West Indies Women’s team captain Hayley Matthews believes the ongoing series against New Zealand presents a real opportunity for younger members of the squad to gain valuable experience playing against a quality team.

On Wednesday, the Kiwis took an unassailable 3-1 series lead after beating the West Indies via a tense Super Over.  In the regular innings, the Caribbean team successfully chased down but could not overhaul New Zealand's score of 111.

In the Super Over, Matthews and Natasha McLean put on 15 runs but New Zealand captain Sophie Devine put on a savage display of power hitting, which ended with a last-ball six off Matthew to plunder 17-runs from the over and the series win.

With the likes of Anisa Mohammed, former captain Stafanie Taylor, and the recently retired Deandra Dottin all missing from the squad the team included several developing players and a few returning ones. 

“This is very good for the girls getting the opportunity to go out there and play the highest level of cricket.  To play against an experienced team like New Zealand with a lot of veterans and known campaigners,” Matthews said.

“We do have a lot of injuries but it’s a great opportunity for the girls to get out there be in the deep end, have a good go at international cricket, and hopefully learn a lot,” she added.

With Matthews only recently having taken over the captaincy from Taylor she admits the situation also presents her with a personal opportunity to develop in the role.

“The team has been supporting me really well.  It’s definitely thrown me in the deep end a bit with a lot of the injuries that we have had and not having as much experience on the team but at the same time, I think it’s only going to help me to learn faster and be better as well.  So, I’m just embracing the challenge.”

   

 

With the T20 World Cup on the horizon, West Indies fast bowler Alzarri Joseph has vowed to keep putting in the hard yards, following a narrow 3-wicket loss to Australia in a practice match on Wednesday.

In an encounter marred by messy fielding from the Caribbean team, Matthew Wade and Mitchell Starc got the Aussies over the line, with a ball remaining, but the last over, bowled by paCer Sheldon Cottrell, was one filled with drama.  Needing just 11 from the last 6, Wade was dropped in the deep by Raymon Reifer off the second ball and an opportunity to stump Starc on his way back for the winning run was also missed out on.

As a result, the Aussies got home at 146 for 7, surpassing the West Indies' first innings tally of 145 for 9.  Aussie captain Aaron Finch batted in the unfamiliar position of 4 but top-scored with a valuable 58.  A visibly disgruntled Cottrell ended with figures of 2 for 49, while Joseph ended with a tidy 2 for 17 and 7 runs with the bat.  The bowler would admittedly have preferred a win but took some solace in a decent outing with the ball.

“For me, it’s always about trying to add that one percent every day.  Keep on trusting the process, keep on training hard and keep doing what I need to do to get the success,” Joseph said following the match.

“It wasn’t the result we wanted but we really fought hard.  We pushed Australia down to the last over, so all in all it was a fairly good performance we just have to go back and see what we can improve for the next game,” he added.

In their turn at the crease, all-rounder Kyle-Mayers led the way for the West Indies at the top of the order, scoring 39 from 36 deliveries before his innings was ended by Pat Cummings.  Reifer contributed a 23-ball 19 from the middle order but no other batsman really got going until Odean Smith’s useful 27 from 17 at the back of the innings.  He was run out by Wade.

It was, however, Josh Hazelwood who did the most damage with the ball for the Aussies as he ended with 3 for 35, while Starc and Cummings each claimed two wickets.

 

Legendary West Indies fast bowler Curtly Ambrose has expressed surprise at the unusual circumstances that have led to the dropping of explosive batsman Shimron Hetmyer ahead of the team’s campaign for the upcoming T20 World Cup.

According to a release issued by Cricket West Indies (CWI), which roiled the cricketing world on Monday, the body opted to replace Hetmyer with Shamarh Brooks after the player missed a rescheduled flight, having been advised of the consequences of doing so.

The release stated that the player's original flight was changed from Saturday to Monday due to family reasons but did not mention if Hetmyer had given a reason for being unable to catch the second flight.

“I must say I am a bit surprised because who wouldn’t want to play in the World Cup tournament and who wouldn’t want to represent their country,” Ambrose told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“What I heard in the media is that he had some family issues.  So, I take it that if you are going to miss playing for your country, or playing at the World Cup then he has some serious issues to deal with.  I reckon that if that’s the case, you want to ensure that whatever issues he has with his family are being sorted, so he has to miss the World Cup.  I wish him well.”

 

Jamaica Tallawahs skipper Rovman Powell has revealed that the team drew motivation from what they regarded as an overall lack of respect for their ability.

Not many would have had the Tallawahs as favourites to claim the Caribbean Premier League title, particularly after a mid-tournament slump that saw them win just two of seven games.  On Friday, the Jamaica-based franchise proved their doubters wrong, however, after securing an 8-wicket win over the Barbados Royals.

