Nicholas Pooran has guided West Indies to a series-levelling One Day International victory despite a scare in the run chase against Australia in Bridgetown on Saturday.

Akeal Hosein (30-3) and Alzarri Joseph (39-3) were exceptional in reducing Australia to 45-6 before the tourists rallied to 187.

But the West Indies stumbled in their chase, slumping to 72-5 before Pooran (59* from 75) combined with Jason Holder (52) for a decisive 93-run sixth-wicket stand.

Player of the Match Pooran was crucially dropped by Moises Henriques off Adam Zampa on 26, before making his eighth ODI half-century.

Mitchell Starc, who finished with 26-3 from 10 overs, had dismissed Evin Lewis (1) and Darren Bravo (duck), before trapping Holder LBW but Pooran guided the hosts home.

Earlier, Australia struggled with the bat, with Hosein dismissing Henriques, stand-in captain Alex Carey and Ashton Turner in an excellent spell.

Matthew Wade (36) and Adam Zampa (36) rallied for Australia, before an excellent late cameo from second-gamer Wes Agar (41 from 36).

POLLARD HAILS 'SCRATCHY' POORAN

West Indies captain Kieron Pollard said allowing Australia to reach 187 was disappointing but hailed Pooran's determination after a "scratchy" knock.

"What was good this time around was the fight by the guys, Nicholas Pooran getting that half-century and Jason Holder as well," Pollard said.

"Pooran has been looking like his old self again. He was a bit scratchy tonight but sometimes that's what you need in a game like this. You want someone to scrap and I think they both scrapped well for us to come through for a victory."

The West Indies avoided suffering back-to-back home defeats for the first time since August 2019.

Pooran's innings also took him past 1,000 ODI runs, becoming the 39th West Indian player to achieve the feat and the joint-third fastest for the side (Viv Richards – 21, Gordon Greenidge – 23, Ramnaresh Sarwan – 27).

AUSSIES STILL BULLISH AHEAD OF DECIDER

Australia are unbeaten in their past six ODI bilateral series (W4, D2) against West Indies and missed out on the opportunity to seal another victory but Carey remained bullish ahead of Monday's decider.

"Bring on game three," Carey said. "The batting group has a bit to prove to get a good score on the board for our quicks but our quicks and spinners are doing a great job."

The stand-in skipper bemoaned Australia's top-order batting, with none of the top six scoring more than 16.

"Obviously it doesn't help when you're five for not-a-lot," he said. "Wade and the bowlers did a great job to get us to a total and we were back in the game.

"We took some early wickets again and the belief was there. We created opportunities and we were in the game in the back end. Unfortunately we couldn't quite close it out and it proved we were 20 or 30 short."

Stand-in West Indies captain Nicholas Pooran insists he is not very bothered by his form, despite a difficult time at the crease in recent matches.

  The Windies currently lead their five-match T20 series against Australia, 3-1. So far, Pooran has made a total of 65 runs in three innings. He was run out in the first game for just 17 from 16 deliveries and did not bat in game 2.  He had a better game 3 when he scored a responsible 32 not out from 27 deliveries to build a partnership with Chris Gayle that led the Windies to the series victory.

Despite that good performance in the previous game, Pooran was dismissed cheaply once again in game 4. With the West Indies chasing 190 to win, he was caught off the bowling of Mitchell Marsh for just 16 from 15 deliveries.

Pooran’s lack of form has been a concern for many West Indies cricket fans and analysts since the IPL earlier this year. The left-hander, who represents the Punjab Kings, only managed 28 runs from 7 matches before the tournament was halted due to the rising COVID cases in India. He was dismissed for a duck 4 times out of his 6 innings with his highest score being 19.

“I’m not worried about myself to be honest. You know I’m getting starts which is very important. A couple of months ago (during the IPL), I wasn’t even getting starts at all so I’m very thankful, very happy to actually be getting starts. So, I’m not worried about myself in all honesty,” Pooran told members of the media during a press conference on Thursday.

  The West Indies will play the final game of their T20 series against Australia tonight at the Darren Sammy National Stadium in St Lucia. They will then move on to Barbados for a three-match ODI series.   

Stand in West Indies captain Nicholas Pooran believes things are tying together nicely for the squad, following a 3-1 series win against Australia.

After a difficult series loss against South Africa, the West played their way to a 3-0 lead against Australia in a five-match series, before suffering their first loss on Thursday.

Even so, the affair was a closely contested one, with the Windies losing by just four runs in pursuit of the visitor’s target of 189.  So far for the series the West Indies has boasted an average of 167, up from the 157.4 average against South Africa.  

“I think we are getting close to where we want to be.  We are starting to get opening partnerships of 50 and above, we’ll take that any day,” Pooran told members of the media via an online press conference.

