West Indies stand-in captain Nicholas Pooran has backed Andre Russell’s decision to face all six deliveries of the final over of Wednesday’s T20 match that was bowled by Mitchell Starc and from which the home side required 11 runs to take a 4-0 lead in the series.

West Indies chief of selectors, Roger Harper, has admitted that much better performances were expected from the team’s senior batsman after a sub-par showing against South Africa in the recently concluded T20 series.

Despite starting the series in strong fashion, the West Indies were beaten eventually beaten 3-2 after failing to successfully chase a target of close to 170 in three of five matches.

Fabian Allen had the team’s highest average with 67 in four matches, followed by Evin Lewis with 35.60 in five and Andre Fletcher 32.50 from two matches.  However, there will have been major concerns about some of the team’s seasoned batting stars who struggled to find a way into the series.

Veteran batsman Chris Gayle played four games and averaged just 18.66, with a high score of 32.  Andre Russell averaged 15.50, also in five games, with a high score of 25, team captain Pollard had a high score of 51, but also struggled, managing to average just 22 in five matches.

A few of the team's younger, but seasoned T20 players also struggled, with Shimron Hetmyer averaging 19 and Nicholas Pooran 17.75.

The panel of selectors has come under pressure in some quarters for picking the veteran’s trio of Gayle, Fidel Edwards, and Darren Bravo.  However, while Edwards picked up two wickets in two matches and Bravo was the leading wicket-taker with 10, the spotlight has continued to shine on Gayle’s struggles.

“Certainly, Bravo was the leading wicket-taker and Fidel played a couple of games and started to get into stride in the second game.  But from a batting perspective we expect quite a bit more from the senior guys,” Harper told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“Maybe we just got carried away with the manner and the method that we used to win that first game from a batting perspective and just thought that we could continue in the same vein and found ourselves in a hole in the middle overs because South Africa adjusted their approach.”

 

West Indies batsman Nicholas Pooran insists the team can have no excuses for losing the third T20 match against South Africa as they were in a strong position to claim a win.

South Africa won the third encounter between the teams by a single run to take a 2-1 lead in the five-match T20I series.  At 96 for 3, at the halfway mark, chasing 168, the West Indies seemed well on the way to the target but were often stifled by Tabraiz Shamsi who turned in the most economical effort of his career (2 for 13 in four overs).

Even so, needing 44 runs off the last four overs, Andre Russell seemed set to deliver a win for the team when he smashed back-to-back sixes off Anrich Nortje but was dismissed later in the over after also being dropped.

Pooran, who made a pedestrian 26 for 28, and is really yet to fire for the series, smashed Lungi Ngidi over midwicket for six off the second ball of the 18th over but could not maintain that momentum and was dismissed by Nortje in a penultimate over that only cost 4 runs.

“I felt like South Africa bowled well, they bowled well in the middle and they bowled well in the last two overs of the game and I think that’s where they won the game,” Pooran said following the match.

“As a team, we are still building, we are still trying to bind as a team.  I didn’t think it was too bad, in T20 games partnerships form, you lose wickets, but I felt like today was our game to win in all honesty,” he added.

“We had that partnership, I was there until the second to last over with Fabian and we should have found a way to win that game.  No excuses.”

 

Andre Russell has been named among a 13-man squad for the first and second CG Insurance T20 Internationals (T20I) against South Africa starting on Saturday (June 26) in Grenada.

The matches will be played at the Grenada National Stadium on Saturday and Sunday. The first ball daily is 2 pm (1 pm Jamaica Time).

Russell is a two-time T20 World Cup winner, having been a member of the squad which won the titles in 2012 and 2016. He has played 49 T20Is for the West Indies and his last appearance was against Sri Lanka in Pallekele in March last year.

“Andre Russell will add that ‘X’ factor to the team. He is an impact player with both bat and ball and lends greater depth in both departments," said Chief Selector Roger Harper while explaining the reason for the Jamaican's recall.

"The aim is to build on the performance against Sri Lanka earlier this year, to build confidence while determining our best squad and team as we run into the ICC T20 World Cup.”

 Trinidad's Kieron Pollard will lead the squad and have compatriot Nicholas Pooran as his vice-captain. The other members of the squad include Fabian Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Fidel Edwards, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder, Evin Lewis, Obed McCoy, Andre Russell, Lendl Simmons and Kevin Sinclair.

