Nineteen-year-old Jayden Seales said he was pleasantly surprised when he received word that he had been called to be a reserve player for the West Indies for their upcoming three T20, two-Test tour of New Zealand.

Jos Buttler powered Rajasthan Royals to a much-needed victory in the Indian Premier League, his unbeaten 70 inspiring a seven-wicket defeat of Chennai Super Kings.

The Royals had lost six of their last seven matches heading into a meeting with a CSK side that also started the day on six points from nine games.

CSK won the toss and their decision to bat first ultimately proved ill-advised, though Rajasthan initially laboured in pursuit of 126.

Buttler came to the crease with the Royals teetering on 28-3 in the fifth over and had to exercise patience alongside Steve Smith (26 not out) before being able to cut loose.

When he was able to get into his rhythm, Buttler produced his brilliant best, hitting seven fours and a pair of sixes in a 48-ball knock that helped Rajasthan move within two points of the top four

CSK earlier recovered from 56-4 to reach 125-5 thanks to a fifth-wicket stand between MS Dhoni (28) and Ravindra Jadeja (35 not out), however, a run out of the former by Jofra Archer and Sanju Samson proved key in keeping them under 130.


ARCHER EXCELS AGAIN

Archer has been outstanding for Rajasthan, adding to his reputation as one of the world's most fearsome fast bowlers in all formats.

He was excellent again on Monday, removing Faf du Plessis with the final ball of the third over and sending down 11 dot balls in his 1-20.

The England paceman ran out CSK skipper Dhoni to end an ominous partnership with Jadeja, though the Royals initially made heavy weather of a manageable chase.

BUTTLER LEADS ROYALS RESURGENCE

Though he and Smith had to deal with some concerted pressure early in their decisive stand of 98, Buttler eventually got his reward for frustrating the CSK attack.

His was an innings typically defined by precision and timing and a 15th over that saw Buttler hit England colleague Sam Curran for three successive fours effectively took the game away from CSK.

Rajasthan were left needing just 18 off the final five overs and there was to be no dramatic collapse, Jadeja falling over the boundary rope at long-on for Buttler's final six in the 17th over before Smith then hit the winning run.

Cricket West Indies will be closely monitoring the health of all-rounder Dwayne Bravo as he works for a speedy recovery from a groin injury sustained while playing for Chennai Super Kings against the Delhi Capitals in the Indian Premier League on Saturday.

The injury is not only a concern for CSK but for CWI, whose selectors picked the 36-year-old Trinidadian in their T20 squad to travel to New Zealand next month. As such, the regional board is keen to be in the know about his rehabilitation.

“We are in contact with him and the CSK medical team, so we are being kept updated with his treatment and recovery,” CWI CEO Johnny Grave told Sportsmax.TV on Sunday.

Meanwhile, CSK have said they do not have a timeline for the recovery of the veteran player.

"He seems to have a right groin injury, I think, and it was obviously serious enough to keep him off the field," CSK head coach Stephen Fleming explained at the post-match press conference on Saturday.

"He will have to be reassessed going forward, but at this stage, you'd imagine it's going to take a few days or a couple of weeks.”

Bravo had arrived for IPL duty in the UAE with an entirely different injury, a knee problem sustained during this season’s CPL.  He missed the Super Kings' first three games, as the team had decided to take extra caution.

Injury, concerns over safety and a need for a clear head are the reasons behind Evin Lewis, Lendl Simmons and Andre Russell’s decisions not to accept invitations to join the West Indies’ tour of New Zealand starting next month.

The West Indies on Friday named a 14-man squad that is expected to play three T20 Internationals in New Zealand later this year that included Andre Fletcher who was making a return to the squad after a two-year absence as well as Shimron Hetmyer and Darren Bravo. However, it was noticeable that Russell, Lewis and Simmons were absent.

Chief selector Roger Harper explained during a press conference Friday morning that the three batsman gave different reasons why they opted out.

Simmons, he said, decided against travelling after discussions with his family. Lewis, he said, also discussed the issue with family but was also concerned about a injury that needed more time to heal.

Russell, who is currently playing for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League, said he needed time to clear his head after being in quarantine situations in the Caribbean Premier League and IPL competitions.

“Lendl Simmons and Andre Russell are two very experienced T20 players who performed very well on the last tour of Sri Lanka and their absence will surely be noted,” Harper said in a release from CWI.

However, the respective decisions to decline the invitations to tour will not factor in the selection process to future teams, CWI said.

 

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is considering an invitation to tour Pakistan in the early stages of 2021.

