He might no longer by the captain of the West Indies but Jason Holder still has a lot to contribute to the success of the team going forward.

Kirk Edwards had a top score of 46 and Brian Lara scored an unbeaten 31 to spur West Indies Legends to their first win, a five-wicket victory over Bangladesh Legends in the Road Safety World Series Friday night.

Evin Lewis scored his fourth ODI century that helped lay the platform for the West Indies’ five-wicket victory over Sri Lanka with two balls to spare at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium earlier today.

Man-of-the-Match Lewis scored 103 and shared in a record 192-run first-wicket partnership with Shai Hope, who made 84, as the West Indies took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series. It was the best-ever first-wicket stand at the stadium.

Chasing a challenging total of 274, after Sri Lanka made 273 for 8 in their 50 overs, Lewis and Hope kept the Sri Lankan bowling attack at bay for 37.2 overs that seemed destined to take the home side to another comfortable victory. However, they almost threw it away.

Lewis’ 103 came off 121 balls and hit eight fours and four sixes before getting out to stumped to the bowling of Lakshan Sandakan.

His dismissal seemed to lift the Sri Lankans’ spirits and they responded by tightening up on the West Indies, who managed to squeeze two runs from the next nine balls. The pressure continued to build and it yielded the desired results. At 194 for one, Hope got out caught at deep cover trying to push the scoring rate.

As a measure of how much Sri Lanka had slowed the scoring rate, the first 50 for the West Indies came up in just 54 balls, the second in 53 while the third 50 came up in 55 balls. The fourth 50 for the West Indies was made from 81 balls.

In this phase of the game, the West Indies lost the wickets of Darren Bravo for 10 and Kieron Pollard and Fabian Allen 15 each over the next 57 balls from which they managed 55 runs as they tried to rein in the escalating run-rate that had ballooned to 10 runs an over.

With Jason Holder at the other end, it was left to Nicholas Pooran to play hero and swing the match back in favour of the West Indies.

Allen had hit a six off Nuwan Pradeep to start the 48th over. He was dismissed next ball holing out to deep midwicket. However, the batsmen crossed leaving Pooran to face the next four balls from which the West Indies took 11 runs, 10 coming from Pooran’s bat via two fours and running two.

The little Trinidadian would finish the job in the final over off the same bowler with the West Indies needing nine from six balls.

After missing the first ball that was bowled wide of the off-stump, Pooran hit consecutive fours before clipping off his legs for the winning single. He would finish unbeaten on 35 while Holder, who faced four balls and was two not out.

Pradeep finished with 2-66 off 9.4 overs. Thisara Perera claimed the wickets of Hope and Bravo to return 2-45 from seven while Lakshan Sandakan finished with 1-36.

Earlier, Sri Lanka posted what turned out to be a competitive score, the foundation of which was laid by Danushka Gunathilaka, who scored a run-a-ball 96 that rescued Sri Lanka from 50 for 3 after Alzarri Joseph had removed Dimuth Karunaratne and Pathum Nissanka for one and 10, respectively within the first seven overs.

Gunathilaka, who was controversially given out for obstructing the field in the opening match on Wednesday, and Dinesh Chandimal put on 100 for the fourth wicket. He looked set for a hundred when Jason Mohammed bowled him with one that kept low to claim the first of his three wickets.

In fact, Mohammed claimed the next two wickets to fall - Ashan Bandara for 18 and then Chandimal for 71 - as Sri Lanka struggled to force the rate of scoring and seemed likely to score a little more than the 232 they scored in their eight-wicket loss on Wednesday.

However, a blazing cameo of 47 from 31 balls from Hasaranga de Silva propelled Sri Lanka well past the 250-run mark and with a little help from Perera, who made 19 before he was last man out run out for 19.

Mohammed had his career-best figures of 3-48 while Joseph took 2-42. There was a wicket each for Jason Holder and Akeal Hosein.

The final match of the series is scheduled for the same venue on Sunday.

 

 

 

 

England's bowlers produced an outstanding performance to lay the platform for an emphatic eight-wicket win in the first Twenty20 International against India.

The tourists were bamboozled by spin to lose the Test series but found a pitch much more to their liking at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, a venue where they twice suffered heavy defeats to go down 3-1 in the longest format.

Jofra Archer led the way with figures of 3-23 as India – who host the ICC T20 World Cup later this year – were restricted to 124-7 after being put in by visiting captain Eoin Morgan.

England had no such problems in their reply, Jason Roy smashing 49 off 32 deliveries to help wrap up victory with 27 balls to spare. 

