West Indies women all-rounder Deandra Dottin expressed some amount of disappointment at not being able to carry the team over the line, in a loss against England, but insists it was good to be playing cricket again.

Dottin showed very little sign of rust in crafting an industrious 69 from 59 deliveries, in dogged pursuit of England’s total of 163.  She was, however, the team’s only batsman to reach double figures as the Windies eventually crashed 47 runs short of the total.  

"It's been a long time since we've played international cricket but we've been here for two and a half weeks and we've been preparing and I think we ticked our boxes, it was just a matter of execution and we didn't do that today with the bat or the ball but I think the girls were really happy to get out there and play some international and competitive cricket,” Dottin said after the game.

The allrounder has spent more time out of the game than most, having suffered a serious injury to her right shoulder in early 2019 and underwent reconstructive surgery in June of last year.  Having only recently returned to action earlier this year, the sport was halted by the pandemic.  The player, however, now seems to be on the verge of rediscovering her best form.

"The game plan was for me to bat through the innings and set up the game.  If it came down to the latter part, we could actually get a couple of big overs.  Unfortunately, England bowled very well, they used their variations very well, so we did not get the score we projected,” she added.

 Natalie Sciver and Sophie Eccleston each claimed two wickets as an economic England were found to be in a miserly mood.

 West Indies pace bowler Sheldon Cottrell did not make his debut for Kings XI Punjab in the team's Indian Premier League (IPL) opener but received a warm reception nonetheless after being given his cap by none other than T20 legend Chris Gayle.

In typically flamboyant style, Gayle welcomed his countryman to the team with a short march and salute.  The celebration style has been made popular by the fast bowler who treats fans to the salute every time that he takes a wicket.

The 31-year-old former soldier was bought for a whopping INR 8.5 crore ($US1,156,239) by Punjab during the IPL 2020 auction.  The player joined the IPL after taking part in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).  It was not smooth sailing for Kings XI on debut.   Chasing 158, Kings XI needed 13 from the last over bowled by Australia Marcus Stoinis. Mayank Agarwal started the over with a six followed by a couple and a four, thereby equalling the score.

Now, the KL Rahul-led side required just one run to win off three balls. But in a significant twist, Punjab failed to score. The game went to the Super Over where DC successfully defeated KXIP.  Gayle was also not a part of the team picked for the opener.

Sanju Samson and Steve Smith powered Rajasthan Royals to a 16-run victory over Chennai Super Kings in their opening fixture of the Indian Premier League season.

CSK kicked off the IPL's 13th season with a five-wicket win over Mumbai Indians, however, they were comfortably second best on Tuesday in Sharjah.

Samson and captain Smith laid the foundation for Rajasthan with a second-wicket partnership of 121 as they set CSK a target of 217.

Had CSK triumphed it would have marked the highest successful chase in IPL history.

However, they never came close to doing so despite an opening partnership of 56 between Shane Watson and Murali Vijay and a powerful 37-ball 72 from Faf du Plessis.

Three sixes in the final over from MS Dhoni saw the record for most maximums in an IPL match tied as the teams combined for 33.

A comfortable Rajasthan success did not appear on the cards when opener Yashasvi Jaiswal fell for six in the third over.

But Samson (74) and Smith (69) tipped the balance of the contest firmly in favour of Rajasthan.

Samson was in destructive form as he bludgeoned the CSK attack, a four and nine sixes marking a devastating 32-ball stay at the crease.

Lungi Ngidi dismissed Samson when a wide delivery outside off was hit to deep cover and David Miller was run out for a duck two balls later.

Smith held the innings together until he fell with 10 balls remaining, with Jofra Archer then adding the finishing touches as he struck Ngidi for four successive sixes - including two off no-balls - in a final over that went for 30.

Rahul Tewatia dealt with the dangerous Watson, whose 33 comprised of four sixes, sending a delivery crashing into his leg stump.

Shreyas Gopal removed Murali (21) five balls later before Tewatia had Sam Curran and Ruturaj Gaikwad stumped in successive deliveries.

Kedar Jadhav's (22) exit left an unlikely fightback on the shoulders of the experienced duo of Du Plessis and Dhoni.

Du Plessis did the heavy lifting in spectacular fashion, with three sixes in the 17th over giving CSK faint hope that was snuffed out when an Archer bouncer did him for pace.

