West Indies batsmen rounding into form ahead of NZ series

By November 22, 2020

I use my Sundays to look back at what has been happening in the world of sport. On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they have seen throughout the week through different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT. 

 

  1. Batting clicked in Windies warm-up match

The three-day warm-up match between New Zealand A and West Indies at Queenstown ended in a draw on Sunday. Electing to bat first after winning the toss, New Zealand ‘A’ put up a dominant display of batting to post 308 for 3 declared in the first innings and then 124 for 1. The Windies scored 366 in what must be considered a commendable effort.

     The 112-run partnership between Kraigg Brathwaite and Darren Bravo helped bring the Windies compile a good score after opener John Campbell was bowled for 4.

Brathwaite went on to score 47 while gave a glimpse of his class in a memorable Bravo 135. Bravo knock included 13 fours and five sixes. Top order batsman Shamarh Brooks also stepped up with the bat scoring 80 while Captain Rostan Chase contributed 42 from 76 balls. 

  There is cause for optimism when considering the performance with the bat from the West Indies even though John Campbell does need to show greater game awareness and application. The lower order also needs to raise their game as four of the batsmen were dismissed in single digits.

Despite the commendable batting performance, the Windies had a tough time with the ball. Kemar Roach, Chemar Holder and Rahkeem Cornwall ended the match wicket-less and the bowling attack only managed to snare four wickets during the match.

If the West Indies are to be competitive during the coming series, the bowlers need to quickly shake off the rust and get firing.

 

  1. A sigh of relief for Trinidad and Tobago’s football!

Football’s world governing body, FIFA, on Thursday lifted the suspension of the Trinidad and Tobago football Association, TTFA. The decision was communicated in a letter to the Head of FIFA’s normalization committee in T&T, Robert Hadad. This is a major fillip for Trinidad and Tobago’s football as it paves the way for the team to participate in the CONCACAF Gold Cup and World Cup qualifiers. 

     Despite the setbacks, it is my hope that the normalization committee will cleared the massive debt burdening the association while paying salaries and getting the national team ready for international competition.

  1. Huge blow to Golden State Warriors after Klay Thompson’s injury

The Golden State Warriors star guard Klay Thompson suffered a season-ending tear to his right Achilles tendon during a workout last Wednesday in Southern California. The 30-year-old Thompson missed all of last season after tearing the ACL in his left knee during Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors. 

The Warriors were hopeful that Thompson would return fit and ready to compete for the 2020-21 season. However, they are now trying to figure out how they will cope without one half of the Splash Brothers, whose absence contributed to their league’s worst record (15-50) last season.

 Another season without Thompson on the court will be a huge blow to the Golden State Warriors chances of winning a title next season. How does one accept that such a dependable star has become so vulnerable? 

 

 

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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    The Warriors finished eighth in the Western Conference and will have to work through the league's new play-in tournament to reach the NBA playoffs.

    Led by two-time MVP Curry, Golden State won 18 of their final 25 games to surge into the postseason picture ahead of Wednesday's showdown against LeBron James and the seventh-seeded Lakers.

    The winner between the Lakers and Warriors head into the playoffs as the seventh seed. The loser will meet the winner of the Memphis Grizzlies-San Antonio Spurs clash.

    "I hope everybody hears the chatter," Curry said after Tuesday's practice. "Even at this point how we match up with LA or potentially with Phoenix or Utah if we get through this play-in tournament and all that.

    "Nobody thought we were even going to be in this position. A lot of people had us way, way, way down the standings coming in after Klay [Thompson] got hurt, so there's a lot of things that we already flipped on its head to this point, so we might as well keep going."

    Curry has played a crucial role in lifting the Warriors into contention down the stretch, earning his second NBA scoring title after ending the regular season averaging 32.0 points per game following his 46-point outburst against the Grizzlies on Sunday.

    The three-time NBA champion became the first player 33 years or older to lead the league in scoring since Hall of Famer Michael Jordan in 1997-98 (35 years at end of season and averaged 28.7ppg).

    Curry also joined Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only players with multiple scoring titles, MVPs and championships.

    The Warriors guard has played 63 games this season, averaging 5.8 assists per game, a career-best 5.5 rebounds per game and 1.2 steals per game.

    Earlier this season, Curry claimed top spots on the Warriors' all-time scoring and assists lists, while surpassing Reggie Miller for second position on the NBA's three-pointers made standings.

    Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic is the hot favourite to win this season's MVP but Curry was endorsed by upcoming opponent James for candidacy too.

    "Obviously, I'm appreciative," Curry said. "He knows when he says something people pay attention so for him to speak on my MVP candidacy is definitely, I respect him for it, I appreciate it.

