The International Cricket Council today announced that the second series of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Challenge League A, set to begin on March 16 in Malaysia has been postponed due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The 11-day tournament was scheduled between March 16 and 26 and involves teams from Canada, Denmark, Malaysia, Qatar, Singapore, and Vanuatu. Due to a rapidly developing heath emergency with increasing travel difficulties between countries and potential uncertainty arising for individuals returning to their country of origin, the decision was taken to postpone the event to later in 2020.

ICC Head of Events, Chris Tetley said: “We have made the difficult decision to postpone the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Challenge League A due to the Coronavirus outbreak. We have been monitoring the situation very closely and have concluded that the best course of action is to postpone the event owing to the increasing travel difficulties between countries and the potential uncertainty around teams returning home.

“I would like to thank the Malaysian Cricket Association and all participating Members for their support. The wellbeing of everyone involved is our first priority and we look forward to the event being played later in the year.”

The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Challenge League A is three steps away from the Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 to be hosted in India. 12 teams will compete in Challenge League A and B once a year respectively in 2019, 2020 and 2021. The league will see a total of 90 competitive 50 over List A matches for teams ranked 21-32. The top team in each league at the culmination of the competition will secure two of the six places in the Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier Play-Off to be held in 2022, alongside the bottom four of Men’s CWC League 2.

Goals from Captain Jody Brown, Lacey Murray and Marlee Fray spurred Jamaica to a 3-1 victory over Canada in the CONCACAF Women's U20 World Cup qualifying championship in the Dominican Republic on Wednesday.

In the wake of Jamaica’s 9-0 loss to Canada on Saturday in CONCACAF Women Olympic Group B qualifiers, the Reggae Girlz forward Chenya Matthews said she and her teammates have a lot to learn from the embarrassing loss.

Jamaica's Reggae Girlz were on the wrong end of a 9-0 thrashing, at the hands of Canada, in the CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Championship on Saturday.

Needing a win to keep their chances of advancing from the highly competitive group B alive, the Jamaicans found the firepower from the eighth-ranked Canadians a bit too much to handle and found very little in the way of competitive response.

  Canadian teenager Jordyn Huitema helped herself to five goals and Janine Beckie added three as the Maple Leaves booked their spot in the semifinals of the competition with one group game remaining.  In its first two games, the Canadians have scored an astounding 20 goals, after opening with an 11-0 thrashing of St Kitts.

Deanne Rose got the team’s other goal.  The Canadians will tackle Mexico, who earlier beat St Kitts 6-0, to see which team progresses as the winner of the group.  Jamaica will play St Kitts and Nevis in the battle to determine the minor placings.  The U.S. plays Costa Rica on Monday to determine the Group A winner.

Jamaica Reggae Girlz head coach Hubert Busby Jr has pointed out that the team is mathematically still in with a chance to qualify for the Olympics, despite a disappointing start to the campaign after a loss to Mexico.

In a competitive Group B, which also includes St Kitts and Nevis and Canada, and only two to qualify to the next round, the last thing the Jamaicans would have wanted was a 1-0 loss to begin their campaign.  Thanks to a goal from Mexico’s Renae Cuéllar, however, that is the scenario the team has found themselves in, with its upcoming game against highly-fancied eighth-ranked Canada already a must-win scenario.  In their opening encounter, Canada beat St Kitts and Nevis 11-0.

“Mathematically we are still in.  We have to win our next two games to advance and that’s where our preparation is right now,” Busby Jr told the SportsMax Zone.

One area in which the coach hopes there will be a dramatic improvement is in front of the goal. 

“Mexico had lots of possession, but they did not threaten us.  I thought we were organized and compact and hard to break down.  I think on the overall balance of the game we created more clear-cut opportunities and I think if we were sharper in front of goal we could have won the match,” he added.

The team’s talisman Khadijah Shaw crashed a powerful shot of the crossbar before Mexico took the lead and was denied again in the second half.  Group B continues play on Saturday, February 1 with Mexico playing Saint Kitts and Nevis in the early match at HEB Park.   Jamaica plays Canada in the later game.

 

A crisp maiden List A hundred from Paul Palmer failed to ignite Combined Campuses & Colleges Marooners and Canada rode a strong all-round performance from Harsh Thaker to a 51-run victory in the Colonial Medical Insurance Super50 Cup on Monday.