“In the middle overs, for the first three games we batted really well, that is something we adjusted.  After the first series we played that situation well, last time we kind of faltered there a little bit,” he added.

“All in all, I think we are getting there.  You can see in the end now Fabian Allen coming in to bat with Polly out, he’s played that role wonderfully for us and can actually lengthen our batting and we can depend more on Allen.  So from a standing captain's point of view, I believe we are getting there.”

West Indies stand-in captain Nicholas Pooran has backed Andre Russell’s decision to face all six deliveries of the final over of Wednesday’s T20 match that was bowled by Mitchell Starc and from which the home side required 11 runs to take a 4-0 lead in the series.

The West Indies have clinched their T20 International series against Australia, racing to an unassailable 3-0 lead with a dominant six-wicket win in St Lucia on Monday.

Chris Gayle produced his best knock since his return to the international side, with 67 from 38 balls as the West Indies cruised in the chase, winning with 31 balls to spare.

Stand-in captain Nicholas Pooran (32* from 27 balls) finished the job with back-to-back boundaries off Riley Meredith (48-3) to seal the series victory with two games to play.

Australia captain Aaron Finch won the toss and elected to bat first this time, with his batsmen failing to capitalise on several starts, only managing 141-6.

Moises Henriques top scored with 33, hitting Australia's only two sixes, with Hayden Walsh restricting them with 18-2 from four overs.

The improved Mitchell Starc (18-1 from four) dismissed Andre Fletcher early, bringing Gayle to the crease and the 41-year-old was at his best.

Gayle hit several lusty blows, including seven sixes and four fours in his knock, before edging to wicketkeeper Matthew Wade off Meredith.

RETURN TO FORM FOR GAYLE?

Gayle has made it clear that his return to the West Indies, after two years away, has been inspired by competing at the T20 World Cup later this year.

Despite strong Indian Premier League form, he has struggled upon his return to the international arena, managing only 102 runs in nine innings.

The veteran left-hander made his first T20 International half-century since 2016 with his knock at first drop on Monday.

"From a personal point of view, you all knew I was struggling with the bat, but to be get some runs today it's very pleasing," Gayle said. "I want to dedicate these runs to my teammates, especially Kieron Pollard. He gave me the pep talk I needed."

Gayle made 288 runs in seven innings at an average of 41.14 in the 2020 IPL, before scoring 178 runs in eight knocks in the 2021 edition.

"Looking back, when I got back into the West Indies team against Sri Lanka, I was trying to play a different role, than play Chris Gayle himself," Gayle said. "I didn’t get the runs but the guys rallied around me. It's coming on, my main focus is the World Cup."

AUSSIES T20I WOES CONTINUE

Australia continue to struggle in the shortest format, having been comfortably beaten in all three matches in the series.

Finch, who made 30 from 31 deliveries at the top of the order, felt there was a clear theme to address among the losses.

"Same as the other games, we haven’t had the top order go on deep into the innings," Finch said. "It's been quite similar the whole way through. Credit to the West Indies, they bowled beautifully, especially at the back end."

Australia have only managed scores of 127, 140 and 141-6 in the three T20Is this series, bowled out on both occasions when they have chased.

"We would’ve liked more runs, no doubt," Finch added. "That comes down to the top order not going through. If one of your top four is there through the end you put pressure on the bowlers."

West Indies batsman Nicholas Pooran insists the team can have no excuses for losing the third T20 match against South Africa as they were in a strong position to claim a win.

South Africa won the third encounter between the teams by a single run to take a 2-1 lead in the five-match T20I series.  At 96 for 3, at the halfway mark, chasing 168, the West Indies seemed well on the way to the target but were often stifled by Tabraiz Shamsi who turned in the most economical effort of his career (2 for 13 in four overs).

Even so, needing 44 runs off the last four overs, Andre Russell seemed set to deliver a win for the team when he smashed back-to-back sixes off Anrich Nortje but was dismissed later in the over after also being dropped.

Pooran, who made a pedestrian 26 for 28, and is really yet to fire for the series, smashed Lungi Ngidi over midwicket for six off the second ball of the 18th over but could not maintain that momentum and was dismissed by Nortje in a penultimate over that only cost 4 runs.

“I felt like South Africa bowled well, they bowled well in the middle and they bowled well in the last two overs of the game and I think that’s where they won the game,” Pooran said following the match.

“As a team, we are still building, we are still trying to bind as a team.  I didn’t think it was too bad, in T20 games partnerships form, you lose wickets, but I felt like today was our game to win in all honesty,” he added.

“We had that partnership, I was there until the second to last over with Fabian and we should have found a way to win that game.  No excuses.”

 

Andre Russell has been named among a 13-man squad for the first and second CG Insurance T20 Internationals (T20I) against South Africa starting on Saturday (June 26) in Grenada.