 

Smith shows his class

Smith returned from a head injury suffered during Australia's recent limited-overs tour of England and did so in fine fashion, scoring his first half-century in any format since February.

Archer adds crucial runs

Archer's incredible final-over contribution made sure a mammoth total was out of reach for CSK and he then produced a brilliant bouncer to remove the in-form Du Plessis and put the contest to bed.

The United Kingdom government has paused plans for the return of fans to live sporting events in England from October 1 due to the rise in coronavirus cases.

On Monday, the COVID-19 alert level in the UK was raised to a four, meaning transmission of the virus is "high or exponentially rising", with prime minister Boris Johnson set to outline fresh measures to halt the increase in cases.

Plans to bring supporters back into stadia were placed under review earlier this month and pilot events were restricted to 1,000 people in attendance.

However, government minister Michael Gove confirmed to BBC Breakfast on Tuesday that pilot schemes were now on hold, as are plans for fans to return in staged phases, representing a major blow to a struggling sports sector.

"We were looking at a staged programme of more people returning – it wasn't going to be the case that we were going to have stadiums thronged with fans," Gove said.

"We're looking at how we can, for the moment, pause that programme, but what we do want to do is to make sure that, as and when circumstances allow, get more people back.

"The virus is less likely to spread outdoors than indoors but again it's in the nature of major sporting events that there's a lot of mingling."

Sport has been taking place mainly behind closed doors in the UK since it returned following a full lockdown in March.

Approximately 300 spectators were granted access to the World Snooker Championship final at the Crucible in Sheffield, while a friendly between Brighton and Hove Albion and Chelsea in August saw 2,500 fans allowed into the Amex Stadium.

But Gove said the decision has been taken in part due to the criticism the government received for allowing full attendances to sporting events in March, when COVID-19 was posing a growing threat.

The decision to allow the Champions League last-16 match between Liverpool and Atletico Madrid to go ahead brought scrutiny with Liverpool council probing the impact it had on the spread of the disease, while there is pressure to look into whether the Cheltenham Festival should have been permitted to proceed at full capacity.

"People look back now at the beginning of the pandemic at some of the major sporting events then and ask the question why were they allowed to go ahead," added Gove.

"What we must do is look at sporting events now with caution but we also recognise that sport is a vital part of this nation and we're looking at everything we can do to support our athletes, our great clubs, through what will be a challenging time."

The latest development comes at a time where the sports industry continues to count the cost of the global pandemic.

Over 100 leaders from sports bodies have requested emergency funding in a letter to the prime minister.

Sport England has handed out £200million for emergency cases, but with clubs continuing to lose money many have said that does not go far enough.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters told the BBC earlier this month that teams were looking at losing £700m if fans are not allowed back into grounds during the 2020-21 campaign, saying it was "absolutely critical" they were brought back.

West Indies Women’s captain, Stafanie Taylor believes a failure to adapt to the playing surface resulted in their downfall against England at Derby on Monday.

Taylor’s side managed 116 for 6 in their 20 overs chasing an England total of 163 for 8 set by the hosts who took first strike. England’s match-winning total was due largely to the innings of Player of the Match Tammy Beaumont who scored 62 from 49 balls aided by some wayward bowling from the Caribbean women.

Deandra Dottin led the scoring for the West Indies with a 59-ball 69 but no other made double figures as the West Indies struggled to keep pace with the required rate of just over eight runs an over.

Taylor was not happy with the performances.

“It's not one of our best [performances]. We didn't adapt well to the pitch,” she said.

 Tammy batted really well and set the game up nicely for them. Looking back at that, we thought we were always behind and had to gain some momentum going into the batting.”

Taylor conceded that the bowlers and the batters let the team down.

“Some bowlers bowled well in patches but... not the best, really. Deandra batted well, but she needed someone to stay there with her,” said the despondent Windies captain.

“We thought too many dot balls strangled us a bit. We needed to go back to the footage and assess it and see areas we can improve on. We have a training day tomorrow just to fine-tune for Wednesday's game.”

The next match in the five-match series bowls off on Wednesday.

The West Indies lost to England by 47 runs at Derby on Monday despite a valiant half-century from Deandra Dottin, her highest score ever against England.

