Guyana Amazon Warriors extended their perfect 2019 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) campaign to eight wins from eight matches with a 19-run win over defending champions Trinbago Knight Riders at the Queen’s Park Oval despite Kieron Pollard and Darren Bravo briefly threatening to pull off an outrageous heist.

The Knight Riders appeared dead and buried at 91/4 with just six overs remaining and still needing 95 more to overhaul the Warriors 185/6. But Pollard and Bravo went on a ferocious six-hitting spree that almost dragged the unlikeliest of wins out of the fire for TKR.

They came up short, though, with Keemo Paul’s 19th over in which only singles came from the last five balls easing the Warriors’ fraying nerves before Tahir bowled Pollard for a sensational 71 from 38 balls with three balls to go and 21 still needed to at last finish the contest. The final winning margin of 19 runs also highlighted the significance of Romario Shepherd’s late cameo with the bat in the Warriors’ innings – he smashed 32* from 13, with two sixes and a four to finish it off as 25 came from Chris Jordan’s closing over.

Yet another win for the Warriors means they have now guaranteed themselves top spot in the regular season with two games to spare, while the Knight Riders still have work to do to secure their own place in the top two and the safety net of a place in Qualifier 1. One win from their two remaining games will do it.

Having muscled their way to 185/6 despite a troubling mid-innings wobble, the Warriors then strangled the Knight Riders top order through their battery of spinners.

Chris Green once again led the way, bowling his four overs off the reel at the top of the innings, removing the dangerous Colin Munro and Lendl Simmons, and returning figures of 2/18.

Imran Tahir did for Mark Deyal and Shoaib Malik had Denesh Ramdin caught in the deep off a slog-sweep to leave TKR reeling at 53/4.

Not even Pollard could rescue the Knight Riders from there, although he gave it a real crack. He shared a swashbuckling 125-run stand with Bravo, who himself cleared the ropes six times in a 46-ball 58 not out, but the required rate continued to climb throughout the partnership. Even when 57 runs were plundered in four overs from the 15th to the 18th.

Paul’s nerveless 19th over was ultimately key, and across the 40 overs the Warriors were deserving winners.

A 98-run second-wicket stand between Chrandrapaul Hemraj and Shimron Hetmyer then Shepherd’s late fireworks lifted the Warriors to their commanding total.

After the early loss of Brandon King, falling straight after taking Khary Pierre for 10 runs in two balls to start the third over, Hemraj took stock and then took charge.

Only 35/1 was on the board after the powerplay but the boundaries started to flow – for Hemraj in particular, who smashed four Hero Maximums and reached a 34-ball half-century with back-to-back fours off Jordan.

When Hemraj was caught behind off a wide Javon Searles yorker for 66, Hetmyer exploded into life in thrilling yet sadly for the Warriors all too brief fashion.

Searles’ next over started with the wicket of Nicholas Pooran and ended with that of Hetmyer slicing to Pierre at deep point. In between came 17 runs as Hetmyer flayed two fours and a gorgeous six carved high and handsome over backward point.

The failed attempt to repeat the dose saw Hetmyer depart the scene furious with himself and two short of a half-century.

The Warriors innings threatened to subside at that point in the face of some fine bowling from Ali Khan (1/23) in particular.

From 111/1 and 136/3, the Warriors found themselves 143/6 when Malik and Sherfane Rutherford fell to catches in the deep having added just a single between them.

But Shepherd ensured the Warriors would get up past not just 160 but also 180. He flayed a couple of early boundaries through the offside, but it was the two Hero Maximums and one-bounce four with which he finished the innings – 25 in all coming from Jordan’s closing over – that would ultimately take the Warriors out of Pollard and the Knight Riders’ reach.

Test players Darren Bravo and John Campbell have been included in a 14-member West Indies “A” squad for the three-day, Tour Match against India, starting Saturday at the Coolidge Cricket Ground, Antigua.

Windies legend Curtly Ambrose has admitted to being concerned by the form of top-order batsman Darren Bravo, heading into the ICC World Cup later this month.

The 30-year-old Bravo, who only recently rejoined the team following a two-year break, showed plenty of grit in a surprise Test series win for the Windies against England two months ago.  The batsman also made a decent contribution in the preceding ODI series averaging 31.5, including one half-century in two games.

The Trinidad and Tobago national has, however, struggled to continue that traction in the current tri-nation series.  In four matches so far the batsman’s highest score has been 17.  It is those statistics that have Ambrose concerned.

“We must really be concerned about his form because we need him to really come to the party and produce the runs that we know he is capable of doing,” Ambrose said.

“Because as we go deep into this World Cup and in order to get out of the group stages, we can’t rely on one, two or three players. We need a whole team to click or most of the team to click, for us to get out of the group stages,” he added.

“So I am concerned about Darren Bravo’s form but I feel that he’s good enough to get out of that slump and produce the runs for us.”

Windies top order batsman Darren Bravo insists self-belief will be key to the team’s chances of success if they are to mount a strong challenge at next month’s ICC World Cup. 