England have not travelled to Pakistan since 2005 but have been offered the chance to play white-ball games - reportedly three Twenty20 fixtures - in January.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) agreed to play fixtures on English soil earlier this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, the two nations facing each other in a three-Test series followed by a trio of T20 contests while staying in bio-secure bubbles.

England's schedule for the coming months is still unclear due to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, with tours to Sri Lanka and India yet to be confirmed.

Security concerns following the 2009 terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore put a stop to teams visiting Pakistan, though international cricket has slowly begun to return to the country.

"We welcome the fact that international cricket is returning to Pakistan and are committed to doing what we can to help this develop further," a statement from the ECB read.

"As with any proposed tour that takes place at this time, the safety and welfare of our players and staff is paramount.

"As such, there are a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration, including the proposed protocols in relation to COVID-19 bio-secure bubbles, the proposed levels of security around the team, as well as the feasibility of undertaking this tour against the backdrop of an already busy schedule of international cricket for the England men's team.

"We will be liaising with the PCB, as well as other partners, over the coming weeks to work through these considerations, before a final decision will be taken in due course."

Shimron Hetmyer has revealed that he has working on perfecting a certain shot with Australian cricket icon Ricky Ponting.

The Kolkata Knight Riders are sweating on the health of Andre Russell, who injured his knee during their two-run win over the hapless Kings XI Punjab on Saturday.

Chris Gayle was hospitalized on Saturday presumably as a consequence of the food poisoning that he has been suffering from early last week.

Gayle posted a picture of himself on his Instagram page on Saturday in a hospital bed with cucumber slices over his eyes while chewing on a carrot strip while speaking on the phone.

He seemed to be in good spirits.

“I can tell you this!!! I will never go down without a fight. I am the #UniverseBoss – that will never change…Thanks for all your concern peeps, much appreciated,” he stated in part in the caption under the picture.

Gayle, 41, was expected to debut this IPL season for the struggling Kings XI Punjab on Thursday against Sunrisers Hyderabad, but according to coach Anil Kumble, the Universe Boss was unable to because he was in a lot of discomfort because of food poisoning.

“Chris Gayle was going to play today’s match but he is sick. He is down with food poisoning that’s why he isn’t in playing eleven,” Kumble told commentators during the game.

Gayle is still expected to come into the side to replace marquee player Glen Maxwell who has struggled for form so far this season.

KXIP have won only one of their seven games this season and sit at the foot of the 2020 IPL standings.

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) Sunil Narine unfurled a miserly spell of death bowling as they edged out IPL strugglers Kings XI Punjab by just two runs in the Indian Premier League.

In the end, Glenn Maxwell agonisingly missed out on a six that would have forced a Super Over. 

Kings XI had looked to be cruising towards a target of 165 but, just as they did in their previous match with Chennai Super Kings, some excellent death bowling turned the tide in Kolkata’s favour. 

It left Maxwell needing a six off the final ball to prolong a see-saw contest and while he lofted a ball high over cover, it dropped just shy of the rope for four in a remarkable finish. 

The Knight Riders have eight points from their six matches while Kings XI have just one win from seven outings. 

A 29-ball 58 from captain Dinesh Karthik helped Kolkata post a useful target, Shubman Gill (57 off 47) also providing a valuable half-century. 

It appeared as if their efforts would be in vain, as KL Rahul (74) and Mayank Agarwal (56) combined for a first-wicket stand of 115. 

Even when Agarwal eventually fell to Prasidh Krishna (3-29) there appeared little sign of a turnaround, Nicholas Pooran coming to the crease after a sparkling 77 against Sunrisers Hyderabad last time out. 

However, the game turned when Pooran was undone by a slower ball from fellow West Indian Narine, departing for 16 as Kings XI stuttered badly as the pressure mounted.  With 14 required off the final over, KKR opted for Narine and he conceded 11 runs to win the match for his side. 
 

FELL APART TO THE SEAMERS 

The excellent Prasidh utilised an off-cutter to dismiss Prabhsimran Singh (4), then drew an inside edge from Rahul to leave Kings XI needing 14 off the final over. 

When Mandeep Singh holed out from the penultimate delivery, it was left to Maxwell to rescue Kings XI. Despite his best efforts in attacking a wide outside-off delivery, his shot did not have the power to get over the line. 

KNIGHT RIDERS STUTTER 

Kolkata struggled for momentum in the first half of their innings after opting to bat first, slipping to 63-3 in the 11th over when Eoin Morgan departed for 24. 