Jos Buttler contributed 28 in an opening partnership worth 72 with Roy, who hit three sixes before being trapped lbw by Washington Sundar, one of three frontline spinners selected by the hosts for the opener in a five-match series. 

By contrast, England fielded a solitary slow bowler in their XI. Leg-spinner Adil Rashid (1-14) claimed the prized scalp of Virat Kohli for a duck having opened the bowling in a T20 at international level for the first time. 

Archer and Mark Wood (1-20) also struck early blows as India limped along to 22-3 by the end of the batting powerplay. Shreyas Iyer led a recovery of sorts, top-scoring with 67, but their final total never appeared enough at the halfway point. 

Rishabh Pant (21) thrilled the crowd with an outrageous reverse sweep off Archer that went for six, yet could only pick out Jonny Bairstow when he flicked a full delivery from Ben Stokes into the deep. 

Iyer and Hardik Pandya (19) shared a half-century stand having come together at 48-4, only for the latter to become the first of two wickets in as many deliveries from the excellent Archer. 

England made sure there were no complications in the chase with a powerplay onslaught from their openers, allowing Dawid Malan and Bairstow to ease them to their paltry target, the duo finishing unbeaten on 24 and 26 not out respectively. 

Jason Holder and Darren Bravo have been recalled to the West Indies squad for the first Test against Sri Lanka set for March 21-25, 2021.

If the West Indies do a better job of rotating the strike, combining that with their power-hitting would result in the team posting much higher scores. That is the belief of Shai Hope, who scored his 10th ODI century in the West Indies’ eight-wicket win over Sri Lanka on Wednesday.

Chasing a relatively modest target of 233, the West Indies eased to 236 for 2 with 18 balls to spare. Hope hit 12 fours and a six while scoring 110 runs from only 133 balls at a strike rate of 82.71.

In the opening stand between Hope and Evin Lewis of 143 runs, the effort to rotate the strike was more evident than in the recent past. The first 50 came up in just 53 balls and while the scoring rate slowed a bit, the 100-run partnership took only 134 balls.

However, according to the Barbadian batsman, the West Indies can do a lot better.

“There is definitely a lot of improvements that can be made,” said Hope during a press conference on Thursday on the eve of the second match against Sri Lanka at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.

“We always look at ourselves as power hitters, ball beaters, but there is so much more to our game.

“If we can merge the two together, limit the dot balls along with the boundary balls that will come along, then we can consistently get big totals.”

He revealed that doing a better job rotating the strike is something that the team has been working on behind the scenes, but conceded that there is still a long way to go.

“WE have been working on picking up these singles, working on our singles options, making sure we have a clear mind on how we are going to play a particular bowler to get those singles to keep the scoreboard ticking over,” he said.

“It’s a work in progress but we are going to get there.”

 

 

Opening batsman Kraigg Brathwaite has replaced Jason Holder as West Indies Test captain, Cricket West Indies confirmed tonight.

Shai Hope celebrated his return to international cricket on Wednesday with his 10th ODI century that helped the West Indies cruise to a crushing eight-wicket victory over Sri Lanka at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.

Virat Kohli has ruled out Ravichandran Ashwin making a Twenty20 return for India anytime soon ahead of the five-match series against England.

Ashwin was named man of the series in a 3-1 Test series victory over England that sealed India's place in the ICC World Test Championship final against New Zealand.

The off-spinning all-rounder took 32 wickets and averaged 31.50 with the bat, scoring a magnificent century on his home ground in Chennai.

Ashwin has not played for his country in the shortest format since July 2017 and it appears that is not about to change with a Twenty20 World Cup to come on home soil this year, as India have full faith in Washington Sundar.

India captain Kohli said ahead of the first T20 on Friday: "Washington has been doing really well for us, so you can't have two players of the same discipline playing in one squad.

"Unless Washi has a drastically horrible season and things go south for him. The question has to be asked with some kind of logic as well.

"You suggest where you would add Ash and play him in the team when someone like Washington already does that job for the team. So, it's easy to ask the question but you should have a logical explanation to it yourself."

Kohli vowed his side would take a positive approach from the start when they face a top-ranked England team, with all matches in the series being played at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

The skipper said: "The kind of players we have added into the squad is precisely to give our batting line-up more depth and not play in a similar kind of pattern that we have played with in the past.

"We want to be a side that plays free cricket, not have any baggage of lack of depth and one guy having to bat long enough to make sure we get to a big total.

"We have explosive batsmen in the team now, who can change the game at any stage even if you are two or three wickets down. That's exactly what we've tried to address in picking this squad.

"So this time around, you will see guys a bit more expressive in terms of approaching the innings, and playing more freely.