The 30-year-old Bravo was part of a Windies squad that recently went toe to toe with a top-ranked England team, earning a highly credible 2-2 draw.  The batsman, who only recently returned to the team, has admitted the experience has been a major confidence booster for the unit.

“We are capable of winning the World Cup, but the team must concentrate on the plans we have made as a unit which will be the most important thing,” Bravo told Barbados Today. “We are not going to focus very much on the opposition. We have certain plans and roles we have to execute. Once we get them right I believe the results will take care of themselves. No one gave us a chance against England and we went out there and proved that we can beat the best team in the world. We just got to continue to believe in ourselves and anything is possible,” he added.

The talented batsman only recently returned to the squad after an extended absence, following a feud with former CWI boss Dave Cameron.  The player insists his loyalties have always been to represent the West Indies and is happy to be back in the fold.

“As a kid growing up my dream was always to play 100 Test matches for the West Indies and that is still my ultimate goal. I guess I have some work to put in to achieve my dream. I will be doing whatever I have to do whenever I am given the opportunity to play for the West Indies. I have to try to be as consistent as possible. I want to cement my role in the team and try to win matches for the West Indies.”

Veteran opener, Christopher Henry Gayle, now has 24 centuries under his belt after smashing 135 off 128 deliveries to lead the Windies to 360 for 8 in the first One Day International of series against England at the Kensington Oval in Barbados. 

 

Darren Bravo one of the heroes for the Windies in their massive 10-wicket win over England in Antigua on Saturday, has declared that he is available for the Caribbean side in all formats of the game.

Windies top order batsman Darren Bravo insists the team has no intentions of taking its foot off the throat of English opposition, despite securing an unassailable 2-0 lead and the Wisden Trophy on Saturday.

The 29-year-old Bravo played a starring role, albeit in typically different circumstances, as his gritty half-century off a marathon 216 balls provided the backbone for a hard-fought 10-wicket win at North Sound in Antigua. 

The win followed up on another convincing performance in the first Test, which featured a 381-run win in Bridgetown to set the cat among the pigeons.  Heading into the series it was England, the world’s number three ranked Test team that was expected to dominate a Windies team several places below them.  Despite having proven the pundits, and almost everyone for that matter, wrong, Bravo insists the regional team will remain focused on finishing the job.

“I don’t think we can take any Test match lightly. We are trying to make our way back up the Test rankings and that is of paramount importance for us.  We are going to train hard and plan the way we have been planning in the first two Test matches,” Bravo said following the match.

“Before the start of the series the first thing the coach said is we want to win this series 3-0.  There is still motivation there and I don’t see any reason we can’t do it,” he added.

 “It’s going to be tough, I don’t think England will lie down and play dead they are going to come at us and we are looking forward to it.”

Kemar Roach and Jason Holder took four wickets apiece as the magnificent West Indies tore through brittle England yet again to seal a crushing, series-clinching 10-wicket victory on day three in Antigua. 

When Kemar Roach launched into a delivery from James Anderson only to find a tall Ben Stokes at second slip latching onto a flier, the crowd at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium stood and applauded. 

West Indies dug in on a testing pitch to open up a potentially series-winning lead on day two of the second Test against England in Antigua.

Kraigg Brathwaite (49), John Campbell (47) and Shai Hope (44) made contributions at the top of the order on a North Sound track with such variable bounce.

Darren Bravo dropped anchor to frustrate the tourists with a patient unbeaten 33 from 165 deliveries and Jason Holder was still there on 19 when the Windies closed on 272-6 - leading by 85 runs.

The excellent Stuart Broad was the pick of the bowlers, taking 3-42 from 28 overs after having no luck in the opening session, with Jos Buttler dropping a simple chance to remove John Campbell.

England, who had Jonny Bairstow behind the stumps with Ben Foakes sent for an X-ray on his right hand, will have to produce something special to keep the series alive after toiling on a warm Friday.

Broad was desperately unfortunate to see a miserly, probing morning spell go without reward as Campbell survived a DRS appeal for caught behind, before Buttler dropped a regulation chance offered by the West Indies opener at third slip.

Campbell made the most of those and other slices of good fortune to strike some confident blows through the covers on his way to 47, but Buttler partially atoned for his earlier error, with Ben Stokes the beneficiary.

That was England's only breakthrough before lunch, as Brathwaite's opening stand of 70 with Campbell and an additional 63 alongside Hope for the second wicket placed a sizable dent in the tourists' first-innings total of 187.

But Brathwaite and Hope also fell just short of half-centuries – Moeen Ali (2-54) having the former caught at short leg by substitute Keaton Jennings.

Broad then deployed leg-cutters to fine effect, seeing Hope caught at the wicket and uprooting Roston Chase's off stump in the same over with one that kept wickedly low.

James Anderson was furious when Rory Burns grassed Shimron Hetmyer at extra cover off his bowling and had barely calmed down when he superbly caught the dangerous batsman in the deep off Moeen for 21.

West Indies were a run behind and five down at that stage and Bravo and first-Test centurion Shane Dowrich rode their luck in getting through to tea.