Sunrisers Hyderabad suffered a remarkable collapse as they slumped to a 10-run defeat to Royal Challengers Bangalore in their Indian Premier League opener.

Chasing 164, Sunrisers looked on course to ease towards that target with Jonny Bairstow in superb form and set at the crease on 61.

However, Bairstow's decision to attack a Yuzvendra Chahal (3-18) delivery turned the tide as he was skittled for the first of eight wickets in 26 balls.

Vijay Shankar fell for a duck from the next delivery before Priyam Garg went for 12 and Abhishek Sharma (7) was victim to an incredible mix-up with Rashid Khan (6).

With Mitchell Marsh nursing an injury and demoted down the batting line-up, the lower order wilted, giving RCB a stunning start to their quest for a first IPL title.

Earlier, fifties from Devdutt Padikkal (56) and AB de Villiers (51) helped RCB to 163-5 from their 20 overs.

That total did not look like being defended as the brilliant Bairstow put Sunrisers, who lost opener David Warner (6) to a second-over run-out, in an excellent position.

He hit six fours and a pair of sixes to guide Sunrisers to 121-2 in the 16th over before his ill-advised heave allowed Chahal's floaty delivery to clatter into leg stump.

A googly then removed Shankar first ball and, though Chahal did not claim a hat-trick, Garg soon departed after a failed attempt to ramp Shivam Dube (2-15).

Sharma was run out in absurd fashion as he collided with Rashid, who needed several minutes of treatment before continuing.

He followed Bhuvneshwar Kumar (0) in being bowled by Navdeep Saini (2-25) in the next over as Sunrisers faded badly.

Marsh, who badly sprained his ankle in RCB's innings, did not come in until number 10 and was caught at long-on off his first ball and had to be helped from the field.

RCB's win was then wrapped up in the final over as Sandeep Sharma (9) was caught in the deep by skipper Virat Kohli off Dale Steyn (1-33).


Paddikal proves his worth

The exciting Paddikal got the nod to open alongside Aaron Finch ahead of Parthiv Patel and vindicated that decision with an excellent innings. With Kohli and the explosive De Villiers also in the XI, RCB have a potent batting line-up that possesses the potential to deliver in more devastating fashion than they did in Dubai.

Chahal starts collapse

Seeing off the last over of Chahal, one of the most dangerous bowlers in the IPL with over 100 wickets in the competition, was always likely to be key for Bairstow and Sunrisers. He failed to do so and his poor shot proved a decisive error. Still, even the England international could not have predicted the manner in which Sunrisers collapsed.

After a disastrous World Cup earlier this year when none of their batters lived up to expectation, West Indies women's interim head coach Andre Coley has called upon them to step up during their five-match T20 series that begins on Monday.

"White-ball cricket, and T20 cricket specifically, is about scoring runs," Coley said. "If you watch the history of our cricket, our bowling department has always held its own, done well and been competitive.

"[But] we'll need to post challenging totals and be able to chase them as well. We need to be clear in our roles for each player, and how we want to go about the batting, and we should be okay."

Coley said he was happy with the fact that during the two intra-squad warm-up matches they played in the past few days, the batters did fairly will Captain Stafanie Taylor and Lee-Ann Kirby being the standouts with scores of 71 and 85, respectively.

"It's very good that in all innings that were played, we batted the full complement of overs," Coley said. "And there were individual performances as well as partnerships throughout. It was good for everyone to have had some time out in the middle in a competitive environment, which we haven't had for a while.

Delhi Capitals made the most of a stunning late collapse by Kings XI Punjab to triumph in a super over at the end of an IPL thriller on Sunday. 

Marcus Stoinis made 53 from 21 deliveries as Delhi recovered from a shocking start to post 157-8, though their fightback appeared in vain when their opponents matched their total with three balls to spare. 

However, needing just one more run to prevail, Kings XI were somehow unable to get over the line, losing wickets off the final two deliveries. 

Mayank Agarwal was the first of those to depart having made a superb 89, the opener rescuing his side after they had slipped to 55-5 in their reply. 

He hit 10 runs off Stoinis' first three deliveries at the start of the 20th over, but the bowler hit back when a wide full toss was slapped to Shimron Hetmyer in the deep.