Former head coach of Trinidad and Tobago’s Senior team Stephen Hart is coy on whether he would coach that country’s team again if there was a change of administration in the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation on Sunday.

Jamaica Scorpions overcame Canada with steady bowling led by Dennis Bulli and purposeful batting led by Nkrumah Bonner to clinch their third successive win in the Colonial Medical Insurance Super50 Cup on Monday.

Jamaica Scorpions captain Rovman Powell reminded opponents in the Colonial Medical Insurance Super50 Cup that he can be a fearsome batsman who can take a game away when he slammed an unbeaten century to help his team to a four-wicket victory over Canada at Warner Park on Saturday.

A brisk half-century from Nitish Kumar pushed Canada to a massive 100-runs win over the Combined Colleges and Campuses at the Conaree Sports Club, in St Kitts, on Thursday.

The top-order batsman plundered 14 boundaries in 102 runs from 99 deliveries, as the Canadians scored their first win of the season.  Batting first, the Canadians suffered an early set back after losing opener Shereyas Movva, who made 2 runs, with just four runs on the board.

Kumar joined Mehta at the crease to, however, stage an immediate recovery as the pair put on 80 for the second wicket.  The partnership was broken when Mehta was run out.  Another big partnership between Shahid Ahmadzai (73) who joined Kumar to put on 103 for the third wicket put the Canadian in a strong position.  Kumar was eventually dismissed after being caught by Sadique Henry off the bowling of Yax Patel, leaving the team at 187 for 3.  With more further partnerships of note, however, the Canadians lost their last seven-wicket for 31 runs.

In reply, the Combined Colleges and Campuses (CCC) lost wickets at regular intervals with Jonathan Drakes putting up the most resistance with 40 runs from 52 balls.  Akeem Jordan was the next best with 37 from 50 runs.

Canadian bowlers Kadeem Sana and Kanwar Mann took two wickets each.

 

Alphonso Davies and Lucas Cavallini were the heroes as Canada outclassed and upstaged the United States 2-0 in their CONCACAF Nations League clash.

Bayern Munich sensation Davies broke the deadlock in the 63rd minute and Cavallini sealed the triumph in stoppage time in Toronto on Tuesday.

It was Canada's first goals against USA since the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup and the country's first victory over their rivals since 1985 as they stayed perfect in Group A.

USA produced a merciless performance to open their Nations League campaign with a 7-0 rout of Cuba last week, inspired by Weston McKennie's 13-minute hat-trick.

However, USA were second best and struggled to keep the ball throughout the first half in Canada, where the hosts hustled the United States out of their stride.

In a half lacking rhythm, Canada should have taken the lead in the 16th minute but teenager Jonathan David wasted two big chances.

A backpass went straight to the feet of David, who was initially denied by USA goalkeeper Zack Steffen at point-blank range before firing wide of the post.

Another chance went begging for David five minutes into the second half after the 19-year-old Canadian side-footed agonisingly wide of the near post.

USA went up the other end moments later and almost took the lead against the run of play, but Christian Pulisic's tame shot was easily dealt with by Milan Bojan after being played in by Jordan Morris.

Canada finally got their goal in the 63rd minute and it was fully deserved as Davies bundled the ball over the line after USA twice failed to clear the danger.

Only Steffen stood in between Canada and a second goal after he thwarted Junior Hoilett with 19 minutes remaining as USA's dire performance continued, but Cavallini's 91st-minute goal capped a great night for Canada.

 

What does it mean? Canada preserve perfect record

Canada created distance between themselves and USA after making it three wins from three games in Group A. Canada are yet to concede a goal, while USA are six points adrift having played a match less in the race for the semi-finals.

Pulisic's struggles continue

It was another disappointing outing for Pulisic, who was hauled off approaching the hour mark. Already struggling for game time at Chelsea following his arrival from Borussia Dortmund, the USA star cut a dejected figure after being substituted on the back of an uninspiring display.

Canada showcase potential

Much has been made about Canada with Davies and David ushering in a new era of hope for the country. And based on Tuesday's display, the future is bright for Canada, who never gave USA a sniff.

What's next?

USA and Canada will be back in action for next month's rematch in Orlando, Florida on November 15.

The Rugby World Cup is headed for the knockout rounds after a dramatic pool stage in which Scotland were the biggest casualties.