It was Broad who ended a 50-run stand to reduce the Windies to 236-6, a brute of a delivery rapping Dowrich (31) on the gloves and looping to Buttler in the slips, before England wasted a review when Bravo was struck on the pad by Stokes.

The watchful Bravo and Holder stood firm as England continued to probe without further reward, leaving the Windies in a strong position at stumps.

James Anderson was influential as England stuck doggedly to their task to gain the upper hand in the first Test against West Indies at Kensington Oval on Wednesday. 

The tourists often found the going tough in Barbados but ultimately managed to limit the Windies to 264-8, with Anderson (4-33) the star. 

Test debutant John Campbell (44) and Shai Hope (57) were among several home batsmen to make promising starts without going on to build big scores. 

Anderson impressed the most for England – who left Stuart Broad out of their XI – with the 36-year-old having now taken 200 Test wickets outside of England and Wales. 

The hosts will resume with Shimron Hetmyer (56 not out), dropped by Jos Buttler when on three, and Alzarri Joseph (0 not out) in the middle.

West Indies won the toss and made a solid start, with Kraigg Brathwaite's initial patience – his batting bordering on the ponderous at times – proving a source of frustration for England. 

It was in the 19th over that Moeen Ali made the breakthrough, accounting for Campbell lbw after an eye-catching outing from the opener. 

There was more toil and sweat for the tourists after lunch as Brathwaite and Hope's partnership passed the 50 mark. 

But persistence paid off when Ben Stokes (3-47) sent the stubborn Brathwaite back to the pavilion, forcing an edge that was claimed by captain Joe Root at first slip.  

Darren Bravo, making his first appearance in the longest format since 2016, was the next man in but he added just two runs before being trapped lbw by Stokes. 

Rain led to an early tea with the hosts on 132-3 and upon resumption Hope soon reached his half-century, the milestone reached in 126 deliveries. 

However, his knock ended when Anderson managed to coax a loose shot that Hope inside edged through to wicketkeeper Ben Foakes.  

Hetmyer had a let-off when Buttler dropped a diving catch off Anderson's bowling and he made the most of that reprieve, his innings offering the Windies some consolation. 

England's leading wicket-taker did not have to dwell for too long on that miss, though, with Root taking another catch at first slip to dismiss Roston Chase for 54. 

There was still time for Anderson to account for Shane Dowrich, who failed to score, and captain Jason Holder (5), while Hetmyer reached his 50 before the scoreless Kemar Roach fell to Stokes to bring play to a close.

Windies cricket analyst Fazeer Mohammed insists it would be difficult to argue against recently recalled batsman Darren Bravo’s spot in the squad, based on merit, due to the lack of quality options available to the regional selectors.

The 29-year old batsman has been called to the team ahead of the Test series against England, his first inclusion in a regional team for the game’s longest format in two years. 

Having been out of the game for an extended period, Bravo, who boasts a Test average of 40, would hardly have had a recent record of form to recommend him to the squad, having only played one match in the ongoing West Indies Championship. 

Following a disastrous tour of Asia, however, a board of selectors looking for changes and experience could hardly be expected to pass over the talented batsman.    

“He has justified it on reputation not performance, as far as first-class cricket is concerned,” Mohammed told the SportsMax Zone.

“If you use the yardstick of having played a lot of first-class cricket to confirm your spot it would be difficult as he has only played the one match for the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force the previous weekend,” he added.

“The fact of the matter is that the cupboard is pretty much bare when it comes to West Indies cricket at the moment and therefore you would have expected changes following the embarrassment in India and Bangladesh.”

Bravo ran afoul of the regional body in 2016 after calling Cricket West Indies boss Dave Cameron a ‘big idiot’ in a tweet.

Out-of-favour batsman Darren Bravo is set to rejoin the Windies Test team for the first time in two years having been selected for the upcoming series against England.

The 29-year-old Bravo has often been considered one of the region’s most promising prospects in the game’s longest format, an area that has seen the team struggle mightily in recent years.  Bravo, however, ran afoul of the cricket board in 2016 after a tweet that called CWI president Dave Cameron a ‘big idiot’ surfaced on his Twitter profile during a contract dispute.

Following talks late last year the way was clear for the player to return to the unit and was recalled to the Windies one-day squad but was yet to be included in the longest format. 

Bravo is expected to be joined by debutants John Campbell, a 26-year-old left-handed opener from Jamaica, and Shamarh Brooks, the former West Indies Under-19 captain. 

Windies chairman of selectors Courtney Brown insisted on the back of disappointing tour of Bangladesh that the time was right for changes with the series coming up on home soil.

"After a difficult Test Series in Bangladesh late last year the opportunity presents itself for our team to pick itself up," said Brown.

 "Although a tough series against England is anticipated, home turf has always been a place where our team has made strides."

Yannic Cariah scored a solid half-century and Anderson Phillips took three-wicket to put TT Red Force in command on Friday, the second day of their West Indies Championship match against the Jamaica Scorpions at Sabina Park.

Rovman Powell will captain the Windies side for their three-match ODI series against Bangladesh on December 9, 11, and 14.

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