West Indies white-ball captain Kieron Pollard blames his side’s erratic bowling for their five-wicket loss to New Zealand in Auckland on Friday.

St Lucia Zouks pace bowler, Kesrick Williams, has rubbished the idea of players claiming to underperform at this season's CPL tournament because of pitches, as he insists there has been plenty of time to adjust.

The competition has so far been plagued by a number of low scoring total’s, and batsmen seemingly unable to come to grips what has so far proven to be a surface that favours bowlers.  There has so far been very little issue for Williams and the Zouks, though, as they have racked up five wins and currently occupying the third spot.

“I don’t have a problem with the pitches, to be honest.  These wickets, I love these wickets, for me, they show how skillful you are as a bowler.  If you are just running in and bowling fast and trying to hit the deck, then you are going to go for runs,” Williams told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“If you look at the guys that are getting wickets, they have skill.  T20 is a batter’s game, everyone wants to see balls hit wickets.  At the end of the day, these wickets are not suitable for T20 cricket but we are professionals and we have to learn to adjust.  If we can’t adjust as professionals it makes no sense to play cricket because you will have times like this,” he added.

Williams and the Zouks have certainly adjusted.  The team’s five wins and three losses have put them in a place-off spot for the first time in the franchise’s history.

 

The St Lucia Zouks smashed the record for the lowest total ever defended in Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL), as Kesrick Williams and the spinners strangled an anxious Barbados Tridents batting lineup to leave Jason Holder’s men reeling. The Tridents, and in particular Hayden Walsh, were outstanding with the ball to skittle the Zouks, but manage to lose despite not even being bowled out.

Joshua Bishop came in for his second senior T20 game, replacing the injured Mitchell Santner, and just as he had in his first match, last year against the same opposition, he dismissed Rakheem Cornwall in the first over. Andre Fletcher’s innings was dramatic but brief - he smashed Holder for six first ball, but the Tridents captain trapped him LBW second - and after eight balls the Zouks were 12/2.

Bishop bowled an impressive second over, beating both Leniko Boucher and Roston Chase and having Chase dropped at point. Holder showed faith in Walsh after his mauling at the hands of Kieron Pollard yesterday, and Walsh should have dismissed Boucher but Shai Hope missed a simple stumping. Rashid Khan was as accurate as ever, and the Zouks reached the Powerplay at 35/2.

Boucher was frenetic before Walsh bowled him with a quicker ball. Chase was able to free his arms and sweep Ashley Nurse for four, but Walsh was visibly growing in confidence and beat Chase in the flight with a slower googly to bowl him. Nurse continued, Rashid again held back for the second part of the innings, and the Afghan pair went boundary-less. The Zouks reached halfway at 58/4.

Nabi for once failed, skying a flighted Walsh googly to the captain at long-off, and with him gone Rashid returned and troubled both Najibullah Zadran and captain Daren Sammy. Bishop’s return over was also accurate, and a frantic Sammy ran himself out to leave his team 65/6 in the 13th. Javelle Glen though started in style with a gigantic Hero Maximum that landed on the roof.

Najibullah late-cut Rashid with just enough pace to find the boundary, but the rest of the over went scoreless. Nurse got a third over with two left-handers at the crease and picked up Glen, albeit it was a full toss whipped straight to Walsh at deep midwicket.

Holder went to his seamers Nyeem Young and Raymon Reifer, and a restless Najibullah fell to the latter thanks to a good low catch by Joshua Bishop at deep square leg. Reifer got a second thanks to Walsh expertly judging a mistimed Scott Kuggeleijn pull to juggle and hold near the rope.

Rashid was, predictably, too good for the tail and finished his spell with the wicket of his countryman Zahir Khan. Young with a tight over of 0/3 was the only one of the Tridents bowlers not to take a wicket, and they hadn’t even needed all 20 overs.