The Royals, on the other hand, were the team of the tournament after winning 8 of 10 matches before automatically advancing to the final.  According to Powell, proving critics wrong was one of the team’s major motivations.

"Adjectives cannot describe how I feel right now. We endured a lot of disrespect throughout the tournament so to be here now is amazing. We used the disrespect that we endured as motivation. We were hungry,” Powell said, following the match.

“The guys were very hungry. I told them to hang in and that we have a lot of batters and we can get it. The first 100 that Brandon scored, it was in a losing cause and so the guys felt really hurt that it was in a losing cause but we told the guys that's what big boy cricket is about,” he added.

"So, to see Brooks score a 100 the other night in a win was special. I've captained a few teams and franchises before I captained Jamaica so I've been learning. Sometimes I feel down and out because I'm human, but my family rallied around me. I wanna say a special thanks to the Guyanese supporters.”

West Indies bowling legend and Jamaica Tallawahs coach Curtley Ambrose admits to taking special pride and pleasure in lifting the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) crown on Friday because of the team's status as underdogs.

The Jamaica-based franchise lifted the third title in its history and first in six years following a dominant 8-wicket win over the more heavily favoured Barbados Royals.  Heading into the final, the Royals were the league’s hottest team having lost just two of 10 games.

The Tallawahs on the other hand, who are conditioned by Ambrose and another Windies legend Shivnarine Chanderpaul, in the meantime, finished in the final qualifying spot.  At one point during the season, the Tallawahs lost 5 of 7 games.

“This means a lot as a group we came into the tournament as underdogs.  Not many gave us a chance to come out of the first round, let alone win it,” Ambrose said, following the team’s triumph.

“I haven’t sprinted for years and I found myself sprinting onto the field.  It was a wonderful performance thought and we were deserving winners,” he added.

“The thing about the Tallawahs is that we didn’t really on just one or two players.  At any given time, any player can step up.  We have depth in our batting, we have good bowling.  We stuck together as a family and we believed from day 1 that we could have won this championship and we did.”

Correction: The original story claimed that the Jamaica Tallawahs won its fourth CPL title on Friday, September 30 and it's first in four years. That was incorrect. The Tallawahs had previously won two titles (2013 and 2016). So the 2022 title was its first in six years. Sportsmax.TV apologises for the error.

  

Jamaica Reggae Boyz goalkeeper Andre Blake admits to enjoying the encounter against top team Argentina and football great Lionel Messi, despite coming away on the other side of a 3-0 defeat.

After starting the game on the bench, Messi's introduction blew things wide open for La Albiceleste who had already taken a 1-0 lead in the first half courtesy of Julian Alvarez’s 13th-minute strike.

With only 10-minutes to go the Jamaicans seemed set to end their third straight encounter against the South Americans within a one-goal margin, but Messi had other ideas.

Blake initially foiled Messi twice but could not do much against the Paris Saint Germain midfielder’s blast from the top of the area in the 86th minute or his crafty free-kick three minutes later.

It’s a world-class team that’s the easiest way to put it.  It’s a different ballgame. The quality of play and the speed of play, everything is a different level. But I enjoyed every moment of it, and it was a great experience,” Blake told the Philadelphia Enquirer.

“He’s the best in the world,” Blake said in his assessment of Messi.

“I wish I was able to make those saves, but world-class players do world-class things. … it was definitely an honour and a moment I’ll cherish forever — not the moment that he scored, but being able to play against him and save a few of his shots.”

Jamaica Tallawahs batsman Shamarh Brooks has hailed the influence of his teammates after smashing a crucial, maiden, T20 century against the Guyana Amazon Warriors, in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) on Wednesday.

In the must-win encounter, Brooks both treated and horrified home fans with some spectacular stroke-play, which underpinned the Jamaica franchise’s sizeable innings score of 226 for 4.  Personally, the batsman piled on an unbeaten 109 off 52 balls his best-ever return for the format.

The total, which included 7 fours and 8 sixes was instrumental in the team’s win as they later managed to restrict the Warriors to 189, which sealed the Jamaica franchise's return to the final for the first time in four years.

“I had lunch with Brandon King and he was very upset with the way I got out in the last innings, on 47.  So, he told me I needed to take it all the way down regardless of what I think, that’s what I did and it paid off,” Brooks said.

“Imad Wasim coming in at the end, the partnership with Ravi, Raymond as well, the guys just kept telling me to keep working it, just keep playing cricket shots and as we always say in the dressing room to keep making love to the cricket ball.”

The Tallawahs will face the Barbados Royals in Friday's final.

 

 

Jamaica Tallawahs captain Ravmon Powell insists the team must continue to target improvement ahead of a crucial match-up against the Guyana Amazon Warriors on Wednesday.

Mohammad Nabi slammed a crucial 31 and then took 3 for 10 as the Tallawahs secured a 33-run win over the St Lucia Kings, despite getting off to a slow start.