    "We all know as competitors though, when the lights are on, I can talk about how great he is till I'm blue in the face and he can do the same, it doesn't change how we approach that competition when we're out there.

    "I won't be giving him a pass because he likes the way I played this year and vice versa."

  • LeBron 'good to go' for Lakers-Warriors play-in clash LeBron 'good to go' for Lakers-Warriors play-in clash

    Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel declared LeBron James will be fit and available for Wednesday's NBA play-in game against the Golden State Warriors.

    James played 27 minutes but exited Sunday's 110-98 win over the New Orleans Pelicans early with soreness in the right ankle which has kept him sidelined for most of the past two months.

    The four-time MVP played back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday upon his return from injury but is available for the midweek showdown with Stephen Curry's eighth-seeded Warriors.

    "He had some minor soreness but he's good to go," Vogel said following practice on Tuesday.

    "He was a full participant in practice today and is good to go."

    Anthony Davis also confirmed his full fitness to face the Warriors after being listed as questionable with left adductor strain tightness on Sunday.

    The star forward played 30 minutes against the Pelicans in the team's regular-season finale.

    "I'm fine," Davis said. "The adductor feels good, the shoulder feels good."

    Defending champions the Lakers – seeded seventh in the Western Conference – may finally have a full clean bill of health, having been without James, Davis or Dennis Schroder for most of the run into the postseason.

    Schroder played the final two games of the regular season along with James and Davis after being subject to the league's health and safety protocols.

    The German guard subsequently missed seven games in May, impacting his conditioning.

    "I'm still not, conditioning-wise, all the way back," Schroder said. "I've been out 10 days. I didn't do nothing, I was at home.

    "At the end of the day, I'm going to work my way into it, but it's not going to hurt my team-mates. I'm going to give everything I have, go out there and do the same things that I do during the season and truly to get a W."

  • NBA Big Game Focus: LeBron and Lakers aim to stop Curry cooking for the Warriors NBA Big Game Focus: LeBron and Lakers aim to stop Curry cooking for the Warriors

    The NBA's play-in tournament will stage a must-see heavyweight clash when the Los Angeles Lakers host the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday.

    While there are no concerns of suffering a season-ending knockout, the one-off contest at Staples Center will dictate the next step for two teams who know all about making title runs.

    Few would have expected this scenario back at the start of a season played out amid the backdrop of an ongoing health pandemic.

    As the defending champions, LeBron James and the Lakers were viewed as a front runner in the stacked Western Conference. Coming up against a Golden State roster so heavily reliant on Stephen Curry was always a possibility in the playoffs, just not necessarily in this type of scenario.

    The winner will be slotted in as the seventh seed, meaning a best-of-seven series against the Phoenix Suns. The loser, however, will have to get past either the San Antonio Spurs or the Memphis Grizzlies – they meet on Thursday – just to get the eighth and final spot available.

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    TOP PERFORMERS

    LeBron James – Los Angeles Lakers

    James was firmly in the MVP conversation until an ankle injury on March 20. His first attempt to return to action led to a setback, but the four-time NBA champion featured in the final two outings of the regular season, scoring a combined 49 points.

    His fitness will be key to the Lakers' prospects of retaining their crown. They finished the regular season with a 42-30 record yet were 30-15 in games when their star turn featured. That kind of winning percentage across a full campaign would have made sure they did not have to worry about appearing in any play-in contests.

    Stephen Curry – Golden State Warriors

    Having missed the majority of the previous season through injury, Curry certainly made up for lost time with a dazzling regular season.

    He finished as the scoring champion, his 2,015 points coming in 63 games as he averaged 32.0 an outing. No one made (337) or attempted more three-pointers (801), while the point guard also shot 91.6 per cent from the free-throw line. MVP, perhaps?

    KEY BATTLE – STOP CURRY GETTING HOT

    The Warriors will sink or swim based on Curry, but he will need some assistance if they are to prosper in the playoffs. To that extent, as the Lakers focus on shutting down a player capable of catching fire in a hurry, Andrew Wiggins (18.6 points per game in the regular season) will need to step up, particularly as Golden State are still without the injured Kelly Oubre Jr.

    Draymond Green can help, too, albeit his average of 7.0 points was his lowest mark since the 2013-14 season, his second in the league when he started in just 12 games. It may well be his primary focus is on defense, though, considering both James and Anthony Davis – confirmed fit to play on Tuesday – will demand plenty of attention.

    HEAD TO HEAD

    The Lakers are a long way clear in the overall record (257 wins to 169), while they have also dominated in the playoffs – the Warriors have won just one series in seven attempts, with that success coming way back in 1967 when they were still playing under the San Francisco name.

    In the 2020-21 regular season, the team from Los Angeles won two of the three meetings. They were dominant in the most recent clash as well, coming out 128-97 winners in March despite several key absences.

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