Hope and Johnson Charles started cautiously. The first aerial shot didn’t come until the 4th over, Charles almost holing out to mid-on, but a smattering of fours saw the Tridents score at a run a ball. Hope fell LBW to a good ball from Williams, but the Tridents reached the Powerplay at a steady 34/1.

That became 37/2 when Zahir bowled Kyle Mayers with a beauty that turned from middle to take off-stump, the no.3 again struggling against wrist-spin. Williams and Zahir snuck through a few tight overs, and even Charles’ third boundary was a controlled leg glance. Williams wasn’t giving up, beating Holder’s waft to pick up a second LBW, but at the drinks break the Tridents were 48/3 and needed barely over four an over.

The Tridents though continued to bat nervously - Chase and Glen, the latter bowling for the first time in senior T20 cricket, were tidy, and the leg-spinner Glen got his first wicket when Charles sliced to long-on where Williams took a good catch.

The Tridents suddenly found themselves 67/4 off 14, and Zahir, Nabi and Chase bowled tidily against a nervy Nurse and Corey Anderson. When Nabi beat Anderson in the flight and bowled him, the Tridents found themselves suddenly five down and needing over a run a ball. Sammy gave Glen the nod for the 19th, and Rashid fell clubbing the leg-spinner to Nabi, leaving Chase nine to defend off the last over.

Nurse fell to a good catch from Najibullah, but most importantly Chase started with three dot balls. Reifer missed a full toss and only managed three off two balls, leaving Young needing to hit his first-ever ball in Hero CPL over the ropes to seal a win that seemed a formality at almost every stage. He couldn’t do it, and while the Zouks bowlers deserve huge credit, for the second day in a row the Tridents found themselves wondering how on earth they had lost.

Summary (St Lucia Zouks 92 all out (Najibullah 22, Boucher 18, Chase 14; Walsh Jr 3/19, Reifer 2/5, Nurse 1/15, Rashid 1/17, Bishop 1/17) beat Barbados Tridents 89/7 (Charles 39, Hope 14, Nurse 12, Anderson 11; Glen 2/11, Williams 2/12, Chase 1/14, Nabi 1/18, Zahir 1/21) beat by 3 runs)

Upcoming Fixture: Sunday 30 August - Match 20: St Kitts & Nevis Patriots v Guyana Amazon Warriors (2:15pm),  1:15 pm Jamaica at Queen’s Park Oval

 

The restrictive conditions of the biosecure Caribbean Premier League (CPL) has proven a difficult adjustment for some players, despite a general acceptance of the necessity of the measures.

After a three-month hiatus, cricket returned to the international stage earlier this month with the England versus the West Indies series, in England.  As the world continues its battle to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the series took place under extraordinary circumstances.

The Test series was played without fans and the players, along with everyone involved in it, were kept separate from the public, in a biosphere of sorts.  With considerably fewer resources than the England Cricket Board (ECB), the CPL has come up with its own version of a bubble in order to stage the tournament, but there are marked differences.

“The one in England was much different.  You could move around freely.  You could socialise a bit more with your teammates in England, but the one in Trinidad you cannot do that,”  St Lucia Zouks off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“When you first come to Trinidad you in the room for 7 days, isolated, and can’t come out.  Whereas as in England once you do the test and you are negative you are free to move about the facilities, you just can’t leave,” he added.

His St Lucia Zouks teammate, pace bowler Kesrick Williams, also shed more light on the specific conditions.

“It’s not the norm but at the end of the day it’s something we work with given the conditions in the world right now, with COVID-19…it’s not the best but we are working with it,” he added.

“When somebody is always telling you, you can’t do something, it's different than when you can freely do it.  For me, I’m usually in my room, but at the end of the day when someone is telling you, you have to wear a mask there, you have to wear a mask here, times for the food, times for gym and stuff like that and then the sanitizing and all that, it just leaves you feeling like you are in prison.  I don’t have a problem with it, but it's something we are not accustomed to.”