Fully vaccinated fans will be able to buy tickets for the game from the stadium box office and ticket booths on presentation of their vaccination documentation and their national ID, with tickets available at EC$50 per match.

Fans in the Caribbean can watch live on Flow Sports or via the Flow Sports app. Live radio commentary is available on the Windies Cricket YouTube channel and on a number of local radio stations across the Caribbean. Fans also follow live ball by ball scoring in the www.windiescricket.com live match centre, featuring the new live match blog.

Despite admitting that life inside consecutive bubbles has taken a toll on him mentally, Jamaican all-rounder Andre Russell has vowed to do all he can to lift the Quetta Gladiators once the Pakistan Super League T20 competition resumes on June 9.

The Jamaica Tallawahs have retained T20 star Andre Russell, former Windies T20 captain Carlos Brathwaite, Rovman Powell and Chadwick Walton ahead of the 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League, which begins on August 28, in St Kitts & Nevis.

Russell boasted the team’s highest average of 44.40 last year, having scored 222 runs in 9 matches.  The all-rounder also bagged three wickets.  Brathwaite largely struggled with the bat, averaging just 12 runs in 11 matches but took 10 wickets.

Powell, who was the team captain, also had a below par season, scoring 106 runs in 11 matches for an average of 11.77, while Walton struggled after averaging 3 runs in eight matches, with a high score of 10.

Interestingly, there has been no mention of the team’s leading run-scorer last season, Glenn Phillips, who has been one of the team’s most consistent performers for the last 4 seasons.  The 24-year-old was recently offered his first retainer contract by New Zealand Cricket.

 Afghan off-spinner Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, who was the team’s leading wicket-taker with 16 wickets last season, and Nepal leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane, who snared 12 wickets, the second most, have also not been retained.

In the meantime, the Tallawahs have also kept faith with fast bowler Fidel Edwards who showed plenty of pace after returning to the CPL in 2020.  The Jamaica-based franchise will also be welcoming back left-arm spinner Verasammy Permaul and ICC America's player from last season, Ryan Persaud. 

The rest of the squad, which includes the remaining 10 spots, will be announced in the coming weeks.

 

Cricket great Sunil Gavaskar believes having Sunil Narine batting in the Kolkata Knight Riders’ middle order is a complete waste of time as the team needs quality batsmen in their line-up to be able to reverse their fortunes in the IPL this season.

KKR are currently eighth in the IPL standings after just two wins from their seven matches to date, a position that Gavaskar believes comes down to one thing.

"To be honest, they don’t have too many classy batsmen. I don’t know how many in the dugout they can look to and say, ‘Look… why don’t you come in and bat up the order.’ Because if you have a look at their batting, apart from Shubman Gill and Morgan himself, there is no class," Gavaskar said on Cricket Connected.

"There is Andre Russell down at five or six and Dinesh Karthik,” Gavaskar continued.

“I would look at promoting Karthik up the order, because for simple reasons. There is Rahul Tripathi up. Sunil Narine at 4 or 5 whatever is a waste of space. It doesn’t make any sense having him there. If you want to have Sunil Narine, have him at the top of the order where he can throw his bat around, and maybe if he connects a few, that’s fine.

“KKR’s problem is that they haven’t got anybody at three, four, five who can play an impact innings."

 

West Indies and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) all-rounder, Andre Russell, has crossed the threshold of 6000 runs in T20 cricket during an IPL match against the Delhi Capitals.

The big hitter became the sixth West Indian to reach the mark behind the likes of Dwayne Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith, Kieron Pollard on top run-getter Chris Gayle.  Russell is, however, the youngest West Indian player to reach the total.

Russell, who was celebrating his birthday, reached the milestone with a double in the 16th over of the match.  He went on to blast an unbeaten 45 from 27 deliveries but Delhi won the match by 7 runs.

Overall, Russell has played 80 matches in the Indian Premier League, scoring 1635 runs at an average of 29.68 with a strike rate of 179.67 and a high score of 88*.  He has also taken 68 wickets in IPL so far, at an economy rate of 9.08 and an average of 26.86.