Eight teams remain from 20, with hosts Japan – who have four wins from four – progressing as winners of Pool A after defeating Gregor Townsend's men on Sunday.

Japan also stunned Ireland in the same group, but Joe Schmidt's side progressed into the quarters in second.

In Pool B, two-time defending champions New Zealand finished top, with an impressive South Africa side behind them. Italy were frustrated as the impact of Typhoon Hagibis ended their slim chances of progression.

Meanwhile, England topped Pool C with France in second place, with Wales and Australia completing the last-eight line-up.

Using Opta data, we look back at an enthralling tournament so far.

Pool A – Japan, Ireland, Scotland, Tonga, Russia

1 – Japan are into the knockout stage of a World Cup for the first time in their history, becoming the first non-tier one side to do so since Fiji in 2007.

5 – Kirill Golosnitskiy's scored in the fifth minute of the opening match as Russia took the lead against Japan. It is the quickest ever try in a World Cup opener.

2 – Scotland have failed to make it out of the pool stages of the Rugby World Cup for just the second time, after also doing so in 2011.

90 – Rob Kearney crossed for a try after just 90 seconds against Russia, Ireland's fastest World Cup try and the fastest of the tournament so far.

48 – Japan's Yu Tamura has scored 48 points so far, more than any other player. All of his points have come with the boot – 10 penalties and nine conversions.

Pool B – New Zealand, South Africa, Italy, Namibia, Canada

4 – Canada had Josh Larsen sent off versus South Africa and have had four players dismissed in the history of the World Cup, more than any other side. There have been seven dismissals so far this tournament – four was the previous highest total in both 1995 and 1999.

17 – New Zealand have won their last 17 World Cup matches, the longest run by any side in the tournament's history.

21 – Against Canada, South Africa's Cobus Reinach scored the earliest hat-trick in a World Cup match, crossing for his third try in the 21st minute.

142 – After featuring against South Africa, Italy captain Sergio Parisse surpassed Brian O'Driscoll (141) to become the outright second-most capped player in Test rugby history behind Richie McCaw, who played 148 times.

Pool C – England, France, Argentina, Tonga, USA

20 – Against Argentina, Romain Ntamack, aged 20 years and 143 days, became the youngest player to feature for France in a World Cup match.

88 – Agustin Creevy won his 88th cap for Argentina when he played against England, overtaking Felipe Contepomi as Los Puma's most capped player.

6 – George Ford has been involved in six tries for England, more than any other player, scoring two and providing a tournament-high four assists.

Pool D – Wales, Australia, Fiji, Georgia, Uruguay

62 – Fiji's Semi Radradra topped the charts for carries (62), metres (400) and defenders beaten (29) in the pool stage.

94 – James Slipper scored his first try for Australia in his 94th Test when the Wallabies faced Uruguay. No player from any nation has played more matches before scoring their first try.

130 – By playing in Wales' win over Australia, Alun Wyn Jones overtook Gethin Jenkins (129) as the most capped Welshman, going on to make his 131st appearance against Fiji.

35 – At the age of 35 years and 186 days, Adam Ashley-Cooper is the oldest Australia player to make a World Cup appearance. He subsequently became their oldest try scorer in World Cup history, and their oldest in any match since 1966.

100 – Warren Gatland's side have won 100 per cent of their matches so far. It is the first time Wales have won all of their pool games since 1987.

Canada players took to the streets of Kamaishi to help with recovery efforts after Typhoon Hagibis prevented them facing Namibia in the Rugby World Cup on Sunday.

World Rugby and the Japan 2019 Organising Committee cancelled the final Pool B match on safety grounds after one of the most powerful storms for decades swept through the country.

Although Canada were unable to end the tournament with a first victory at Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium, they rolled their sleeves up for physical endeavours off the field.

Players headed out to assist with the clean-up operation in a city that was battered by torrential rain and fierce winds over the weekend.

A tweet from Rugby World Cup showed a video clip of members of the squad helping locals and hailed the players for "showing the true value of the game."

Namibia and Canada's final Pool B match at the Rugby World Cup has been cancelled due to the impact of Typhoon Hagibis.

Both teams were aiming to claim a first win of the tournament in Japan, but the tropical storm – one of the most powerful to hit the country in decades – means Sunday's match in Kamaishi will not go ahead.

