win over the Jamaica Tallawahs in Hero Caribbean Premier League action on Thursday night.

Trinbago Knight Riders captain Kieron Pollard admits it was a relief to put points on the board, despite a ‘scrappy’ win over Guyana Amazon Warriors to tip off the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

Mystery spinner Sunil Narine played a starring role with a fiery 50 from 28 balls and miserly 2 wickets for 19 runs in a four-wicket win for the T&T-based franchise.  On the back of an unbeaten 63 from just 44 balls from Amazon Warriors batsman Shimon Hetmyer, the Guyana franchise put 144 runs on the board.

Though by no means an intimidating total, the Knight Riders did not have a smooth run chase.  The bowling of Warriors captain Chris Green and Romario Shepherd kept the Knight Riders’ Narine and Lendl Simmons to just 9 off the first 3 overs.  Simmons, in particular looked out of sorts, missing four of Shepherd's slower balls in a row.  But then, Narine got cracking with a series of searing sixes to the Warriors on the back foot and pull the Knight Riders back into the game.

"Any competition, you want to start well. A little scratchy and scrappy but good to get over the line,” Pollard said following the game.

“We needed to play a good game of cricket and it was a good game of cricket. Points on the board at the start,” he added.

Sunil Narine’s whirlwind 50 and miserly 2 for 19 saw Trinbago Knight Riders kick off the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2020 in style, easing past Guyana Amazon Warriors in the tournament opener, at Tarouba, despite Shimron Hetmyer’s unbeaten 63 off just 44 balls.

West Indies players account for the lions share of those considered the best to ever play the game as SportsMax completed its Ultimate XI T20 team ahead of the start of the Hero Caribbean Premier League on Tuesday.

A combination of a panel of experts, the SportsMax Zone, and fans who voted online called fanalysts completed voting on the SportsMax Ultimate XI team with a final discussion on three impact players.

The final six players from which the three were chosen were West Indians

Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, and Andre Russell, Australian Shane Watson, Pakistani Shahid Afridi, and Indian Yuvraj Singh.

The panel, made up of cricket commentator and broadcast journalist, Fazeer Mohammed, cricket umpire Chris Taylor, and statistician, Zaheer Clarke, picked an all-West Indian cast as their impact players, in complete agreement with the SportsMax Zone and Fanalysts.

There was one dissenting voice among the panellists with Fazeer deciding on Shane Watson over Kieron Pollard, however, Clarke and Taylor’s votes were enough to overrule him.

With all parties, the Zone, the panel, and fanalysts in agreement, the final list of the greatest T20 team of all time is complete.

The openers are Chris Gayle and David warner, the middle-order, batsmen 3-5 are Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the bowlers are Sunil Narine, Rashid Khan and Lasith Malinga, while the impact players are Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Powell and Andre Russell.

The Ultimate XI T20 team is made up of five West Indians in Gayle, Narine, Bravo, Pollard, and Russell, while Kohli and Dhoni make up the Indian contingent. Then there is the South African representation in de Villiers, one Australian in Warner, a Sri Lankan in Malinga, and the Afghan Rashid.

West Indies captain Kieron Pollard has insisted the door is not closed on former skipper Darren Sammy, despite it being three years since his last appearance.

The 36-year-old Sammy, who captained the Caribbean T20 team to two World Cup titles, last appeared for the West Indies against a Pakistan XI in 2017.  Sammy’s tenure with the team seemed to have come to an end in acrimonious circumstances after he was removed as captain and dropped after publicly criticising the West Indies administration after they won the tournament in 2016.

Pollard, however, noted that as it stands all players are eligible for selection and Sammy is no exception.

“We have made clear to the (new Cricket West Indies) administration that everyone is available for selection in that pool. No one is an exception to the rule. Performances and fitness and everything we are looking for,” Pollard told members of the media.

The 33-year-old Pollard replaced Jason Holder as the ODI captain and Carlos Brathwaite in T20Is last September.  Sammy will look to make his mark in the upcoming Caribbean Premier League where he will represent the St Lucia Zouks.

West Indian players have made a big impact on the T20 game the world over and a panel of experts deciding on the final list of impact players to be discussed as part of a SportsMax Ultimate XI.

The panel, which makes up 40% of overall votes towards the decision in coming up with a final XI, picked Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, and Andre Russell to be part of a list of six for a final discussion on Monday.