 This season the player is off to a strong start for Kolkata, scoring 118 runs in six matches at a solid strike rate of 151. He has also claimed seven wickets in six games.  Things have, however, not gone well for KKR who have lost four of their first 6 games.

Prithvi Shaw was the star performer for Delhi Capitals as they recorded an emphatic seven-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League.

Shaw hit 11 fours – including six in a row in one over – and a trio of sixes in an innings of 82 that helped the Capitals coast to a 155-run target at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

Shikhar Dhawan was happy enough to play second fiddle to his opening partner, making 46 from 47 balls before falling lbw to Pat Cummins with the total on 132 in the 14th over.

Cummins (3-24) also removed the outstanding Shaw and Rishabh Pant (16) with the finishing line in sight, leaving Marcus Stoinis to complete the job with a streaky four as Delhi triumphed with 21 balls to spare.

Kolkata had been indebted to some big hitting in the closing stages from Andre Russell but still finished with a below-par 154-6. The all-rounder blasted two fours and four sixes to top score with 45 not out.

Their hopes of posting a more substantial total had been damaged by losing four wickets for 13 runs in the middle overs, seeing them slip from 69-1 to 82-5.

Shubman Gill made 43 at the top of the order but both captain Eoin Morgan and Sunil Narine failed to trouble the scorers amid the collapse.

Lalit Yadav finished with figures of 2-13 for Delhi, while Axar Patel (2-32) also struck twice with his left-arm spin to help restrict the Knight Riders, who have now lost five of the past six meetings between the teams.


Double celebration for Russell

Russell celebrated his 33rd birthday with an eye-catching 27-ball knock that saw him surpass 6,000 Twenty20 runs in his career.

The right-hander was cautious at first before cutting loose, smashing Kagiso Rabada for successive sixes to finish the 19th over before ending the 20th with another off the bowling of Avesh Khan.

Capitals gain from a Shaw thing

Shaw reached his half-century from just 18 deliveries, aided by taking Shivam Mavi for six successive fours in an opening over that cost 25 runs (Delhi's reply had started with a wide).

Delhi's fifth victory in seven outings in the 2021 season sees them move level on 10 points with leaders Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore in the table.

Jamaicans Andre Russell and Fabian Allen are among five West Indies players who were picked up yesterday’s Pakistan Super League Replacement Draft that is expected to resume. However, one player is on the way out.

West Indies all-rounder, Andre Russell, has revealed he was too overcome with emotion to head straight back to the dressing room, after being bowled by Chennai Super Kings’ Sam Curran, in an 18 runs loss for Kolkatta Knight Riders on Wednesday.

The viral photo of a dejected Russell sitting on the steps did the rounds on social media, and the player has taken the time out to explain the emotions associated with the moment.

“Well, I was very emotional and I didn’t know how to go to the changing room and face all my teammates after leaving a ball and getting out bowled like that,” Russell told KKR.in.

“You know, the job is not complete, and I wanted to take the team over the line. So, I think the emotions got the best of me but staying strong,” he added.

KKR found themselves chasing a sizeable 221 for victory and in real trouble at 31 for 5. Russell and Dinesh Karthik had, however, started to lead the fightback. Russell hit 6 sixes and smashed a 21-ball fifty to give KKR hope and seemed set on delivering on one of his famous comeback specials.  He was, however, dismissed against the run of play, for 54, in the 12th over when he left a Curran delivery, which crashed into his leg stump.

 

 Former England captain turned cricket analyst. Michael Vaughan. has questioned the overall fitness of West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell, despite the player’s fair start to the Indian Premier League (IPL) season.

In the second game of the campaign for the Kolkatta Knight Riders, Russell cleaned up the Mumbai Indians' tail for career-best figures of 5-15.  In the same match, however, the player was unable to finish the job with the bat as the Knight Riders slumped to a dramatic 10-run defeat as Russell added 9 from 15.

Vaughan pointed to the batsman’s work in the field and running between the crease as evidence the big hitter is not quite at his best.

“You got a player like Andre Russell, who has been a superstar, but on the field, when the ball is coming to him, he is always using his feet. He is obviously someone who cannot go down. It’s a very clever and careful aspect which Eoin Morgan will have to manage,” Vaughan told Cricbuzz.

“When he (Andre Russell) is at his best, he is great. But when you see him on the field, and when is bowling, he appears to be struggling. While batting he is not taking the twos,” he added.