Chris Jordan then clipped a full toss straight to Kagiso Rabada at square leg to leave the scores level, meaning a super over was required to decide the outcome of a see-saw contest.

Kings XI managed two runs off the opening ball but Rabada then claimed a pair of wickets, leaving Delhi needing three. They easily reached the paltry target to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. 

STOINIS STUNS KINGS XI

Having come together at 13-3, Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant made 39 and 31 respectively. Still, when both fell in successive balls, the Capitals were reeling at 87-5.

Stoinis, though, emphatically changed the tempo of the innings. Kings XI leaked 57 from the final three overs – including 30 off the last, bowled by Chris Jordan – as Delhi finished with a flourish.

PAINFUL OUTING FOR ASHWIN

Playing against his former franchise, Ravichandran Ashwin's involvement was cut short when he suffered an apparent shoulder injury.

The India spinner claimed two wickets in his opening over before getting hurt when diving to stop a ball, forcing him to leave the field with his left arm in a makeshift sling.

PAIR FOR POORAN

It is not often you get to bat twice in a Twenty20 game. However, Nicholas Pooran failed to capitalise on either opportunity he had for Kings XI.

The West Indies batsman was dismissed by Ashwin first time around and then, called into action again in the super over, was cleaned up first ball by Rabada.

 West Indies Women’s team captain Stafanie Taylor has revealed that the team is buoyed by its comfort level, having been given time to settle in England ahead of the upcoming series.

The particular nature of the series, played in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, allowed the Caribbean team to arrive in England at the end of last month.  The players have been since locked away in a biosecure environment where they have had the time to get used to conditions.

“The good thing is that we have been here for a while now.  It feels like home.  Normally when we go on a tour it feels like we are the away team.  This time it feels like we are the home team.

“The girls are in good spirits.  We’ve had a few weeks to get out there and get used to the conditions,” she added.

 All matches will be played behind closed doors at Derby, where West Indies have been based for three weeks.  The England Women has dominated the West Indies in recent meetings and have racked up comfortable victories in multiple formats.   Monday's series opener will be the first women's international since 86,174 people watched Australia defeat India in the T20 World Cup final in March.

West Indies batsman Nicholas Pooran will head into the new Indian Premier League (IPL) season in a record-breaking mood as he looks to topple either the fastest 100 or fastest 50 competition record.

Such marks will, however, not be easy to eclipse.  India batsman K.L. Rahul currently holds the record for the fastest 50, achieved in a meagre 14 balls, in 2018.  The fastest century was smacked by no other than legendary West Indian batsman Chris Gayle who reached the mark, in 2013, in just 30 deliveries.

Pooran has, however, looked in good form recently.  Just last month, he cracked 10 sixes in a 45-ball epic worth 100 runs for Guyana Amazon Warriors in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

"Any. Fastest fifty or the fastest hundred,” Pooran replied when asked which record, he would like to break in a recent Espn Cricinfo interview.

The player, however, also reflected on his performance in the IPL, which he believes could have been better.

 "I don't think that I've too many great IPL performances. I had a couple of scores last year and the one against the KKR (Kolkata Knight Riders) was good."

The batsman represented Kings XI Punjab in the IPL last season.

 

 

Ambati Rayudu and Faf du Plessis led the way as Chennai Super Kings won the IPL opener and exacted a measure of revenge for their 2019 final loss to Mumbai Indians in Abu Dhabi.

In a repeat of the final of the previous edition of the IPL - when Mumbai beat the then-defending champions Chennai by a single run - the Super Kings chased down 163 to win.

They did so despite losing openers Shane Watson and Murali Vijay in the first two overs of their reply as Rayudu smashed 71 off 48 and shared a third-wicket stand of 115 with Du Plessis.

The South African finished unbeaten on 58 to see his side home alongside scoreless Chennai captain MS Dhoni, with the India great - who recently retired from international cricket - playing for the first time since the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

The defending champions made a strong start and were 46 without loss in the fifth over, but no one was able to go on and make a big total as Saurabh Tiwary top-scored with 42.

Mumbai were 46-6 across the final seven overs of their innings as they made 162-9, with Lungi Ngidi taking 3-38.

The partnership between Rayudu and Du Plessis proved pivotal, though the former perished when caught and bowled by Rahul Chahar with the final ball of the 16th over.