"I'm not worried about whether we have enough batsmen to take care of things if we lose a couple of wickets early, which was the case before to be honest. We didn't have enough depth in the batting to be able to play freely throughout the first 10 or 12 overs. But I see us being much more positive and free from this period onwards."

Eoin Morgan says Jofra Archer is a "huge asset" to England after the paceman hit out at suggestions he is not committed to playing Test cricket.

Archer is expected to be in the England side when they start a five-match Twenty20 International series against India at Narendra Modi Stadium on Friday, having missed the final Test at the same Ahmedabad venue due to an elbow injury.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan questioned Archer's desire for featuring in the longest format, comments which clearly irked the paceman.

Archer wrote in his Daily Mail column: "A lot of people are saying a lot of things about my right elbow, and so as the person the elbow belongs to, I would like to say something in response.

"Let me be clear about something: I've never changed my attitude towards playing for England. I've always wanted to play all three formats. That hasn't changed, and never will as far as I'm concerned.

"I always dreamed of playing Test cricket and don't feel I've had a bad game so far – yet unless I am taking four or five wickets in an innings, I am placed under scrutiny and some people start trying to decipher what's going on.

"Comments like 'he's not committed' or 'he's not good enough' appear as soon as you are not 110 per cent. I find it quite annoying how people read into stuff and form their own opinions.

"I saw one article from Michael Vaughan in which he said: 'If Jofra doesn't love Test cricket, England need to find out why.' We've never had a conversation about cricket, so I found it a bit odd. He doesn't know what makes me tick. He doesn't know what's driving me."

And white-ball captain Morgan said he has had no problems with World Cup winner Archer. In fact quite the opposite.

"He's a huge asset," said England's skipper. "He's a guy that bowls in three parts of the game and can be threatening whenever he comes on. He obviously has express pace, can bowl cutters, variations, and has a very good yorker. He's a huge asset in any format."

Asked if he finds Archer easy to captain, Morgan replied: "I do. He's always been engaging. He is a younger member of our squad that has different interests to the majority of our squad, because the majority of our squad is in their late 20s, early 30s.

"He loves enjoying what he does, in travelling, playing Xbox, playing cricket, playing in front of big, big crowds and he is a huge family man.

"The more I have got to know him: one, the better our relationship is but two, the more I have grown to enjoy his company away from the game because I have got to know him more. He's a funny guy."

Rohit Sharma feels India have "a lot of work to do" before they challenge for T20 World Cup glory as they prepare to face top-ranked England in a mouthwatering five-match series.

India are on a high after beating England 3-1 to secure a place in the inaugural ICC World Test Championship final against New Zealand.

A strong England squad led by Eoin Morgan will be looking for revenge at the Narendra Modi Stadium, but face a huge test against an India side who have won six and drawn one of their previous seven series in the shortest format.

India sit second in the rankings and are eager to make a statement seven months before the T20 World Cup begins on home soil.

Vice-captain Rohit knows they are not the finished article ahead of the first match in Ahmedabad on Friday, with Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan and Rahul Tewatia in line to make their debuts.

The in-form batsman said: "It's nice for the fans also to look forward to something because it's not every second year you are playing the World Cup, otherwise the charm of the World Cup goes away.

"The freshness of the World Cup remains and it's going to be an exciting World Cup as it is being played in India. We are all looking forward to that but before that, we still have a lot of work to do."

England, who whitewashed South Africa 3-0 late last year, have not lost a T20 series since they were beaten by India in 2018.

 

Malan is the man

There will be an array of outstanding batsmen on show in what should be a pulsating series and it is Dawid Malan who comes into it as the best in the world in this format.

The left-hander was named man of the series in a whitewash of the Proteas, making a magnificent 99 not out in the final match at Newlands on the back of another half-century.

England have an embarrassment of riches in the batting department, with the likes of Morgan, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Jason Roy and Sam Billings in the squad.

Liam Livingstone will also get the opportunity to make his mark after some explosive knocks for Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash League.

Kohli closing in on historic landmark, Pant returns

India captain Virat Kohli needs only 72 more runs to become the first man to reach the 3,000 mark in T20Is.

The prolific skipper averages 50.5 for his country in the shortest format and has more runs than anyone in matches between these two nations (346).

England will also need to remove Rishabh Pant before he gets into full flow, as the wicketkeeper-batsman demonstrated when he made a scintillating century in the final Test.

Pant, who has not played a T20 for India since January 2020, averages just 20.50 at international level in this format but that figure will surely be on the rise before long.