The matches will be played at the Grenada National Stadium on Saturday and Sunday. The first ball daily is 2 pm (1 pm Jamaica Time).

Russell is a two-time T20 World Cup winner, having been a member of the squad which won the titles in 2012 and 2016. He has played 49 T20Is for the West Indies and his last appearance was against Sri Lanka in Pallekele in March last year.

“Andre Russell will add that ‘X’ factor to the team. He is an impact player with both bat and ball and lends greater depth in both departments," said Chief Selector Roger Harper while explaining the reason for the Jamaican's recall.

"The aim is to build on the performance against Sri Lanka earlier this year, to build confidence while determining our best squad and team as we run into the ICC T20 World Cup.”

 Trinidad's Kieron Pollard will lead the squad and have compatriot Nicholas Pooran as his vice-captain. The other members of the squad include Fabian Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Fidel Edwards, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder, Evin Lewis, Obed McCoy, Andre Russell, Lendl Simmons and Kevin Sinclair.

Fully vaccinated fans will be able to buy tickets for the game from the stadium box office and ticket booths on presentation of their vaccination documentation and their national ID, with tickets available at EC$50 per match.

Fans in the Caribbean can watch live on Flow Sports or via the Flow Sports app. Live radio commentary is available on the Windies Cricket YouTube channel and on a number of local radio stations across the Caribbean. Fans also follow live ball by ball scoring in the www.windiescricket.com live match centre, featuring the new live match blog.

Former Indian cricketer, Pragyan Ojha, believes the Punjab Kings XI are heaping unnecessary pressure onto batsmen Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran, due to the team's approach to structuring its innings.

Pooran has struggled to make an impact in six matches so far this season, managing just a high score of 19 and failing to score on three occasions.  Gayle has had more of a mixed performance, scoring 40 plus on two occasions but also had a series of low scores, including a golden duck in the team’s last encounter against Kolkata Knightriders.

Ojha, however, believes that the team’s top two KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal might be thinking about scoring too quickly and posting too big a target too early in the innings.

"They should think about 160-170 at first. But if you start thinking from the beginning that we have a very good batting line-up with Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran and we should aim 180-190 then you are putting undue pressure on (them),” Ojha told Cricbuzz.

"You can only think about a big score once you have got a good start. So you have to change your plans accordingly. You can't think that you have big names and they will always score runs. You have the look at the kind of form they are in too. Can't plan based on past glory," Ojha added.

The fourth match of the Hero CPL Esports series saw Nicholas Pooran of the Guyana Amazon Warriors take on Mitchell Santner of the Barbados Tridents at a virtual Kensington Oval. It was the Warriors who emerged victorious after a brutal display with the bat and superb bowling from their spinners.

The Tridents won the toss and elected to bowl first with Pooran promoting himself up the order to open. It was a move that worked out immediately with 30 runs coming off the first over, 24 of them made by Pooran.

The early loss of Brandon King did not slow the Warriors down with Shimron Hetmyer joining Pooran in smashed the Tridents bowling around the Oval, although a good few of the boundaries came via the edge of the bat.

Pooran brought up his fifty from just 10 balls on his way to 63 (13) to set up a total of 133/4 from their five overs. Although Pooran was the star, he was well supported, first by Hetmyer and then by Ross Taylor.

It was a daunting target, and the Tridents were under pressure to get off to a good start. They got just that thanks to Johnson Charles who made 29 (8) but his departure brought with it a collapse with three wickets falling with the score on 43. That became 53-5 with three wickets in an over from Imran Tahir.

The Tridents never recovered from that cluster of wickets and as they searched for boundaries to get themselves back into the game the wickets continued to fall, with three more going to the spin of Chandrapaul Hemraj. The Tridents went from 43-1 to 73 all out as the Warriors won by a massive 60 runs.

Former Indian bowler Ajit Agarkar believes an out of sorts Chris Gayle creates a tricky situation for Punjab Kings XI who may be hesitant to drop the player.

The 41-year-old game began the season on a good note, scoring 40 from 28 balls in the first match, a victory against Rajasthan Royals.  The veteran batsman has struggled to connect since then, scoring 10, 11, and 15 in the team’s next three games.  The Kings have lost all three for a 1-3 start to the season.

Agarkar believes at this age, the Kings must weigh closely the benefits of keeping Gayle in the line-up, if he is not scoring the required runs.

"I don't know, he started well. He got 40 in the first game. The challenge with Chris Gayle is that he did not play the first few games last season and then came back, and he was as good as ever. So, I can understand it is a difficult decision to sit him out," Agarkar told Espncricinfo.

"If he is it and when he has done well, you always want to accommodate him. How long can you go on if he is not firing, especially at this stage of his career?" he asked.