However, skipper Karthik raised the tempo as he combined with Gill to put on 82 for the fourth wicket. The former was run out from the final ball of the 20th over, having hit eight fours and two sixes.

Following his whirlwind half century for Kings XI Punjab on Thursday, albeit in a losing cause, Nicholas Pooran has come in for high praise from IPL pundits, former players Tom Moody and Ajit Agarkar.

The 25-year-old Trinidadian raced to 77 from just 37 balls smashing seven massive sixes and five fours as KXIP chased the 201 set by Sunrisers Hyderabad in their 20 overs.

The ninth over of the KXIP was especially memorable for the 28 runs Pooran scored off the bowling of Abdul Samad’s leg-break deliveries.

Pooran smashed four sixes and a four in the over. He slammed the fourth ball over long off for the third six in the over that brought up his 50 in just 17 balls, the fastest so far this season.

Moody, the former all-rounder turned commentator and administrator, has been watching Pooran for a number of years now in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and in the IPL and believes the batsman has an exciting future ahead of him.

“I don’t think there are better strikers of the ball in world cricket than Nicholas Pooran,” said Moody while speaking on T20 Timeout.

“He times the ball. He has got a wonderful bat swing. It’s a bit like Yuvraj Singh’s bat swing. It’s very long and elegant one that not only possesses a huge amount of power but incredible timing, hits the ball a long, long way and he seems to do it for fun.”

The former all-rounder continued: “I think this is just the beginning of an exciting number of years for Nicholas Pooran in IPL cricket and cricket outside the IPL.”

Agarkar, the former Indian fast bowler, was in agreement.

“Those sixes were massive sixes,” he said. “Just beautiful timing every time he hits the ball, pace and spin, it’s not one or the other, and just bats beautifully.”

 

 

 

A case of food poisoning prevented Chris Gayle from playing for the Kings XI Punjab on Thursday.

Legendary West Indies ball blaster Viv Richards has advocated for selectors of the regional team to consider T20 batsman Nicholas Pooran for the longest format of the sport.

The 25-year-old has to date been cast in the role of a short-ball specialist, having made 21 T20I appearances for the West Indies and 25 One Day International (ODI) matches.  Pooran is, however, yet to make any Test match appearances.

Richards has, however, seen enough in the play of the batsman to suggest he could be a very viable option for the four-day format, where the West Indies has struggled to make any headway in recent years.

“We could look at that and I think he could be a serious option down in the middle order, with the gloves on as well.  These are some of the things they may have to look at because I think he has got a serious head on him in terms of the way he thinks.  He looks pretty serious and the way he would have adapted so far at the highest level, I just think that could be another option,” Richards told the Good Morning Jojo radio program.

“He is a power player as well, and he has got the ability to play all formats, but it is just sometimes you have coaches telling you what they think you should be doing and the things they think you’re good at, but sometimes I believe you have to give these guys a chance.  If they have it in mind that they would love to play all these various formats, then why not.”

Teenager Priyam Garg smashed a maiden Indian Premier League half-century as Sunrisers Hyderabad beat Chennai Super Kings by seven runs in Dubai on Friday.

The 19-year-old Garg top scored with an unbeaten 51 off 26 balls after the Sunrisers' top-order stars failed to fire.

Garg and 20-year-old Abhishek Sharma (31 from 24) put on 77 for the fifth wicket in seven overs to get David Warner's side up to 164-5, Deepak Chahar taking 2-31.

That proved to be enough for Sunrisers to secure back-to-back victories and move up to fourth, as bottom side CSK fell short on 157-5 - slumping to a third loss in a row for the first time since 2014.

Ravindra Jadeja (50 from 35) struck a first IPL half-century and MS Dhoni finished 47 not out, but the Super Kings remain on one victory in a poor start to the tournament.

They needed 28 off the last over to pull off an unlikely win and although Abdul Samad started with five wides and Sam Curran finished the match with a six, Chennai were unable to avoid another defeat.

Rashid Khan conceded just 12 runs from his four overs, but Sunrisers' win came at a cost as Bhuvneshwar Kumar suffered a thigh injury.

 

YOUNG GUNS STEP UP FOR SUNRISERS

Jonny Bairstow was cleaned up by an inswinger from Chahar without scoring in the first over and Sunrisers were 69-4 after 11 overs when Kane Williamson was run out.

With Warner (28) and Manish Pandey also back in the pavilion, it was left to Garg and Sharma to come to the rescue.