On Wednesday, the Tallawahs will look to add to that achievement when they face off against the hosts for a place in the final.  The two-time champions have not reached the final in four seasons but Powell believes that could be set to change.

 “We are ready, we are expecting a full house but we won’t pay any attention to that,” Powell said after the team’s win on Wednesday.

“We are not focused on that, all the guys need to do is to keep on improving.  We need to keep improving batting in the first ten overs and I think if we do that we will be on our way.”

Newly appointed Jamaica Reggae Boyz head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson believes a 3-0 scoreline might have flattered Argentina, insisting his team was made to pay for a loss in concentration in the defeat at the Red Bull stadium on Tuesday.

Argentinean superstar Lionel Messi came off the bench to score twice as the Albiceleste, who, in truth, looked comfortable despite holding a slim 1-0 lead, blew the game wide open in the last 10 minutes.

By the time the world-famous number 10 entered the fray, in the 56th minute, Argentina were already 1-0 up courtesy of Julian Alvarez’s tidy finish in the 13th minute. from there they had struggled to find real goalscoring momentum, that is until Messi entered the pitch.

After stinging the palms of Jamaica goalkeeper Andre Blake with an early attempt, the forward made no mistake blasting his shot well to the left of the keeper, when he got another opportunity, to double the lead in the 86th minute.  However, sloppy play in midfield led to the dangerous player taking possession at the edge of the area.

Three minutes later, there was real anxiety when the wily forward was brought down just at the top of the 18-yard box.  Those concerns were proven valid when Messi picked himself up and scored the resulting free-kick.  Again the Jamaicans might well feel dissatisfied with their defensive play, as Messi found space through a somewhat disheveled wall to beat Blake again.  The match was the first for Hallgrimsson and he believes despite the errors they were a few positives.

“We lost 3-0 and you are never happy to lose.  Three, zero is a big number but I don’t think it reflects the game on a whole,” Hallgrimsson said.

“It does not reflect the performance of our players, I think we showed an excellent team performance for 80 minutes and we lost a little focus in possession that led to the first and the second goal and then from that lost more focus for the third goal and that cannot happen,” he added.

“Those were the negatives from the match.  We kept them from creating goal-scoring chances, more or less, until the 80th minute.  After 10 minutes we were finding our feet but after that, we were comfortable with how we played our defensive game.”

 Jamaica Reggae Boy forward Leon Bailey is convinced the unit can produce plenty of quality once they get things right, but admittedly expects a tough outing against Argentina.

The Jamaicans will clash with Argentina, at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, for only the fourth time in the team’s history and the debut outing for new head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson, who officially took over the post last week.

The Reggae Boyz have lost all three previous encounters but performed creditably in the team’s last meeting at the 2015 Copa America Centenario, where they narrowly lost 1-0 to the Lionel Messi-led outfit.  Bailey is looking forward to his first taste of the high-profile fixture.

“There are a lot of quality players in the team, we just need to put together, obviously it’s a system that the coach will be improvising but we should be able to do good things and hopefully come away with a result,” Bailey said.

“It’s going to be a good game, the first game for the manager as well, but it should be exciting for everybody playing against a good opponent and I think we just have to be focused and work hard for the whole game.”

Reggae Boyz starting line-up

Andre Blake

Leon Bailey

Daniel Johnson

Ravel Morrison

Shamar Nicholson

Bobby Reid

Damion Lowe

Michael Antonio

Adrian Mariappa

Javain Brown

Amari'i Bell

 

Guyana Amazon Warriors secured their place in the 2022 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) play-offs with a 37-run win over Trinbago Knight Riders.  

Trinbago Knight Riders won the toss and chose to field in this must-win game, with Amazon Warriors opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz giving the fans at Providence stadium a spectacle, scoring 60 from 42 balls to ignite the Warrior’s innings and help take them to 173-6. 

In their chase, the Trinbago Knight Riders built a steady opening partnership through Tim Seifert and Colin Munro, but wickets then fell throughout their innings as the Amazon Warriors were spurred on by a vocal home crowd. The Knight Riders finished 136 all out and lost by 37 runs. 

Guyana Amazon Warriors suffered an early setback in their innings as Ravi Rampaul showed his effectiveness in the PowerPlay by taking the wicket of Chandrapaul Hemraj. Gurbaz would then play some spectacular shots to accelerate the run rate. Sunil Narine, who did not bowl until the 12th over, would claw the Knight Riders back into the game by taking the key wickets of Shakib Al Hasan and Romario Shepherd. A remarkable late blitz from Odean Smith, scoring 23 runs from 7 balls, would then catapult the Warriors to 173/6. 