England all-rounder Sam Curran, making his debut for the Super Kings, stepped in at six and his 18 from six balls brought Chennai to the verge of victory.

For once, Dhoni was not 'the finisher' as he failed to score off the two balls he faced, with Du Plessis instead striking back-to-back fours to give Chennai victory with four balls to spare - their first win over Mumbai in five attempts.

 

ANOTHER OPENING LOSS FOR MUMBAI

The Indians have won the IPL a record four times, but this was the eighth year in a row in which they had lost their opening game of the tournament.

DHONI SURVIVES FIRST-BALL DUCK

It had been 437 days since Dhoni last took to the crease - in India's World Cup semi-final loss to New Zealand - and he only just survived a first-ball duck. He was initially given out after appearing to feather a Jasprit Bumrah bouncer behind, but the decision was overturned and Dhoni was there at the end, though, for once, he was not the one bringing it home.

Former Australia bowler Brad Hogg has admitted to being left afraid of the awesome hitting power of Kieron Pollard when the two came face to face in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

After a successful Caribbean Premier League (CPL) campaign, where he captained the Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) to the title, the West Indies skipper is currently preparing for a tenth IPL season with Mumbai Indians.

With 2755 runs and a healthy strike rate of 146.8, displays of Pollards awesome hitting powerful have been plentiful in the IPL.  Hogg, however, got a firsthand demonstration, while playing for the Rajasthan Royal in 2012.

“It was game 12 in the IPL 2012 and we were playing the Mumbai Indians in the Wankhede Stadium. Rayudu and Pollard had been building a partnership and I had been brought into the attack. I was concerned about Pollard’s big muscles and the power with which he hits straight down the ground,” Hogg recalled on his Podcast.

  “I didn’t want to overpitch because I wanted to preserve my body.  So, I just wanted to bowl back of a length and use the wrong-un to beat the outside edge.  Well, I was a little too short and he pulled me through midwicket for four,” he added.

So, I’m going, get those courage pills, go fuller with the wrong-un because you know he is susceptible to it.  So, I did, came in a little fuller, a little overpitched, and Kieron Pollard absolutely loved it.  He got on top of it and smashed it straight back down the ground head height down the wicket.  Instead of coming to me, it went to his mate Rayudu who was backing up. He’s put his bat up to preserve his body. It’s come off the bat, I’m there backtracking because I’m afraid of the power of this shot.  The ball just drops right in front of me, I could have caught it.”

Pollard went on to make a half-century as Mumbai won the game.

Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming hopes to draw strength from a nightmare build-up to the IPL season ahead of Saturday's opener against Mumbai Indians.

Fleming is without Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh, who opted out of the tournament that has been moved to the UAE amid the on-going effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ruturaj Gaikwad and Deepak Chahar also tested positive for COVID-19, along with several members of support staff, while a number of Fleming's first-choice personnel - the likes of Shane Watson, MS Dhoni and Ambati Rayudu - are short of competitive action due to the wider realities of 2020.

"It has been different, and that's been part of the challenge - understanding the unknown," Fleming said.

"We didn't get off to a great start, with some positive COVID-19 cases, but I think we dealt with it very well.

"We were calm around our approach, looked after the players and staff very well, and the rest of the players were calm in the hotel room. There was a bit of anxiety wanting to get out and train.

"It is what it is, and the players dealt with it very well. In hindsight, the amount of pre-season training that we've done up to now, and the extra few days in the room, was probably a blessing."

Mumbai's reasons for trepidation are more historically based.

The last time the IPL was moved to the UAE in 2014, they lost each of their five games.

"We didn't have a great experience last time yes, but it's a different team now," skipper Rohit Sharma said.

"The thought process is different. Six years is a lot of time. Like I said, it's about understanding pitches and conditions, that is crucial so we are putting a lot of emphasis on that.

"Eventually the pitches will play a big part, so understanding and adapting quickly is important. But yes, the past won't play any part - it was just myself, Kieron Pollard and Jasprit Bumrah from that team.

"I think Bumrah played just one game. So the team is different, the staff is different [and] thought process is different. Looking forward to a great IPL."

Universe Boss Chris Gayle is excited about the release of his new music video done in collaboration with British Indian singer Avina Shah. 

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