The discussions take place on the SportsMax Zone at 5pm Jamaica time and 6pm in the Eastern Caribbean.

When the votes are all tallied, the SportsMax Zone will have contributed 25% of them, while fans have an input too, there’s counting for 35%.

The panel, today, had to pick from among 12 short listed as the best impact players the T20 game has ever seen.

That list of 12 read; Shane Watson (Australia), Shahid Afridi (Pakistan), Bravo, Russell, Pollard, Jos Buttler (England), Imad Wasim (Pakistan), Ben Stokes (England), Colin Munro (New Zealand), Yuvraj Singh (India), Daniel Vettori (New Zealand), and Daren Sammy (West Indies).

When the cuts were made, Sammy, Imad, Buttler, Vettori, Munro, and Stokes, were deemed just a little off the pace.

So, for final discussion on Monday, Watson, Afridi, Bravo, Russell, Pollard, and Yuvraj will be the men being considered.

But the panel’s list is not final and fans, called fanalysts, can still sway the outcome of who makes the SportsMax Ultimate XI, no matter what the panel decides.

To do that, to have your say, vote by clicking here or going to SportsMax.tv and just clicking on the Ultimate XI tab at the top of the screen.

SportsMax.tv has also built a list of profiles where Fanalysts can go to have a look at the careers of the players who have made the SportsMax Ultimate XI shortlist just in case you want to learn a little more about them before making your choice. To take a look at those players click here.

The injury to Dwayne Bravo that kept him out of the 2019 edition of the Hero Caribbean Premier League and saw Kieron Pollard replace him as captain of the Trinbago Knight Riders may have been fortuitous.

Pollard had big shoes to fill, as Bravo had led the TKR to back-to-back titles in 2017 and 2018.

The big West Indies captain, the most experienced T20 player in the history of the format, lost to eventual champions Barbados Tridents in the second qualifier for the competition’s final in 2019.

Still, he has retained his position as skipper in the team and has the blessing of his predecessor.

CEO of the TKR, Venky Mysore, revealed recently that Bravo, though very successful as captain of the team, had, for a long time, wanted to pass the baton, but he had delayed the action.

"The champion DJ Bravo has been coming to me year after year and asking me to give someone else the captaincy because he wants to just concentrate on playing and enjoying the game,” said Mysore.

Bravo, who recently came out of international retirement, has also played under Pollard for the West Indies and has lauded his approach to captaincy.

“I always told him not until I am ready and that time has come and he is very happy to play under Pollard,” said Mysore.

The TKR will open the CPL season against last year’s beaten finalists, the Guyana Amazon Warriors on August 18.

“Pollard was kind enough to accept the position to lead the team at the tournament. He said if we wanted him to do it he will and we said that we will be delighted to have him as captain again,” said Mysore.

An aggressive batsman, with a penchant to clear the boundary with ease, he relies on hitting the ball out of the park. He is a little susceptible against spinners and often gets out to them, unable to pick which way it is going.

A dibbly-dobbly medium-pacer, he often rolls his fingers over the ball and bowls his leg cutters on a consistent basis. As a fielder, Pollard is one of the best in the world and has taken some unbelievable catches. An all-round fielder who can field at any position, he uses his long reach to good effect.

Pollard is also the second batsman to score more than 10,000 T20 runs, and the first to play more than 500 games in the format.

His experience and ability to analyze the game, in addition to his aggression made him the perfect candidate for West Indies white-ball captain. Pollard has led a West Indies resurgence in the formats.

 

Career Statistics (2006-present)

Full name: Kieron Adrian Pollard

Born: May 12, 1987 (33), Tacarigua, Trinidad

Major teams: West Indies, Adelaide Strikers, Australian Cricketers Association All-Stars, Barbados Tridents, Bravo XI, Cape Cobras, Deccan Gladiators, Dhaka Dynamites, Dhaka Gladiators, Karachi Kings, Kerala Kings, Melbourne Renegades, Multan Sultans, Mumbai Indians, PCA Masters XI, Peshawar Zalmi, Pollard XI, RR Sarwan's XI, SC Joseph's XI, Somerset, South Australia, St Lucia Stars, Stanford Superstars, Toronto Nationals, Trinbago Knight Riders, Trinidad, Trinidad & Tobago, Trinidad & Tobago XI, West Indies Under-19s, WICB President's Celebrity XI