Garg hit a six and found the rope six times, while Sharma - who only turned 20 last month - also struck a maximum and another four boundaries as the young guns delivered for Sunrisers.

There was another memorable moment for man of the match Garg when his throw saw the back of the dangerous Faf du Plessis, run out for 22.

 

RASHID TURNS THE SCREW, CONCERN FOR KUMAR

Leg-spin sensation Rashid starred with 3-14 in a victory over Delhi Capitals last time out and he delivered again.

The Afghanistan tweaker did not add to his wicket tally for the tournament, but his 16 dot balls were the most in an innings in the 2020 edition of the tournament.

Only Sheldon Cottrell (47), Jasprit Bumrah (47) and Mohammad Shami (42) have bowled more deliveries without conceding a run in the opening four matches of the IPL than Rashid, who has racked up 41 dots.

The injury to Kumar in the penultimate over is a cause for concern for Warner's in-form side, though.

 

DHONI AND JADEJA MILESTONES NO CONSOLATION

Captain Dhoni and Jadeja reached milestones with the bat, but that would be no consolation for the experienced duo.

Dhoni moved to the 4,500-run mark in the IPL and Jadeja has 2,000 under his belt, yet their knocks were not enough to pick up much needed points.

Jonny Bairstow has lost his England Test contract and Mark Wood has also missed out, but Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope and Dom Sibley have all been handed central deals.

Bairstow had a red-ball contract for the 2019-20 season despite struggling for form.

But after featuring just once for the Test team in the past year - scoring only 10 runs in the Boxing Day Test in South Africa - the Yorkshire star has not seen his deal renewed.

Bairstow will instead have only a white-ball contract, as will fast bowler Wood.

The Durham seamer has played three times for the red-ball team this year, impressing in the tour of South Africa, where he took nine wickets in Johannesburg.

But Wood fell down the pecking order as England returned home, with James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Jofra Archer, Sam Curran and Chris Woakes often preferred.

By contrast, there was good news for Crawley, Pope and Sibley, who have established themselves in Joe Root's Test squad.

Crawley has steadily improved since his November 2019 debut, smashing 267 in his first innings against Pakistan last month.

Pope has been a regular this year, too, and had an unbeaten century in South Africa, while Sibley's steady work has bolstered a previously flimsy top order.

Meanwhile, Tom Curran had an increment contract for the previous campaign but now has a white-ball deal. Joe Denly has missed out altogether.

The West Indies Women lost the fourth Vitality T20 International by 44 runs as part of the Sandals West Indies Women’s Tour of England 2020.

For the third time in four tosses, England won and elected to bat first against the West Indies. Shamilia Connell set up the opening over of the first match, with Aaliyah Alleyne making the breakthrough in the second over when she had Danni Wyatt caught behind for a duck.

Connell bowled the third over, once again setting up the tense situation for Alleyne to capitalize. Alleyne did not waste it as she once again teamed up with wicketkeeper Shemaine Cambelle to have England’s top scorer from the last match Nat Sciver caught behind for 6.

Karishma Ramharack playing in her first match of the series had opener Tammy Beaumont trapped LBW, while attempting a reverse sweep. For the first time in the series, England had less than 70 runs on the board after ten overs.

However, a bit of sloppy fielding and bad line and length allowed England to claw their way back to a demanding total. Amy Jones top-scored for the hosts with 55 after being dropped on 2 by Lee Ann Kirby, followed by her captain Heather Knight with 42 as England finished their innings on 166 for 6. Aaliyah Alleyne was the best West Indies bowler, taking 2 for 25 from her four overs.

For the first time in this series, Deandra Dottin was dismissed for single digits in the first over of the match, when she was bowled by Katherine Brunt for 4. Shemaine Campbelle joined Lee Ann Kirby and the pair started a cautious rebuild of the innings despite a required run-rate of 8.36 per over.

Kirby was bowled by Sciver for 4 with the score on 26 in the third over. Aaliyah Alleyne and Chedean Nation held a sixth-wicket record partnership of 38 runs for the West Indies against England Women, surpassing the previous record of 30 between Shanel Daly and Britney Cooper, which stood since 2010.

However, this partnership was not enough to sustain the innings. It was soon over when the West Indies finished their innings on 122 for 9. Nation was the highest runs-scorer with 30, followed by Alleyne with 15. Bowling for England, Sarah Glenn finished with 2 for 15 from three overs, while Katherine Brunt had 2 for 21 from her allotted four overs.

England scored 166 for 6 from their 20 overs and the West Indies Women made 122 for 9 from their 20 overs.

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