Last season, Gaye was left out of the line-up for the team’s first 6 games but returned to play a pivotal role in their run for a place in the play-offs, following another slow start.  Gayle is not the only West Indian struggling at the moment, however, as Nicholas Pooran, a standout performer last season has only scored 9 runs in fours games, including three ducks.

"Their problem is that Nicholas Pooran is not scoring run either, who they must have had high hopes from. It's a tricky one. I don't know how long they can keep playing Chris Gayle if he is not getting runs.”

Chris Gayle and Fidel Edwards have been recalled to the West Indies squad for next month’s T20 Internationals against Sri Lanka.

Evin Lewis’ better than a run-a-ball century helped the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force romp to a five-wicket victory with 55 balls to spare over the Jamaica Scorpions at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium today.

West Indies batsmen Rovman Powell and Lendl Simmons remained unbeaten to steer the Northern Warriors to an eight-wicket win over the Dehli Bulls, to claim the Abu Dhabi T10 title, on Saturday.

After winning the toss, the Warriors restricted the Bulls to 81 for 9 in 10 overs.  Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Evin Lewis got things off to a flier, after scoring 16 runs off the first over.  The innings soon lost momentum after Gurbaz’s mistimed shot was taken at cover and Lewis was gobbled up by Powell.  In the end, Mohammad Nabi top-scored with a 10-ball 21 for the Bulls.  Maheesh Theekshana starred with the ball for the Warriors after claiming 3 for 14.

In pursuit of a gettable target, Warriors skipper and in-form batsman Nicholas Pooran took responsibility by promoting himself up the order.  He was, however, dismissed lbw by Fidel Edwards on 12.  Simmons and Waseem Muhammad, however, kept the scoreboard ticking over.  Opener Muhammad scored 27 off 22 but was dismissed before Powell (16 from 8) and Simmons (14 from 12) finished the proceedings.

Powell hit the winning runs with a huge six with 10 balls left.  Theekshana received the Man of the Match award while Pooran was named Man of the Series.  Northern Warriors are the first team to win the trophy twice.

 

 

On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they've seen throughout the week with different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these trending issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT the 2021 edition with Mariah

 

  1. Tough task ahead for Thomas Tuchel

Chelsea have given their new manager Thomas Tuchel 18 months to reverse the club’s fortunes after sacking Frank Lampard. Tuchel’s first match in charge ended in a 0-0 home draw with Wolves on Wednesday, a clear sign that the task ahead is not an easy one.  The big question looming is how can he avoid the same fate as Lampard? 

The 42-year-old German is more experienced than his predecessor having had spells at Mainz and Borussia Dortmund as well as two and a half years at PSG in France, leading them to back-to-back French league titles.

He also led the French champions to the 2019/20 Champions League final.

Winning cup competitions and making the top-four in the EPL would help him keep his job at the end of the season but going forward that will not be enough for team owner Roman Abramovich.

Notwithstanding his proven coaching acumen, Tuchel has developed somewhat of a reputation of getting into power struggles with club hierarchies. He was fired by Dortmund after falling out with officials there, similar to his exit from PSG. He would be advised to stay in Abramovich’s good books.

He would also do well to capitalize on his relationships with Thiago Silva who he coached at PSG and Christian Pulisic from Dortmund.

 The task at hand is not impossible and Tuchel seems ready to take on his latest project.

“I decided not to worry about that too much and to go to do it, to be brave enough to take this adventure. It’s my character to believe more in the chances than in the risks,” he said.

 

  1. Windies stars continue to shine in Abu Dhabi T10

The ICC T20 World Cup set for October in India is still some time away but the excitement in the Abu Dhabi T10 has reignited the hope that West Indies just might have a chance. The first week of the Abu Dhabi T10 was filled with brilliant performances both with bat and ball from notable Windies players.

Several Windies players have found form early in the tournament. The Northern Warriors’ Lendl Simmons blasted an unbeaten 54 in his first match. Evin Lewis also started off with a bang having scored 100 runs in three matches that included a top score of 55. He was also not out twice and is the third-highest run-scorer for this 2021 edition.

Nicholas Pooran has also been brilliant with the bat. After two matches he has 73 runs with a high score of 54. The Pune Devils Kennar Lewis in his first match scored a 28-ball 57 not out to lead his team to victory.

There have also been noteworthy performances with the ball as the Northern Warriors’ Rayad Emrit is ranked fifth for most wickets in the tournament. He has bowled 4 overs for 46 runs and taken three wickets. His teammate Fabian Allen has bowled two overs for 11 runs and taken two wickets. Deccan Gladiators Sunil Narine has grabbed two wickets from his two overs.

 

 

Shimron Hetmyer, Dwayne Bravo and Andre Russell were among West Indies players were retained by their Indian Premier League franchises on Wednesday. However, several others were cut loose and will re-enter the pool of players eligible for the IPL Draft coming up on February 11.

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