New Zealand's match against Italy and England's clash with France, both of which were due to take place on Saturday, were cancelled on Thursday. Italy's slim chance of reaching the quarter-finals was ended by the decision.

The crucial Pool A fixture between Japan and Scotland has also come under threat, with Gregor Townsend's team needing a bonus-point victory to be sure of progression.

A pitch inspection was due to decide the fate of Sunday's Yokohama contest. In the result of a cancelled fixture the score would be classed as 0-0, resulting in Scotland going out of the competition and Japan progressing to the last eight for the first time.

Scottish Rugby has threatened legal action in such a scenario.

However, World Rugby said in a statement that it hoped Sunday's remaining fixtures, including the Japan-Scotland match, would go ahead as planned.

World Rugby chief operating officer and tournament director Alan Gilpin said: "We remain optimistic that Sunday's remaining matches will go ahead as scheduled in Kumamoto, Hanazono and Yokohama, which are much further south and therefore outside of the impact of the storm conditions this morning."

Canada coach Kingsley Jones wants his team to end a disappointing year on a high when they tackle Namibia in their farewell to the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

The Welshman has overseen dismal campaigns at the Americas Rugby Championship and the Pacific Nations Cup in 2019, and three World Cup defeats means their tournament record this year reads: won one, lost 10.

That lone success was a victory over Chile, and the only way Canada can leave Japan with a sense of real achievement will be to see off Namibia on Sunday in Kamaishi City.

Jones has gone with experience for the Pool B wooden spoon match, making five changes to the side that lost 66-7 to South Africa last time out, as Gordon McRorie, Djustice Sears-Duru, Eric Howard, Conor Keys and Patrick Parfrey come in.

"It might be the last time some of these guys get an opportunity in the shirt," Jones said.

"Everybody really wants to be a part of this big game ahead. Some tough decisions for us but we feel we've got to pick the best 23 to make sure we get that result."

Given Canada have scored just 14 points across three defeats so far, the Canucks need to find a hitherto unseen cutting edge against a dangerous Namibia side.

"They're well organised, they're fast, and they want to play physical so it's a big challenge for us," Jones said of Namibia, as quoted on Canada's official website.

The Namibians are also coached by a Welshman in Phil Davies, and the chance of a first World Cup victory after 22 consecutive defeats at the tournament since their 1999 debut is one they are eager to snatch.

Speaking after his side went down 71-9 to New Zealand last time out, Davies said his squad were physically "banged up" by the All Blacks experience.

But he said the opportunity to play in Kamaishi, a city devastated but now recovering from the deadly March 2011 tsunami, was something Namibia would embrace this weekend.

"I visited Kamaishi in December and it's an amazing place," Davies said. "The way they've fought back from that disaster is incredible, using the spirit of rugby to rebuild the city.

"We feel very privileged and humbled that we're trying to add to that rebuild and hopefully we can leave a positive legacy post-match."

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Namibia - Eugene Jantjies

Jantjies returns to the Namibia XV after starting on the bench against the All Blacks, coming in for Damian Stevens. The 33-year-old could play a key role in landing that long-elusive first victory.

Canada - DTH van der Merwe

The experienced Van der Merwe will be familiar to British club rugby supporters after his two spells with Glasgow Warriors, either side of stints with the Scarlets and Newcastle. He will win his 62nd cap, moving him level with James Pritchard and Rod Snow for seventh on Canada's all-time list.

 

KEY OPTA FACTS

- This will be the third meeting between Namibia and Canada in Test rugby. Canada have won both previous clashes, 72-11 at the 1999 Rugby World Cup and 17-13 in 2014.

- Canada have lost just three of their 12 Rugby World Cup matches against second-tier opposition, winning seven and drawing two; however, across their last five such matches they have won just once (D2, L2).

- Namibia's most recent Rugby World Cup match against a fellow tier-two opponent saw them lose 17-16 to Georgia in the 2015 tournament.

- Canada's total of 14 points makes them the lowest-scoring side in the pool stage at this tournament. They have scored at least 45 points in each previous Rugby World Cup campaign.

- DTH van der Merwe has gained 948 metres in his Rugby World Cup career, and 52 more would see him become the first player from Canada in the tournament’s history to log 1,000 metres. Only three players from any nation have reached the milestone: Jonah Lomu, Bryan Habana and David Campese.

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