Trinbago Knight Riders had a good start in their chase, Seifert and Munro keeping up with the run rate, but led by Shakib, the Warriors fought back to take wickets, including some spectacular fielding to dismiss Nicholas Pooran. Once captain Kieron Pollard was out stumped, the Knight Riders faced an uphill battle and finished on 136 all out.

The result means that Trinbago Knight Riders have been eliminated from play-off contention. 

 

Newly appointed Jamaica Reggae Boyz head coach Heimir Hallgrímsson is hoping to conduct a valuable assessment during the team’s upcoming friendly international against Argentina.

The Reggae Boyz and the Albiceleste, led by football superstar Lionel Messi, will lock horns at the Red Bulls Stadium in New York, on Tuesday, for the fourth time in history.  Hallgrímsson, who officially took charge of the team last week, admits the former world champions are a difficult prospect to face on his debut but hopes to gleam some valuable insights.

“It going to be a good contest and at least we’ll know where we stand and what we need to improve," Hallgrímsson said.

“For me, it’s a time to learn, a time to observe, time to evaluate.  Then after this camp, we can see what we need to change if we need to change anything.  Find out what is working and what is not working.”

In three matches Jamaica has not managed to secure a result against Argentina losing all three matches that the teams have played.

 

Waterhouse defender Ricardo Thomas has been drafted in to replace injured Ipswich Town defender Greg Leigh ahead of Jamaica’s friendly international against Argentina.

Leigh was expected to join up with the rest of the team in the United States on Friday but suffered an injury in the team’s 2-2 draw against Sheffield Wednesday earlier this week.  Initially, the defender was thought to have just suffered a bruise to the area but subsequent scans revealed a compression fracture.

The injury is now expected to keep the player out of action for an extended spell.

“He, unfortunately, picked something up at the back end of the Sheffield Wednesday game, which was initially thought to be bone bruising,” the team’s manager Kieran McKenna said.

“At that point, it was touch-and-go whether he was going to go away for international duty.

 “He’s had some scans this week, just to make sure, and unfortunately he has a compression fracture of his leg and will be out for a longer period of time. That’s a disappointing one for Greg and for us as well," he added.

The 29-year-old has made 8 appearances for the Jamaica national team and last played against Honduras in March.  Thomas has played 10 matches for the national team and was last on the bench in the team’s Nation’s League match against Mexico in June.

Legendary West Indies fast bowler Sir Andy Roberts believes not having a settled team could make things difficult for the team in the upcoming T20 World Cup qualifiers.

In order to officially book a spot in Australia next month, the two-time champions must advance from a play-off group that will also feature Ireland, Scotland, and Zimbabwe.  The team will start as heavy favourites to advance from the group but the squad will feature several players that have not been in the squad for the last few months and even some who have never played the format internationally.

Since a disastrous campaign at the 2021 World Cup, the Windies have played 22 matches, but a few of the players added to the squad have not played in the majority of them over the past year.  For instance, Evin Lewis has not played since the last tournament, Johnson Charles has not played for the team since 2016, Sheldon Cottrell has played sparingly since the start of the year, and Yannic Cariah and Raymond Reifer are yet to play in the format.

Having played so many matches Roberts believes the team should have been already been using a settled squad ahead of the tournament.

“We don’t have a settled team and that is the biggest problem.  You don’t know what your teammate is capable of doing because he has just come into the team,” Roberts told the Mason and Guest Radio program.

“When West Indies was at its best, we had a settled team for five, ten years.  If you check out Australia, Australia has a settled team, and Pakistan has a settled team.  India is fiddling around with the team and just look at the issues they have been having.  You need settled teams,” he added.

“We are going with a number of new players, new to the international scene.  We knew for a long time that the World Cup was going to be this year, so we should have been trying our best to make sure we have a unit that is ready to go from ball one.”

 

 

Jamaica defender Curtis Tilt admits to being excited by the prospect of facing legendary Argentinian Lionel Messi and the rest of a start-studded South American squad, ahead of the team’s clash in New York next week.

The 31-year-old was a late addition to the team that will face the Argentineans on Tuesday.  The defender has not represented the team since June of last year against Serbia but will hope to make his case under new Jamaica coach Heimir Hallgrímsson.  Tilt, who plays for English Championship team Wigan Athletic, is enjoying a whirlwind year having secured promotion from League One with the team at the start of the season.

Now he is excited at the prospect of not just returning to the country’s line-up, but also facing one of the best players in history and added to that a first-time trip to the Big Apple.

  "I'm buzzing to be fair, not only to be selected for my country but playing against the best player in the world really," Tilt told Wigan Today.

"I was called up late, so I've not had much to process it yet. I'm sure I'll get more anxious nearer the time, wondering what it's like to play against the very best,” he added.

"But New York as well...I've never actually been, I was thinking of going out during the winter break.

"It's come a little bit early, so hopefully we'll get a chance to have a look round at some of the sights."

 

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