 

Evin Lewis, Shai Hope and Carlos Brathwaite were among seven West Indies players who went unsold during the 2020 IPL Auction in Kolkata, India on Thursday.

West Indies white-ball cricket captain, Kieron Pollard is not paying attention to the difference in ranking between his side and India who are currently locked at a win apiece in their three-match T20i series.

West Indies batsman Nicholas Pooran, by all accounts, is a very talented player, who could do great things on the international scene, and his 38 not out to help his side to an 8-wicket win over India in the second T20 between the two in Thiruvanthapuram on Sunday is evidence of that fact.

According to Pooran though, his talent isn’t enough to help him do well for the West Indies or even keep his place, and that he has to work hard.

“I work very hard and happy it's finally paid off. I believe in my processes and glad it's coming off,” said Pooran, who came to the crease with the West Indies on 112-2 in chase of India’s 170 in the 14th over.

Six overs later it was all over, as Pooran took over from Lendl Simmons, who scored a classy 67 from 45 deliveries, slamming four boundaries and two sixes in 18 balls to take the West Indies to 173-2

That type of innings, Pooran said, was not difficult, because the hard work has already been done.

“Cricket's all about having fun. I've put in a lot of hard work, so now is time for having fun,” he said.

Pooran explained after the game that places in the middle order of the West Indies side comes at a premium with the type of talent that lies in it but that was good for the team.

“There's a bit of competition in the middle order, but we all want to do good, that's all,” he said.

Earlier Evin Lewis had scored 40 and Shimron Hetmyer, 23, in a bid to chase down India’s 170, which they were restricted to thanks to Hayden Walsh Jr’s 2-28 and Kesrick Williams’ 2-30.

Those bowling figures, along with the start from Lewis and Simmons, meant there was no pressure for Pooran.

“To be honest, we had no pressure. Tried not to panic, tried to build partnerships.”

West Indies limited-overs captain Kieron Pollard has placed the blame for a six-wicket defeat to India in the first T20 international of their tour of India squarely at the feet of the bowlers.

The West Indies, sent into bat in the first game of a three-match series, batted well to score 207-4 from their 20 overs, but found the big total not enough, as India romped to 209-4 in 18.4 overs.

For the West Indies, Evin Lewis scored 40 from 17 deliveries, Brandon King announced himself with 31 from 23 balls, and Shimron Hetmyer notched his first half-century in international T20s with 56 from 41. Pollard scored 37 from 19, Jason Holder had a worldwind 24 not out from nine balls, while Denesh Ramdin ended unbeaten on 11 from seven.

In reply, KL Rahul slammed 62 from 40 deliveries, while India captain Virat Kohli was imperious with 94 not out from 50 deliveries.

“Batters had a good effort. You'd take 208 ten out of 10 times,” said Pollard after the game.

“We lost due to the extras column,” said Pollard.

In a bowling innings where Kesrick Williams had none for 60 in 3.4 overs, and Holder struggled, going wicketless for 46 runs, it was still the extras column that was problematic for the skipper. While Sheldon Cottrell was good, taking 1-24 from his four overs, and Khary Pierre took two wickets for 44, the 23 extras, stemming from 11 illegal deliveries, the West Indies racked up was too much.

“Nearly two and a half overs of extra deliveries. Yes, it was a batting wicket, but if we executed our plans better, it could've been a different story,” said Pollard.

Despite the loss and the manner of defeat, Pollard believes the outing was good for the West Indies and showed they were not far away from being a very good T20 side.

“There are only two areas where we lost the game in. Usually we tend to focus on negatives, but a lot of positives to take away today. King and Hetmyer showed great intent. Fielders did well. In the end, we need to improve, and we will win if we learn to tick more boxes. Can't fault the effort of the guys."

The West Indies will look to get the formula right on Sunday when they again go up against India in a bid to even the series at The Greenfield Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram.

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