Playing role: Allrounder

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm medium

 

T20I Career - West Indies (Batting)

Mat   Inns NO    Runs         HS    Ave   BF         SR    100 50         4s     6s     Ct         St

73    60    12    1123         68    23.39         849 132.27         0      4      73         66    36    0

T20 Career – Batting

Mat   Inns NO    Runs         HS    Ave   BF         SR    100 50         4s     6s     Ct         St

501 450 126         10000      104         30.86       6641         150.57     1         49    647 652         288 0

 

T20I Career- West Indies (Bowling)

Mat   Inns Balls Runs         Wkts BBI   BBM         Ave   Econ SR         4w    5w    10w

73    48    654 919         35    4/25         4/25        26.25         8.43 18.6 1         0      0

T20 Career (Bowling)

Mat   Inns Balls Runs         Wkts BBI   BBM         Ave   Econ SR         4w    5w    10w

501 322 4974         6798        279         4/15        4/15         24.36       8.20         17.8 6      0         0

 

Career Highlights

  • Made 1123 T20I runs in 73 matches at 23.40
  • Has taken 35 T20I wickets at 26.26
  • First cricketer to play in 500 T20 matches
  • 2nd most runs in T20 matches (10,000)
  • One of 2 players to reach 10,000+ T20 runs

 On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they've seen throughout the week with different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT

  

Mental exhaustion or not enough effort on the field?

  England beat the West Indies by 269 runs and took the series 2-1 to reclaim the Wisden Trophy forever. Windies captain Jason Holder, speaking at the end of the third Test, said, “It’s been challenging, it’s been really challenging, mentally some of the guys are a bit worn out.”

Though I agree it is difficult to play any sport during a pandemic and acknowledge the upheaval, surrounding social injustice issues, taking place, to simply attribute the Windies poor result to these issues is unacceptable. I agree the current climate is different than what anyone has ever experienced before but the Windies loss was brought about by a lack of team effort on the field.

Holder went on to say, “It could be this way for a little while, so we’ve got to find ways to make it work. Hopefully, things could ease up throughout the world and probably guys can get out of the hotel a little bit more, but it has been challenging for sure.”

 Each match was played behind closed doors with players unable to feed off the crowd’s energy.  While I agree that the conditions in which they played were not ideal, as professional athletes they knew the job at hand was to retain the Wisden trophy and play smart cricket. 

The Windies made a great start to their tour with a win, at the Rose Bowl, but England found form in Manchester. The shortcomings of the Windies batsmen in English conditions were exposed numerous times. They conceded first-innings leads of 182 in the second test and 172 in the series decider. The most discouraging factor was the batsmen's inability to capitalize on the numerous starts that they got as a few of the batsmen did make half-centuries. The key difference between both squads was when England got opportunities, they went big, for example, Ben Stokes and Dom Sibley.

England’s bowlers were fresh and eager throughout and that ensured their dominance of the series. A key factor in England’s success was the class of bowlers that were available to choose from as well as the effective rotation of those bowlers. It was useful that none of England’s bowlers bowled in more than two matches – not even Ben Stokes and Dom Bess, who played every game but were not required to bowl.  In the case of the Windies, our bowlers were overworked and two of our key bowlers most notably, Shannon Gabriel and Jason Holder, were struggling with niggles.

Though the mental strain of being away from their families and playing the game during the pandemic may have affected the Windies players’ performance, I don’t believe is it the main reason they lost the series.

 

Arsenal has aced the recipe for FA Cup success

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is hoping the FA Cup victory on Saturday will convince captain Pierre Emerick Aubameyang to stay at the club after they beat Chelsea 2-1. The Gunners captain scored twice to seal the win, taking his team to a 14th FA Cup success. Aubameyang has less than a year left on his contract and his future at the club has been a topic of discussion.

On Saturday, when Aubameyang dropped the trophy before raising it above his head, Arteta joked, “He needs more experience with trophies, we can get him more used to that.” Chelsea’s manager Frank Lampard also commended Aubameyang on his match-winning performance. The North Londoners have now landed a spot in UEFA’s second-tier competition next season. 

This triumph has rectified some of the problems Arsenal had this season, especially after finishing 8th in the Premier League.