“He needed to take the twos in the 19th over. Because you want him back on strike. Very difficult to manage for Brendon McCullum and Eoin Morgan.”

The Knight Riders have won 1 of their first 3 matches.

Andre Russell cleaned up the Mumbai Indians' tail for career-best figures of 5-15 but was unable to finish the job with the bat as the Kolkata Knight Riders slumped to a dramatic 10-run defeat

Suryakumar Yadav hit a wonderfully fluent 56 but Mumbai's innings stuttered after he holed out to Shakib Al Hasan and they lost 7-37 in the final five overs to be dismissed for 152, as Russell claimed a remarkable 5-15 from 12 deliveries.

Nitish Rana (57) and Shubman Gill (33) tore into the Indians attack with an opening stand of 72, only for Kolkata to subside meekly from a position of strength to a final score of 142-7 – leg-spinner Rahul Chahar (4-27) chipping away at the top order before Trent Boult (2-27) sealed the deal by removing Russell and Pat Cummins in the final over.

Batsmen on either side generally found the going tough but Suryakumar played beautifully, hitting seven fours and two sixes with some wonderfully languid strokeplay before being caught by Gill when trying to plough Shakib back over his head.

Skipper Rohit Sharma anchored the innings until the impressive Cummins (2-24) bowled him with an off-cutter for 43 and Russell made hay.

Fellow West Indian Kieron Pollard edged behind to start the procession and Cummins held on as Russell dismissed Marco Jansen for nought, with Krunal Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah and Chahar all caught in the deep off the final four balls of the innings.

Unfortunately for Kolkata, they similarly fell apart down the stretch after Chahar had Gill caught by Pollard and claimed the key wicket of Rana stumped, Rahul Tripathi and captain Eoin Morgan giving their wickets away cheaply in every sense to the wrist-spinner.

Shakib played a reckless slog sweep to fall to Krunal Pandya, who sent down a miserly four overs for 1-13. He dropped a return catch with Russell on nought but Boult ensured that did not matter, removing the all-rounder in similar fashion before cleaning up Cummins first ball to effectively end the argument.

Mumbai keep Kolkata under their spell

This was certainly a victory worthy of the defending champions, for whom everything looked lost as Rana and Gill went about their work. There will have been a sense of grim inevitability for the Knight Riders when Chahar and Krunal Pandya began to turn the screw – they have now lost 11 of the past 12 matches between the sides.

Forgot about Dre?

A specialist in franchise T20 all over the world, it was no surprise to see Russell bringing his know-how to the fore. However, in a game of such tight margins, perhaps Morgan might regret not giving the Jamaican his full allocation of overs.

West Indies all-rounder, Dwayne Bravo, has hailed the role of big-hitting teammates Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard in inspiring a new generation of exciting batsmen.

For decades the Caribbean has created some of the world’s most exciting stroke players, with the likes of Everton Weekes, Gary Sobers, and, later on, Viv Richards and Brian Lara thrilling crowds with their incredible run-scoring ability.

The likes of Pollard, Gayle, and Andre Russell have fallen very much into that mold and a new generation that includes players like Nicholas Pooran, Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmeyer, and Brandon King have followed in their footsteps.

The 37-year-old all-rounder Bravo, one of the T20 cricket’s most devastating wicket-takers in his own right, was quick to commend Pollard and Gayle for passing the torch.

 “I think these young guys look up to players like Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, what these guys have done in white-ball cricket,” Bravo told Khaleej Times after leading the Delhi Bulls to a win in the Abu Dhabi T10 league on Friday.

“The players from the younger generation now aspire to be like them (Gayle, Pollard) you know. Before them, they had Sir Viv (Richards) or (Brian) Lara and (Shivnarine) Chanderpaul, these players and the likes of Gayle and (Ramnaresh) Sarwan. The young players were looking up to those players,” he added.

“But now because of Pollard, Andre Russell, Gayle, you know, you have seen the likes of Pooran, Heytmayer, Rutherford, and Brandon King.”

Shimron Hetmyer, Dwayne Bravo and Andre Russell were among West Indies players were retained by their Indian Premier League franchises on Wednesday. However, several others were cut loose and will re-enter the pool of players eligible for the IPL Draft coming up on February 11.

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