Key Opta Facts

- Kohli has dropped more catches than any other fielder from a Test-playing nation in men's T20Is since the start of 2019 (seven), three of which were rated as easy chances.

- Malan has the highest batting average of any man to log 10 or more T20I innings (53.4 from 19 knocks). Her has reached 50 in seven of his 12 overseas knocks.

- KL Rahul recorded 670 runs from his 14 knocks in the 2020 IPL. He comes into this series having scored more runs in men's T20Is than anyone else since November 2019 (643).

- Yuzvendra Chahal is responsible for the best figures ever recorded against England in a men's T20I (6/25 in February 2017). The spinner is the leading wicket-taker in this fixture (nine), but has only claimed 15 scalps at an average of just 42.1 since the start of 2019.

Brathwaite’s XI defeated Chase’s XI by four wickets as the Best vs Best four-day match at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua earlier today.

A century from Shai Hope and a half-century from Evin Lewis helped West Indies cruise to a comfortable eight-wicket victory over Sri Lanka with 18 balls to spare at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium and take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Ian Bradshaw was not impressed with the manner of the West Indies victory in the three-match T20 series against Sri Lanka citing how poor the batsmen of the Caribbean were during the series.

The former West Indies bowler has suggested that if the West Indies was the win a third ICC T20 World Cup later this year, the coach and selectors need to have frank and honest discussions with the batsmen about their performances, especially about how and when they lose their wickets.

Going forward in a world cup year, he said, “this would be the time to have some honest words within the camp and I am sure that Coach Simmons and maybe Chief Selector Roger Harper will have to be brutally honest with the guys.

“Experienced or inexperienced, our match awareness will have to be a lot better.”

In the matches played at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua, the West Indies won the opening match by four wickets chasing 132 for victory. Chasing 160 in the second match, the home side lost badly by 43 runs. They eventually clinched the series by virtue of a three-wicket win, needing only 132.

Many of the West Indies batsmen did not live up to expectation. Lendl Simmons managed only 73 runs from the three matches; Evin Lewis, 55, Jason Holder, 52, Kieron Pollard 51, Nicholas Pooran, 31, Chris Gayle, 29, and Dwayne Bravo, 6.

Speaking on Mason & Guest with host Andrew Mason on Tuesday night, Bradshaw said when it comes to T20 matches, it comes down to more than just the number of runs scored. “It’s the manner of the dismissals,” said the 46-year-old Bradshaw, who represented the West Indies in five Tests and 62 ODI's between 2004 and 2007.
“Yes, we showed weakness and uncertainty to the spinners, but it is how collectively as a unit, we bat the spin,” he said, adding that several batsmen were also tentative against aggressive pace bowling.

Bradshaw insisted that the West Indies batsmen will have to show significant improvement as there was “nowhere to hide. There is too much video, too much analysis.”

The performances of the batsmen were so poor, Brathwaite said, the result could have easily been 3-0 in favour of Sri Lanka and with the world cup mere months away, there is a lot of work to be done.

“As we build towards the world cup, our performances will have to be a lot more clinical,” he said.

“Like so many series, we go into it and we believe our bowling is the weak link and when it comes out, it is the batting that struggles, and this has been the case in all three formats.

“In Test cricket, whenever we score over 500 runs over two innings we’ve won and whenever we score over 300 runs in an ODI we are very competitive but quite often it the batting that has let us down, and the batting in the T20 series showed a bit of irresponsibility.

“The shots that were played put us (under) undue pressure when we didn’t need to be.”

  

 

 

 

West Indies bowling coach, Roddy Estwick, insists the team must do more than just occupy the crease if it is to be successful against Sri Lanka in the upcoming series and in One Day Internal cricket overall.

Conventional wisdom has at times suggested that a team’s best chance of doing well in the format is for batsmen to spend as much time out in the middle as possible.  With ball change rules, shorter boundaries, better bats, and more attacking-minded batsmen ODI scores in the last decade and a half have risen steadily.  Scores in the region of 350 have become more commonplace.  In fact, the top five highest scores in ODI cricket have all come in the last 14 years.

As such, Estwick points out that just occupying the crease will not be enough and the team must find a way to score runs.

“It’s hard to say you are going to bat time, you still need to make sure you get around 300 runs.  We can’t just say we will sit back and bat time,” Estwick told members of the media via a Zoom press conference call on Tuesday.

“We got to come up with better game plans, we have to execute better.  You know that you have a certain strike rate and certain runs per over to go at in ODI cricket,” he added.

“To be safe these days you have to make around 340, 350.  It might not be that much in this series but remember we are preparing for 2023 that is when the World Cup is.”

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