 

 The TKR captaincy fits Polly

Kieron Pollard will continue to lead the Trinbago Knight Riders for CPL 2020. Last year, Pollard replaced Dwayne Bravo as captain after he was ruled out with a finger injury.  The decision was a beneficial one and a team with a fit Bravo and Pollard can yield success.

Bravo, who led the team to three CPL titles previously, expressed to the owner that he would rather focus on his game, while Pollard leads the team. I think it is a perfect fit for the team as Pollard and Bravo are great friends and a healthy Bravo with Pollard at the helm puts TKR in a position to win another CPL title.

Pollard has scored 1759 runs in 70 matches, at a strike rate of 148.56. He is the 6th highest run-scorer in the history of the tournament. With the ball, Bravo is the leading wicket-taker with 97 scalps in 69 games. Together both players can use their individual achievements and personalities to get the best of the unit as they seek a 4th CPL title.

Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Lendl Simmons, Sunil Narine and Darren Bravo are among 10 players retained by the Trinbago Knight Riders for the 2020 CPL season.

Former West Indies captain Darren Sammy believes his contemporary, white ball skipper, Kieron Pollard is right for the job but needs time to get his team going.

According to Sammy, Pollard always wants to win and that is the mindset that is needed from the leader of a team if it is to be successful.

“I think what Pollard will bring is that attacking mindset,” said Sammy.

“I think his mindset is always geared towards winning and I think that’s what a leader’s mindset should be,” he said.

However, the mindset alone will not be enough to give the West Indies the edge they need to successfully defend their T20 World Cup set for November.

“He needs time. They need time to learn as a playing group,” said Sammy.

According to the only skipper to lead a team to two T20 World Cup titles, he benefitted from that time ahead of the team’s first World Cup title win.

“I am only talking from experience, from captaining in 2010. By the time 2012 came I knew so many of those guys, what situations to use them in and from constant dialogue, how I would go and who I would want to execute for me in different situations,” said Sammy.

While he is aware that his playing days with the West Indies are over, Sammy, who said he had a vision of being part of a successful T20 World Cup title defence, still wants to contribute to Pollard’s rise.

West Indies Test captain Jason Holder has admitted that losing the captaincy of the region’s One Day International team has not been easy for him.

Holder was replaced as captain of the ODI team last September by Kieron Pollard but was retained as a player. According to the former skipper, the transition from that leadership role has been tough.

"To be quite honest, it has been tough transitioning back just as a player," Holder said on TalkSPORT recently.

According to the former skipper, first he had to contend with getting back into the team.

"In hindsight, it has been tough trying to understand how to get back in as just a player," he said.

The switch from Holder to Pollard had caught the former by surprise, learning of it during last year’s Hero Caribbean Premier League, a tournament he went on to win as captain of the Barbados Tridents.

"Yeah, it was an interesting time for me. I had found out earlier in the tournament that we have moved as one-day international captain. For me, it was just trying to win it [the CPL]," he said.

Just prior to the switch and since, Holder has not proven very effective in the ODI version of the game, but says this is not a bother for him because he is acutely aware of his own ability.

Many had suggested that Holder’s place in the team was in question and he would not be in it were he not captain.

To date, Holder has taken 136 wickets in 111 innings at an average of 36.38, but in his last eight innings with the ball, he has not been able to get near those figures.

In 10 innings prior to losing the captaincy, Holder had seven wickets at an average of 69.85, while in the eight he has played since, he has picked up six at an average of 66.16.

"Performances obviously haven't been there as I would've probably liked, but I'm not too disheartened," Holder said. "I don't beat myself up. I don't get too worried because I know my ability. I know what I can produce. I just know that an innings is around the corner, a bowling effort is around the corner."

According to the Test skipper, he may have been suffering from a bit of burnout, having played 62 matches in 2019.

"I felt I needed the break after the India series [in December] particularly, just to refresh," Holder said.

"I had played every single series in the entire year, I played county cricket as well, and my batteries needed a little bit of a recharge. Obviously, I needed some time to go and think about how I wanted to go forward as a player and try to work out again how just to be a player as opposed to being the captain."

West Indies ODI and T20 captain Kieron Pollard rates his quick-fire 38 against Australia in semi-finals of the 2012 ICC World Cup as one of the best and most important performances of his career.

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